Saturday, 20 December 2008

"How Did I Get Here?"

I've had a pretty bad week in all respects. You know, one of those weeks when if something can go wrong it will, and even if something should be smooth sailing, it will end up a disasater. I found myself several times staring into space quite glumly, remembering that immortal line from the 'Talking Heads' song "Once In A Lifetime"...HOW DID I GET HERE?

You see, life speeds by at such an exacting pace, and most of us are too busy surviving, escaping, enjoying or accomplishing to really notice the ridiculous amount of years that have passed since we last properly took stock of things - and hence the reality can be somewhat shocking - especially if you're not in the best place when this epiphany occurs. I certainly wasn't.

I think the last time the passage of time (and my advancing stage in it) hit home was several years ago in Topshop (a fashionistas paradise of all things trendy and glamourous). I was trying on a ra-ra miniskirt or something equally juvenile, and I think my little sister was with me, and the look she gave me was one of bemused good humor and incredulity as I twirled in the change rooms and innocently asked, 'What do you think?" Her look said it all, but naively I asked, "Is it the color? Is it too loud?" My sister is the sweetest of sweethearts, and with something akin to kind pity she replied, "Nooooo. Well Electric Blue IS a tricky color to's more the style."

"What's wrong with the style?" I asked. "Does it make me look fat?" She took a moment to pause and form her reply in way so as not to hurt my feelings, and in that moment it suddenly dawned on me that she thought it was 'too young' for me and probably better relegated to the messy wardrobe of a 13 year old.

She wasn't wrong, and as she tried to explain later, some things are for different stages of your life. She asked whether I would ever wear a side ponytail or plaits now? I replied that no, perhaps the side ponytail would never see the light of day on my head again, but plaits I had no problem with and had recently worn. She smiled indulgently as only a sister can, and closed the discussion by saying, "Well I suppose if anyone can wear that stuff and get away with it you can, but I never would."

So you see, this whole episode was a rude awakening at the time, to the fact that I was no longer 17, and was in fact in my early thirties, and yet had no recollection of the time passing in such cruel fashion so as to render me almost middle age. MIDDLE AGE?!!! Urghhhh....How did THAT happen??!!

Well this week I experienced another of those moments. I was standing in a trashed kitchen (the boys seem to favor that as THE PLACE to wreak the most havoc, given the absolute plethora of yummy foodstuffs stored temptingly just out of reach) and had yet again reached the end of my proverbial tether. They were scrapping about something or other, which slowly turned into a screaming competition of who could do it the loudest and longest, and amidst this chaotic hell was the puppy yelping as she was stepped on and trying to dodge angry toddler ankles whilst hoovering up assorted crumbs on the floor, and I just lost it.

My sister and dad came on ichat and were trying to talk over the loud noise in the kitchen but all I could see were their lips moving. I tried to get in range so they could see the utter despair on my face but no communication was possible due to the loud volume of the scene erupting behind me. I was at a loss. That's when I thought to myself, "How did i get here?" This was swiftly followed by the question of escape. Was it possible for me or too late? Too late. Okay then, could I carve out some peace in this current life of mine in order to keep from utterly losing my mind and turning into some scary screaming witch of a mother? Perhaps....but how?

I know that in the 'Golden Olden Daze' of the 60's and 70's it was not uncommon for women to be prescribed valium. "Mother's Little Helper's" they were called. I think the "Stones" (that's The Rolling Stones to you lot) even wrote a song about it. I wondered vaguely how I might be able to get some 'Little Helpers' and whether it would do me any good in the long term. I reckoned not.

No, I think I need help of a different variety. Oh that I were filthy rich and could have the luxury of a brilliant full-coverage health plan which would allow me to go away to some retreat in Arizona to 'get well' and spend my afternoons painting horrid watercolors, my evenings watching quiz show re-runs in a lounge surrounded by other damaged and disinterested folk, and my mornings being dosed up the eyeballs with multi-colored 'little helpers' administered by comfortingly brusque nurses who would patronizingly pat my head as they passed and leave me to sleep the sleep of undisturbed mentalists.

Is it wrong that I yearn to be committed? How far I have fallen. Will things get better? Most certainly...for that is the nature of life and time. Still, sitting here, staring forlornly at my empty cappuccino cup, and surveying my messy kitchen for the gazillionth time (which was spotless only half an hour ago), I feel trapped in an unending personal hellish version of the movie 'Groundhog Day'.

There's only one thing for it. Wine. And lots of it. However, it being only 9am (and me on heavy duty antibiotics) that is not an option. So with heavy heart I shall trundle over the stove, make my second double-shot cappuccino of the morning and munch on a yummy homemade Christmas cookie. That may not help matters in any lasting way, but the sugar rush shall surely see me through the next hour at least. And when that wears off...well...I'll just have another....and another...

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