It’s hard to start posting again after drifting off into non-blogging land. It’s like I should be coming back with something really fantastic, or at least some sort of update or reason.
It’s not (just) that I’ve been on Facebook all the time instead of writing blog posts. I have been on Facebook a lot, to my embarrassment, even though some people make a beautiful case for the literary merit of genres that limit composition length. Other than that, all my juice has been going to poems. I’ve been preoccupied with planning an event for work, the kind of task that always takes up more of me than it should. I’ve been unable to think of anything to write that doesn’t sound dreadfully in character. I’ve been swooning, weirdly, over Colin Powell (nervous-but-eloquent changes of heart get me every time) and fantasizing that there’s still time—if I get going right now—for me to be one of Malcolm Gladwell’s late bloomers.
This weekend, A has taken the girls to grandma’s, and I am here in the house alone for two days. Two days alone for the first time since May 2005. There is a lot to relish: breakfast in the quiet. Perpetual household neatness. Walking out the door without caring exactly when I’ll return. The unexpected? I miss them. I expected to feel guilty (I do) and worried about Iris, who is without me for the first time ever and can’t possibly understand (I am, and she’s fine). But, unexpectedly, I miss them and want them here. And also, I have learned the following:
1. I blame my moods on my kids. HORRIBLE! Here, alone, I feel, on occasion, aimless or agitated or a little sad, and I think: If they were here I’d think I felt this way because I needed to be away from them. Yi iiikes. Horrendous. This break is worth it for that insight alone.
2. When I am out in the world alone and reasonably well-groomed and in a peaceful frame of mind? Men talk to me sometimes. As though I am of interest. I have no interest, really, in being of interest, but I hadn’t noticed until now how being with—or preoccupied with—children renders me invisible to a whole (mostly creepy, but still) segment of the population.
Learning aside, I’m flying around the house organizing winter clothes, vacuuming behind things, canning applesauce, leaving poetry books in convenient spots where they remain rather than being carried around to unexpected places by cute little nascent object-carriers. This morning instead of slogging out of bed before six as usual I stayed asleep until 8:30 and dreamed that A and I were renewing our marriage vows and Barack Obama was officiating. He was splendid, and sang a lovely solo as well. I wore a white dress with a red corduroy coat over it.
And I spent a chunk of this afternoon, due in no small part to shannon‘s prodding a few weeks back, making calls for Obama, using one hand to hold the phone and the other to beat back my tongue-tied shyness and doubts about whether it could make a difference. Several people hung up on me, and one guy said, Yes, I know who I’m going to vote for but I’m not going to tell you who it is. My longest conversation was with an 85-year-old woman who was in the middle of baking cookies and who told me she doubted it mattered who she voted for.
When no one answered (often), I left a message: I’m a volunteer for Barack Obama’s campaign. I’m a mom with two little kids and a job and a lot to do, and I’m using part of my weekend to connect with other voters and share my belief that Obama is the candidate who can be the leader we desperately need right now. I hope you’ll vote with me. Thanks for your time.
I don’t know if it will make a lick of difference, but leaving those messages felt like it could matter. I’m not the most articulate political talker, and who hasn’t made up their mind already by now? But maybe somewhere out there is someone who just needs to hear one more respectful, passionate voice before they sway that way. Or who would be pushed, themselves, into some sort of action, knowing that someone like me is moved to pick up the phone. Anyway, if you’re so inclined, it’s easy to do. Worst case, you discover that you can survive being hung up on after all.
I leave you with this, which cracks me up even though of course I will vote: