Reading The New Yorker of March 26, 2007

Today I am going to try and finish a New Yorker that I began to read weeks ago.

I know it’s been weeks because the magazine is open to the movie review page and, on the very bottom, left hand corner, is the date: Mar. 26, 2007.

The movie reviews are of “Reign Over Me” and “Premonition.” I skip the review of “Reign Over Me”, but read first lines of “Premonition” review. Reviewer has written, about Sandra Bullock’s character: “She is married to Jim (Julian McMahon), she has two adoring daughters, but does she look happy? No, she looks like someone posing for Edvard Munch.” Never mind.

Now trying to recall whether I reached the reviews because I began reading from the back, which I sometimes do, or whether I began from the front and have read all the other articles. After some moments spent in focused contemplation, decide I probably began from the back.

There is an article on the late author Roberto Bolaño. Wonder whether this is something Jessica has read, as Zack told me (when self was in Honolulu) that Jessica had developed a real admiration for him. Article is accompanied by a watercolor rendition of the man, and he looks young and soulful. But, skip.

And then I come to a story, which in this issue is by Kate Walbert. The story is called “Playdate”, and I decide to read it because of the opening lines:

Matilda’s mother apologizes for calling so late, but she wonders whether Caroline might be free for a playdate? Like, tomorrow?

Self has never written about son’s childhood, not really, except for maybe the story “American Milk,” and a brief mention at the very end of “Rufino.”

Playdates are something I know, intimately.

You remember Tucker? Whose mother drove a red Jaguar? Son came home from a playdate at his house and said, “Mom, why don’t you get a red car? A jaguar, like Tucker’s mom?”

And I wished and wished that I had one, so that son could be proud of something, too.

OK, today seems like trip-down-memory-lane time; let’s see if I can’t fix on something nice.

Hubby was off in one of his various jobs, and I ran interference on everything from The Mother’s Club to Little League.

Really, life is so full of surprises. Who knew, thirty minutes ago, that when self settled on the couch (would have preferred blogging from the bed, since self is *quite* sick, but seem unable to get any type of wireless reception there and — Aha! dear blog reader will say: she has discovered wireless! Yes I have, dear blog reader, I have), she would be stuck reminiscing about that long-ago by-gone era?

But I would like to write something that I can send out. And so I sit here and rack my brains for a character.

In “American Milk”, son attends a birthday party. He has the croup, but we don’t know that yet. All the anxiety and tension of that day comes back to me. He was coughing so badly but it was his only birthday party invitation of first grade, and the year was nearly over. To say I was somewhat desperate would be an understatement. When I came to pick him up, the father of the birthday boy had a long talk with me, disapproval seeping from every pore.

Do you know what humiliation is, dear blog reader?

Everything about his school was so confusing. I’d volunteer to help out at the lunch counter, and the days I helped the counter would be complete chaos, all the children pushing and shoving and grabbing things, until finally the principal would come running and shout, WHAT IS GOING ON HERE? And I heard “Shit!” a couple of times, which thoroughly shocked me, since we’re talking about first – to – third graders here (But what am I talking about? In pre-school, just as son and I were walking through the gate to the Morgan Pre-School, a four-year-old boy named Brian kicked a ball right in front of us and yelled, “Fuck!” when it hit a window) and I could only stare helplessly, with my mouth open, and I’d go home after an hour with the mother of all headaches.

Ha, ha, ha! This is really funny! Must keep reading the story, as memories like these are so delicious, and are coming thick and fast this morning. It’s raining outside, and yesterday’s cold has developed into a nasty cough. Perhaps I’ll stay in my green velour pantsuit all day, dear blog readers.

Stay tuned.

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