Posted on August 31st, 2016
Note: I wrote this a while ago–over a year. I don’t remember if I ever hit publish or why I didn’t put this post back up. I can’t even remember the Powell’s incident. (I repeated the National Night Out thing AGAIN this year, and still had to answer questions about why we didn’t go.) Anyway. This is one of the reasons I’m glad I blog.
One of my husband’s coworkers committed suicide. I would feel bad…but when kH was being pilloried for standing up for worker safety, following the law, and doing the right things, this guy said something horrid to and about kH, to the place where as far as kH was concerned, he was dead, anyway (and it takes a while for him to get there).
But, as they say, it makes one think.
I live in a place surrounded by the elderly. I call the condo complex the retirement home. Some of them are okay. None of them have been welcoming, and we’ve been here a while. Most are bitches in the vein of my paternal grandmother, which is saying something. You wouldn’t believe the shit I’ve gotten over asking if the people responsible for organizing food for the National Night Out party would please put a line or two in the flyers about not bringing things with pea- and/or tree nuts, since two years ago pH had an allergic reaction (and vomited a LOT, which was fair enough). The best response was a spluttered, “You can’t expect everyone to cater to your child!” No, I don’t. I just think it would be nice if someone put some effing lines in the flyer about food allergies and labelling. FFS. It’d be a highly entertaining National Night Out when the firefighters showing up to show the kids the truck have to deal with a medical emergency.
L’esprit de l’escalier: I ought to have asked about liability insurance.
Does all this make me a bad person? I’d like to think it just makes me a tired person surrounded by mean old people and worn down by a spirited, highly strung kid.
I was a good Samaritan today, helping a stranger who was having a breakdown on the street near Powell’s. She was surprised I was helping her (I kind of took charge and said, “I am going to do this and then I am going to this and then I am going to this” and did them), so I finally blurted words to the effect that I understand what it feels like when the one more thing pushes you over the edge. She cried and I almost did, because I live on the same mental edge.
I’d gone to Powell’s because I was feeling sorry for myself (as above). I bought a book by a brilliant guy seven years younger than I, who has already produced a number of brilliant historical books. kH can tell me I’ve accomplished things, but only very little of what I’d hoped to have done.
The times I feel alive now are when I can discuss finer points of law (yes, I do miss civil litigation) or, better, the long eighteenth century (that almost never happens). During these homeschooling years, I’d thought my lawyer brain had vanished along with caselaw and procedure, but as soon as someone gives me facts I am up and running–and enjoying it. That it’s happened recently makes it all the harder to deal with staying-at-home this week. No, it’s not a privilege to me. I hate doing dishes and I hate vacuuming and I hate planning meals. No, I don’t feel lucky.
I’d rather write a complaint or defend a deposition or have a victim in my office crying and thanking me with a variant of “You changed my life” because even though I know that client is going to turn into a raging bitch and hate me, calling every half-hour when insurance defense doesn’t get a check to our office fast enough, in that moment, I know, I really know, I did a good thing.
Wow, vanity. Look at me go. The point was that I don’t know if I’m doing good things in my life now, unless it’s something so obvious as helping a poor lady outside Powell’s.
I’m reading a collection of Page Smith essays at the same time I’m reading yet another book on parenting gifted children, and I am depressed at the prospect of putting pH in public school (any public school) as well as at the prospect of continuing to homeschool her. Most of the time she is delightful, truly. But when she isn’t, she really, really isn’t.
In my heart of hearts, I know that she is unlikely to thrive in an institutional setting. Maybe that’s just the way it’ll have to be. Between the two of us, kH and I attended twenty schools between K-12, and of those, we can each name one or two standout teachers and 0/20 schools which we enjoyed (I had two I thrived in, but they were on the other coast). pH has reached the age when (mostly) the boys want to hang out with boys and (mostly) the girls want to hang out with girls, and she, like me, would rather hang out with the boys, except they aren’t all that interesting any longer. At camp, she has discovered she would rather speak to to the counselors. Male, of course, usually about dinosaurs and Minecraft.
As for me, a nap would probably help.
(And by the way: this is not a post-for-sympathy. I’m not having a pity party; I don’t need to–I’m great at it on my own! This is a post-for-venting, as I don’t see my shrink for two more weeks.)