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Monday, July 16, 2007

Alive and well

Just before six in the morning I spot an email from my eldest daughter in Mozambique. [translation – on the cusp of her 26th birthday] I pause just long enough to read the first and last line: “Dear Mum” “Love Tamsin.” Although it has arrived via her e-mail address there is always the possibility that she has been dead in a ditch and someone else has tracked me down with the terrifying news. [translation = the neurosis of a mother with adult children] I zip on by, to attend to my youngest son and his toileting.
If I were a sensible person, I would admit defeat and print out her message to read, but in my endeavour to save the planet by using less paper, I hold back. [translation = especially since my oldest daughter is a hug a tree / save a whale type of a woman]
I attempt to shovel cereal into two small boys who appear to have mislaid their oral cavities. [translation = and their arms don’t seem to work this morning either and have been replaced by limp, overcooked, spaghetti strands.]
My eldest daughter is not a secretive type, but she generally fails to pass on pertinent information, such as her return date. In my email to her, I asked her a number of very specific questions in the hope of eliciting the information that my mind so desperately needs, such as ‘are you alive?’ My dreams have been inhabited by wild animals of a carnivorous frame of mind, whose quest for their next meal generally consists of her various body parts. I am disappointed that it is always a black panther, my favourite, that appears to be chewing off her toes as I awaken with a start.

My son falls off his chair for no particular reason and lies on the floor covered with cereal and milk. {translation = failure to properly supervise] Not for the first time, I am tempted to ask if everyone could stop being autistic for three and a half minutes so that I can read the letter in it’s entirety, without interruptions or distractions? My other son bangs his fists on the table to tell me “I am explode dah toilet,” and promptly does so, without the benefit of being anywhere near the vicinity of the aforementioned toilet. I debate whether to clean up the son with cereal or the son with other matter? Should the first accident take precedent due to timing? I decide that I am clearly unfit to be in charge of anyone. I am not phased by either accident because both kinds are so frequent. [translation = I am more concerned that no-one is hurt or ill or both]

I am completely mystified as to how my gene pool could have created a make your own igloo, Banana slugs are my friend, hiking / biking, trek round Tibet solo, kind of a daughter? There again, on the whole I remain happier if I refrain from examining my own gene pool too carefully. [translation = let sleeping dogs lie]

I regret that I failed to fit her with a monitor, so that she could zap me every 24 hours to reassure me of her well being. At least I know she was truly alive at 2:24 a.m. when she sent the e-mail. Maybe the monitor should ping every hour, or minute? I ensure that my exterior oozes, calm so that my boys’ level of anxiety does not rise. Although they are generally oblivious to my existence, I have a tendency to leak magnetic stress molecules. The elastic rope around my waist pings me back to the stake by the computer, via a bucket of hot soapy water and a scrubbing brush, so I have no option but to read another few words. The words I read are ‘renewal of contract,’ before I’m snapped back to the table and small people, where one complains about his malfunctioning spoon. I replace his fork with a spoon. [translation = one implement looks very much like another unless you are truly interested in eating]

During the course of the morning, I travel back and forth through the narrow galley kitchen many hundreds of times. The lap top computer and the email message are on display for me, but time and the opportunity to read more than a single word or line, do not present themselves. I skid through on route to the family room and a small person who calls my name. I slow to a stop, pause, freeze frame, read half a sentence and then speed up as the name calling increases in volume.
I debate whether it is possible to renew an annual contract by a day, or maybe two if I’m feeling really generous? I decide that I am not feeling generous, really. I decide to practice being generous, my weakest suit. My son presents himself before me. All his clothes are on backwards because I wasn’t paying enough attention. [translation = I further resolve to practice being generous] I tell him what a great job he has done and then bite my lip because what little generosity I might have ever had, is leaking away.

“Why you are a cartoon?” bellows my youngest son.
“A cartoon?” I repeat, tearing my eyes away from the screen for the umpteenth time.
“I don’t think I… er…….understand. Can you say it again dear?”
“You are dah run, you are dah stop, you are dah read, you are dah run, again.”
“I am?”
“Yes, today you are dah cartoon, again and again and again.”
“I am?”
“Yes. You are dah electric.”
It would appear that I am no longer invisible. [translation = or can they see the blue sparks from my brain that escape through my ears?]

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