July 31, 2000
Don't Bug Me

Countdown to Daughter #1: Three days
 


 
We were driving to Albertson's last night ... one of us exhausted (him), one of us cranky (me), both of us hungry ... neither one of us thrilled to be going to the stoopid grocery store at 7 p.m. on a Sunday night in the first place.

Until they started talking about bugs on the radio.

Usually by this point on a Sunday night the two of us are snuggled safely in bed, eating big plates of lemon-pepper pasta and watching "Futurama" in our underwear. But it was late afternoon before David got home from his parents' house yesterday, and it threw our normal Sunday evening *schedule* -- not to mention our blood sugar levels -- dangerously out of whack.

Hence our tired/cranky/hungry state of mind.

Plus we'd just had a minor tiff. Sunday nights are notorious for minor tiffs, aren't they? I wonder why that is. We'd managed to get through this one relatively unscathed ... neither one of us interested in going to that place where a "minor tiff" turns into a "full-blown tiff," and feelings are hurt, and deadly silence ensues, and the next thing you know one of us is sleeping on the couch (while the other one lays awake all night, wondering what he said wrong this time).

But there were still a few lingering *tension molecules* floating around in the Subaru.

The car radio was tuned to NPR, where they were discussing insects again. (Lately it's either insects or baseball essays. What's up with that?) Specifically, they were talking about the praying mantis, and her sometimes brutal mating practices. "Occasionally the female will reach out and bite off the head of the male as he begins to mate with her," said Nerdy Insect Expert Guy happily. "Interestingly, not having a head does not seem to affect the male's ability to perform sexually."

(Well there's news.)

For some reason, this tickled my funny bone. Actually, it more than "tickled" my funny bone ... it pinned me down to the ground, held my arms above my head, sat on my stomach and dug ten fingers deeply and directly into the armpits of my funny bone, until my funny bone begged for mercy.

The next thing I knew, I was wiping Maybelline off the front of my T-shirt.

"Think that's pretty funny, do you?" David said.

I nodded helplessly. There is nothing like a good, four-minute, rolling-on-the-seat-of-the-car, peeing-in-my-pants, mascara-melting phlegm-producing laugh at the expense of the male half of the species to make a girl feel better.

It sorta made me want to *mate* with him right there in the Subaru.



The tiff, as always, was stoopid and overblown and generated mostly by me.

I was asleep when David got home from his parents' house, sometime around 5:00 or so. Or actually, I had been asleep, for most of the past three hours: I was just beginning to swim back to the surface of consciousness again when he walked into the bedroom. (While I was asleep I dreamed that little miniature doctors were slicing open my abdomen with steak knives. When I woke up, I was rolling in wave after wave of menstrual cramps.)

I asked him how his day went. Did he have fun? Was it hot in Walnut Creek? Did his mother cook? He said that yes, he'd had a good time. He and his brothers had spent most of the afternoon arguing about Elis Presley's sex life. His mother sent a jar of homemade pesto home with him.

"Oh ... and I told my parents about your breast reduction surgery," he added, almost as an afterthought.

Stop the presses.

"You told them what?" I asked ... slowly. Carefully. Calmly. Making sure I'd heard him correctly. Resisting the urge to leap right off the bed and fly over to where he was standing in the doorway, with that big innocent *dumb guy expression* on his face, and bite his head right off his NECK.

I think he knew right away that he was in trouble.

"I told them that you were thinking about having breast reduction surgery," he said, sounding just the teensiest bit defensive. "But just that you were thinking about it." The tip of the scalpel had not yet touched the fabulous triple-D's, in other words.

For a moment I was too surprised to respond. I just sat there and looked at him, open-mouthed in amazement. "I can't believe you would tell them something that personal without checking with me first," I said, finally.

"But ... you've written about it on your website!" he said.

This is true. I have written about it on my website. I've also written about ducks fudking outside my apartment door, shoplifting suede jackets from Goodwill and spitting into Franz' coffee on my website. That doesn't mean I consider any of this stuff conversational fodder for the family dinner table ... unless of course *I'm* there to bring it up personally.

"How exactly is it different?" he asked. 

He wasn't angry. Just befuddled. What is the difference, he wanted to know, between me posting something on the website for all the world (including his parents) to read ... and him breaking important news to them in person?

I wanted to say, The difference is that your family doesn't ever actually read the website. If they were reading *FootNotes* on even a semi-regular basis, we would have been hearing noise from them all along ... the instant I started spouting off about wanting to get married, for instance. Or the time I wrote about peeing on Mrs. Rafter's furniture. (That one alone would have generated a politely puzzled phone call.)

I wanted to say, The difference is that this is something intimate and personal about ME, and the polite thing to do would be to at least ask my permission before you broadcast it to your family. Just like I always ask *you* if it's OK to write about the size of your penis.

I wanted to further say, The difference is that I wasn't sitting there right next to you when you told them ... so I wasn't able to enjoy that *Total Mortification Moment* live and in person. I can only sit here and imagine the raised eyebrows, from a distance ... and after the fact.

But mostly I wanted to say, The difference is that I want your family to like me. I want them to think I'm smart and decent and capable and good for their son. I want them to be glad that we're in love, and to be happy when we get married, and to welcome me with open arms into the family ...

... but the truth is that I already have so damn many strikes against me -- the fact that I'm a mom who surrendered custody of her children, the fact that I'm "The Internet Girlfriend" who moved here to live with you after just one weekend together, the fact that I'm a recovering alcoholic, the fact that I'm divorced, the fact that I'm not Catholic, the fact that I have this bizarre public website where I post the intimate daily details of our lives for all the world to read -- that it's going to be kind of tough to convince them that I'm not completely insane. And now you're telling them about the breast reduction? Why don't we just tell them about the talking birds and The Dreaded Bad Luck Song, while we're at it?

This was all the stuff I wanted to say. But I didn't. I just sort of looked at him and shrugged and said, "It's just different. OK?"

And to his credit I think he got it, pretty much right away, without any further explanation. (Or at least he pretended that he got it. That's almost as good.) He apologized for this unforgivable breach of confidentiality. I apologized for my momentary hissy fit. We kissed. We smiled. I put on my shoes and grabbed my purse and we got in the car and headed for the grocery store to get some dinner.



 
By 9 p.m. we were fed, jammied, ice-creamed, toothbrushed, calmed and snuggled into bed.

In keeping with the *Insect Theme* of our evening, The X-Files featured an especially disgusting episode all about tobacco beetles that crawl into peoples' lungs and lay eggs. When the eggs hatch, the larvae exit the body in most unpleasant fashion.

(Don't even get me started on the ants. Let's just say that I've learned to check the toilet paper before I wipe. And that I never drink root beer that's been sitting unattended on the headboard for longer than fifteen minutes.)

"I promise I will never bite your head off during sex," I told David solemnly, as we turned out the lights.

"Let's test that theory," he said, equally solemnly.

I think we're probably going to be OK.

two years ago today


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