Monday, March 22, 2004

More things that make me mad, and other stuff

1. Snow, lots of it, and this bloody freezing cold, beyond the first day of spring. Brrr. Grrr.

2. Wide elastic that's not actually sewn into the waistband. It folds, twists, and bunches up, defeating the purpose. I expected better of you, Calvin Klein!

3. Not having time to play video games. I wouldn't go so far as to say I was an avid gamer pre-baby, but I enjoy a good adventure. I received a game for my birthday (November) and to date have logged a total of about 40 minutes playing time. I don't even expect much from this game, but I'd like the time to be critical of it at least. On the other hand, I do find time to read quite a bit, so to some degree it's a matter of my priorities. Still, I miss video games.

4. The last beer of the six-pack (cans) being returned to fridge still sporting the plastic six-pack ring thingy (is there a name for that?). I really hate that.

OK, that's enough anger for a while.

We brunched with friends and mere acquaintances and a couple complete strangers in Ottawa this weekend. Pleasant enough. Our weekend was otherwise uneventful.

I stumbled upon a discount copy of Spalding Gray's Morning, Noon and Night and was morbidly compelled to read it. Basically, he recounts a day in his life when his youngest son was still an infant.

Other of his works are better written and with sharper wit and insight, and to plod through this one — to get it — you have to hear Spalding tell it in your head, see his expressions and mannerisms.

This memoir is something of a reflection on parenthood, and, well, everything, in true Spalding fashion. The book is full of sentiments that everyone confronting parenthood can relate to. I found myself angry at him for saying some of it though (OK, so I'm not finished with my anger just yet). Toward the end he writes:

Here it is only ten-fifteen in the evening and I'm wasted, and I didn't even go to work. I don't know how people do it. I don't know how people raise families and work at the same time. What's more, why would they want to do it? With only one life to live, why bring more life into the world to be responsible for? It's absurd. It's ridiculous, I think. Why complicate your life with more life that you are ultimately responsible for? I love my children, but they could only be accidents born out of a kind of blind passion. I could never have had a child if I had to think about it.

Although he didn't go to work, he didn't do much parenting either. His girlfriend, working from a home office, also cooked, managed the household renovations, tended to the baby. He was selfish and spoiled — yoga, bike-ride, drinking.

But in the light of his death this work also sketches a portrait of a very sad, confused, scared — desperately scared — childish man. (Lots of inky water imagery too.) The humour and the wonder had already started leaving him.

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