Not sure I wrote this, since nobody is crazy, poor, or complaining, and only a couple of people yelled at me for it. Nikki Sixx liked it, but I never heard back from Boz Scaggs.
A friend once told me that he had never understood 80s nostalgia until he watched Bill Murray sing a karaoke version of this song in Lost In Translation (apologies for the crappy quality — if you already know it, skip it):
I’m still not sure I understand — or hell, even condone — 80s nostalgia, but this song gets me, too. For one, it’s on Avalon, the album to which I may or may not have lost my virginity. More than that (heh), however, is the song’s careful emphasis on what it claims to deny. “More than this,” mourns Bryan Ferry; the far quieter “You know there’s nothing” dangles, after the fact, like a question as opposed to an answer. The close-reading I try so hard to teach my students tells me that the order of the words does matter. “More than this … you know there’s nothing” is not the same as “You know there’s nothing more than this,” and Ferry adds to the ambiguity by lilting the “this” into a question. Surplus words fall out just before the fade, leaving us with only “more than this” and “nothing.” Do with that what you will, but it doesn’t sound too ecstatic to me. Add the metamorphosis of Dr. Peter Venkman into a drunken, lonely absentee dad, and watch all your 80s illusions crumble into unreconstitutable dust.
What was I talking about?
So, I’ve been on my own with the girls for just about two months now. Yes, I have friends, and I have family, and their dad has been back twice already, giving me a few badly needed nights with my boyfriend, who would by now be canonized if he wasn’t an atheist (and, of course, still alive). But it is lonely work sometimes, knowing that it all depends on me, every bit of it, every day. The wakeups and the meals and the kisses and the signatures and the signups and the deadlines (must there be SO many take-home projects?) and the dishes and the dogwalks and the birthday parties and the car repairs and the sicknesses and the snow days and the yeses and the noes — all me. All the time.
That’s parenting, you say. Yes it is. But let ye who is without spouse among you … well, you know the rest. Doing it by yourself is not the same as doing it with a partner who’s always present, who can cover when you have a cold or grab the kids if you’re stuck at work or maybe bring you a goddamn cup of coffee on a really tough morning. I know that I chose to have it this way, because the alternative — seeing my children only on vacations — was unthinkable. I also know that I’m blessed to have children at all, and wise, funny ones, to boot. Still, this is hard, in ways I guess I should have easily foreseen but simply didn’t expect. There, I said it. So sue me.
Anyway, this is for those of you who asked why I haven’t posted. All the wacky wonderful single mom anecdotes* I started this blog to share have been overshadowed by exhaustion, as well as worry about how they’re adjusting and where I’m going to live next fall. I talk to my boyfriend for maybe five minutes a night, if that, and usually to tell him that I’m too tired to talk to him. (Or I just text “Zzzzzz” and he knows not to bother.) I keep waiting to have a “normal week,” but I’m not sure such a thing exists any more. Looks like I’m gonna need a whole new kind of normal. Not more than this. Just different.
*I particularly wanted to share Lucy’s fantastic birthday invitation design, which featured a giant cupcake armed with a birthday candle chasing a band of terrified tiny people, but that will have to wait until I get a new battery pack for the camera. Seriously, it was awesome.