Aspen Princess: The calm after the storm
“I gotta get up and take a Trump,” Ryan said when he woke up the morning after Election Day.
Of course I had been up all night, wracked with anxiety and the-end-is-near, Armageddon-ish dark thoughts, but Ryan doesn’t roll like that.
“So, is this like, the longest ever ‘Saturday Night Live’ skit?” Ryan asked as he lay in bed and scrolled through his Facebook feed in the dark. “Is Trump going to all of a sudden look into the camera and scream, ‘Live, from New York, it’s Saturday night!’”
He was up early, what, after he sacked out on election night by 9, his huge body splayed across the couch, one arm over his head, his round belly rising and falling like water lapping on the shore. The pug was happily tucked into the crook of his other elbow, her tiny, flat face the only part of her visible, totally content and blissfully unaware of what all was unfolding, the two of them snoring in stereo.
Of course I had to stay up and watch it all unfold, only to toss and turn and contemplate taking the Xanax I had stashed away somewhere that probably expired like six years ago. Rather than swallow the bitter pill, I laid awake all night in a fugue state as thoughts of nuclear war and gun violence and oppression and discrimination and sexism eventually gave way to inane crap like work deadlines and the mountain of laundry that had taken up residence downstairs, overflowing with mismatched socks and dish towels and everyone’s clothes all tangled up in one giant heap because I’m too lazy to separate any of it, god forbid my whites not be tinged with gray.
I thought about the diaper pail that was nearly full, the stink rising from within like steam from a sewer grate. I thought about how I should have listened to my friend Sarah who told me to get a Diaper Genie because she raised twins and she knew her stuff when it came to diaper pails. But I’ve somehow made it a habit to never listen to her well-intended advice, choosing instead to forge my own path with a sense of stubborn purposefulness that always takes me full circle to doing exactly what she told me to do in the first place.
I obsessed about a nasty email exchange I’d had with a friend who was mad at me for forgetting about our lunch date, again. Rather than let me play the mommy card, or remembering all the times she’d canceled on me back when her kid was a baby, she kind of went off on me, laying on a thick coat of guilt.
And the thing is, I’m so frazzled these days with the baby that I forget things all the time, like that time I left my stroller in Santa Cruz or the time I drove all the way to the Dinkle Lake trailhead and realized I forgot my hiking shoes and had to hike in flip-flops. Or the time we drove all the way to Marble only to discover I’d forgotten the Baby Bjorn. So it’s possible that she told me it was going to cost a gazillion dollars and I simply laid there like a mom zombie and said, “That’s fine,” without actually hearing anything she said. Maybe I conked out and was talking in my sleep.
“Chalk it up to tuition in the school of life,” a wise woman friend told me. She was the same one who said, “Don’t save the good china for after the earthquake.”
Of course we talked about moving to another country, about family we have in New Zealand and Costa Rica.
“Believe me, I’d love to run away to another country and not have to work my ass off all day, every day,” Ryan said when we were contemplating the cheap cost of living in Central America.
“But what happens when we move back when we’re like, 50, and no one wants to hire us? We have to be realistic.”
Ryan’s first cousin lives Down Under and is married to a Kiwi and is raising their son as a surfer on the North Island with his adorable accent and head full of thick, shaggy, sun-bleached hair. But his cousin also is an orthopedic surgeon.
“It’s not that easy for a maintenance guy,” he said, though I knew he was talking about more than just the Southern Hemisphere.
So here we are, two days after the earthquake by the time you guys read this. And so what I’ve realized, after my insomnia, and Ryan’s knee-jerk comedy, and the trivial, inane day-to-day innuendo that inevitably eclipsed the disaster of the election, is that life goes on.
It has to, right?
“Just remember, we have each other,” he said before he left for work. “No matter what, we’ll always be together.”
And then he walked out the door like he does every day. I could hear the engine of his truck grumble to life, and the sound of his tires grinding against the gravel driveway. Then the baby awoke, all coos and gurgles, and I rose to make his bottle and turn on the coffee maker and splash my face with ice-cold water and pull my hair into a loose bun on top of my head.
I went into the nursery and found the babe upright in his crib, his blue eyes bright, his smile wide, the tuft of white-blonde hair sticking straight up from his head, blissfully unaware of all that was wrong in the world.
It would be a day like any other. Life would go on. And love would trump all.
The Princess is in desperate need of another almond milk latte. Email your love to email@example.com.
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