Posts Tagged ‘quiet’

Two Faces

26 April 2011


Dear J-

The big social obligation is over: as both my brother and I are visiting my parents wanted to host a party and while the turnout wasn’t huge it was respectable and most of all figgy got a chance to run around with her cousins. Typically when we meet up with family it’s in a restaurant where the norm is decorous ingestion of food, not screaming and jumping as four-year-olds are capable of for hours on end. The contrast was especially marked in comparison with the morning, when we went to the Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose. We picked a day that coincided with a couple of field trips and so she spent the morning getting jostled by bigger kids and pushed out of the way. The quiet figgy we saw was nothing like the bossy (let’s be charitable and say leader) kid we saw this afternoon, commanding fiercely.

I love that about her: the unerring ability to seize a comfortable relationship and twist it for her own ends, though it’s often hard to appreciate when I’m the one getting bossed around. It’s therefore hard to see her in the unfamiliar not wanting to take charge, though that’s no doubt because no one feels comfortable in awkward social situations (they wouldn’t be awkward if you felt comfortable, after all). We are just passengers on the ride some days, and we are in awe of how fast she has picked up the basics of manipulation and reasoning, trying to make us pawns without much success yet. We bribe her to get through the day (if this, then reward) and little tasks so I wonder how the rest of the childhood gets any easier.

We are getting older. Colds seem a bit more severe with every new virus and I know it’s not just because the bugs keep getting stronger. Our metabolism has definitely slowed down and the burgers stick around so much longer. There will come a time — and no doubt soon — when the charismatic lies she tells us will be indistinguishable from what we see to be the truth. The longer we keep guiding her though the better off we are in the long run and we just need to remind her who gets hurt in these situations. We’re getting older, and she has a long road to run.



Day Break

3 May 2010

Dear J-

The whole back end of the van in alive with noises this morning, some of them my fault (there’s a gentle clicking that I know must be some of the extra hardware that I’ve added and could stand to come off), some of it is getting used to the new van (they swapped out our 2008 van with 40K miles for a 2009 van with 40K miles, essentially proving that there is no free lunch), and some of it is the nature of the trip: for this wheelbase, weight, and suspension tuning, the freeway between San Diego and Carlsbad sets up an almost resonant rocking motion. Yes, I already knew I had too much time on my hands, but what should I do about it?

Part of this time could be spent fruitfully studying, I suppose; there are no doubt any number of non-fiction titles out there for me to discover, but unless they involve sunken ships, I’m afraid my attention span isn’t what it used to be. I dunno. Part of me gets up so early because I need to for the vanpool, but the estra time is just gravy, I guess — there are long stretches in the morning when I don’t say a word to anyone because I feel like I’m the only one awake in the world, though theVet has surprised me on more than one occasion while I’m reading the newspaper and woolgathering.

I actually remember the first time I got up early for myself, and it’s not a great memory: that conflicted summer of ’98, we’d gotten up before I had to go to school and some petty argument (it’s a wonder that love under the age of, say, 25, has a chance at surviving the egos) sent me marching towards the door just after six, bus pass in hand with a silent vow to stew all the way there. By the way, public transportation is an excellent service for introverts — they’re the ones staring out the window — and extroverts (on their phones) alike now, but before the ubiquitous cell phone, they were the best way I knew to be alone in public. For some reason there’s an unwritten rule on the vanpool that quiet time is reserved for the mornings; maybe that’s our nature, or just our lack of caffeine.