Wednesday, March 14, 2012
I often have to remind myself that I am not my attention span.
I wonder if mothers of children whose brains wiggle too much and who may be a little abrupt have to remind themselves of the same thing about their children--that while their outsides might be bursting in a thousand directions all the time, especially at church, especially in big open places, while they've got crusts on their shirts and dirty drumming fingernails, that their minds are working away in there just as well as everyone else's are.
Even if they strap a toy helicopter to their head and try to leap off the roof.
That even though those kidlets ask a thousand questions a minute about why blue is so many different colors and do giraffes call each other something, or planets, or where is Gringotts, or which part of the vending machine holds the chocolate and which part holds the heat and which part holds the cup--even though this is all going on eighty pascrillion lightyears a minute, and even though they also fail at holding still while asking these questions, and even though they ask these dry, completely legitimate questions even to strangers at the grocery store--that the kids of these mothers are just as smart and ponderous as anybody else. This probably helps when particularly obnoxious questions are being asked in particularly public places.
This is something I have to remind myself of. A lot lately. Because I continue to ask questions whenever I have one. And think about how the hot chocolate machine works instead of where I left my phone, or names for different shades of blue instead of pretty much anything. And leave food in my car until I could probably bury it in the exploratory fossil sand at the children's museum. Or until it's actually become cheese. I continue to stare at people and forget that I'm a foot away from them on an airplane. I laugh conspiratorially at jokes between people who I am only standing near, not interacting with. This morning, in the park, I was driving a car that is not my own and I needed to sandwich it between two other cars. I was the roast beef and they were the bread. I tried three times and then a man and his dog came walking along, which man I immediately decided had the perfect collateral and I ask the man to park the car. For me. While I held Betsy. Because a man wouldn't leave his best friend to steal the expensive car that I am driving that's not mine. Right? And serial killers don't keep pets.
These two thoughts happen in a quarter of a second and I am already out of the car holding the dog.
And then I thought, well, they never said anything about car burglars keeping pets.
I feel so often that I can do nothing thoroughly, that I flick the tip of my toe into the surface of everything, just the warm part, and then flitter away to the next thing.
I find myself trying to accomplish everything at one time, and when I fail, I just giggle maniacally and assemble a to-do list that's even more impossible. Which, I think, causes me to fail in judgment sometimes, because I'm too busy trying to juggle three teaching assignments, two tests, a jackhammer, seventeen articles-to-read, and the entire cast of Modern Family.
You who study hard, you who can sit in one position for more than four minutes, you who don't feel like big HARDEE HAR HAR speech bubbles come out of your mouth every time you open it, you who think through one thought from start to finish without eleven others trying to stick sharp little pieces of themselves through the side of it, you who can finish a thesis without getting emotional enough about it that your teacher writes "calm down" in the margin of your last page, you who do not blurt every single incoherent phrase you ever think, you who want to make cookies longer than the instant the dough is mixed, you, you happy few, please enjoy a perfectly soft-boiled egg and ironed skirt and organized notebook and a deep, meaningful conversation for me.
Please and thank you.
at 8:49 PM