200 Posts; is Anybody out There?
This is post #200, unique also in that it is my second post of the day. Sandra Bullock is in Seattle, the Jawa is asleep and I'm surfing MySpace music and watching "What Not to Wear."
I need to get more serious.
But before I do, let me share with you another moment of parental failure. This afternoon, the Jawa and I were hurtling down 101 toward South San Francisco. We were on our way to pick up S. Bullock, then take her to the airport.
Our Jawa is ten years old, and even though yesterday -- when I mentioned to him that the 10-year-old babes at the Mill Valley dog park might peak the interest of some of his friends -- he responded, "What do you mean," with absolute beautiful innocent confusion, he is still far past the clueless toddler phase.
Which explains the following conversation:
Me: (grumbling about the incompetence of other drivers)
Jawa: Dad? How come some guys' weiners get stiff when they're embarassed?
Jawa: You know. When you're embarassed, your weiner gets stiff. Sometimes in the shower, too.
Everyone wants me to be entertainingly embarassed at times like this. I am known for my preference that the human body be filled with nougat instead of organs.
I pride myself on the open communication that exists between my Jawa and myself. No topic is off-limits, and every question is treated with respect. That is, until I suddenly and completely run out of patience, usually after answering a series of questions about roller coasters and/or theme parks.
Me: Does that happen to you?
Me: When you're embarassed.
Jawa: Yes. Why does it happen?
Amazingly, driving a car and catching a fish requires a license. Parenting does not. I take this stuff pretty seriously, but I was caught completely off-guard by this one. That doesn't mean that, once I caught my breath, I didn't devote myself to giving him the best possible answer to his question.
Me: Well, biologically, this means that blood is running down into your, uh, penis. This makes it stiff.
Jawa: (Nodding) But why?
Me: This will all make sense to you in the future. As you get older, it'll seem less weird. And you might find that it happens when you see a girl you like.
Jawa: (very long pause) Huh? What do you mean?
Me: I have no idea. Different things will make it happen. You know, those guys have a mind of their own!
Failure. Utter failure. The first time we had a conversation about this particular body part, I came through like a champ, sticking to biology and closing with, "You're going to hear a lot of things about your pee-pee. Why don't you run them by me, and I'll let you know what's what."
This time, caught completely unawares, I dropped the ball so badly that he changed the subject. "I don't like talking about body stuff," he said. "I grosses me out."
I figure that sixty-second conversation will eventually cost me around $700 in therapy sessions some day.
I told Sandra Bullock, who said, "You've got to stick to biology! Explain that he'll get some thoughts that make the blood rush to his penis!"
Sitting here, surfing MySpace music, looking for some new stuff to listen to, I came across the second acts of all the people I used to know in Seattle in the 90s. Tired of writing for 10 cents a word and a spot on the guest list, I ditched the world of struggling musicians in favor of twice-a-year Banana Republic shopping sprees and bad jobs in downtown high-rises. They kept on plugging away.
So while I sit here, fingers crossed that someone will hire me to do something, anything, having something to do with something I'm good at, these guys all crank out album after barely-selling album, or collages, paintings and designs. They get jobs booking bands into nightclubs.
Well, I was about to go on a self-loathing rant about how Rusty Willoughby spends all his time playing music and painting, and I spent all my time looking at Rusty Willoughby's website and thinking, "Well, but for a few breaks, I'm just like him," when the Jawa tottered out of his room, rubbing his eyes, and said, "I had a bad dream that the world ended."
Much easier than our earlier conversation. All I had to do was say, "It was just a dream. Everything is okay," then walk him back to his bedroom and lie next to him until he fell asleep.
All of which, naturally, makes me feel like a punk for spending the past two hours wishing I was Rusty Willoughby.
As far as I can tell, Rusty Willoughby has no Jawa, no absent Sandra Bullock, no reason to have to explain the functions of male anatomy in childlike terms, no power to make the world seem safe after a bad dream.
I could say it puts it all in perspective, but I still think I should find something better to do with my days than surf the web and do laundry.