March 25, 2010
Some Things Just Are
Andy Warhol - fucked up guy that he was - made 60 films most of which sound incredibly ridiculous. For example, Sleep is a six hour film featuring poet John Giorno sleeping for, well, six hours. Blowjob, while shorter, clocking in at 35 minutes, shows one continuous shot of the face of a guy receiving a blowjob. Empire depicts eight hours of the Empire State Building at dusk while Eat shows a guy eating a single mushroom for 45 minutes. What I suspect Warhol knew - because I'm assuming this wasn't just intended as a diversion from painting soup cans or coming up with cool new ironic hairstyles - was that mundane things happen that people rarely take note of. What I don't think Warhol truly grasped as that no one cares what six hours of footage of a sleeping poet revealed.
This has some translation into everyday life, pop culture and - my point here - parenting and how all of that somehow gets wrapped up in my little site.
You'll never ever see a show, scan a blog, read a book or listen to a speech about mundane parenting. But I have news for you. Parenting isn't always cute or funny or tender or heartbreaking or even hard. Sometimes it just is.
Sometimes your kid shits on the floor. Shit on the floor isn't particularly cute. There's nothing tender or heartwarming about the shit. It doesn't crack a cute quip. It is in no way ironic. It isn't magically shaped like Jesus' face and therefore eligible for as least some sort of karmic repayment via eBay. It's just shit. Like some days are just days. They're neither good nor bad. They just are. Sometimes parenting just is.
Don't get me wrong - its a fantastically wonderful thing and there's usually at least one thing in every day that makes you feel like wow, this parenting thing is really incredible. The other night, for instance, after I'd been working from home, feeling like crap because my son had the nerve to give me his cold after I gave him life - not fair - I was putting my daughter to bed. She wrapped her arms around me and despite what I thought of as my horrible attitude and short temper, said I love you daddy you're my favorite boy in the whole world. And promptly fell asleep. This was cute and funny and tender and mildly heartbreaking (but in a good way) but it was also nice since I didn't have to arm her with five suggestions as to how she could possibly spend her time until she fell asleep and, instead, I could go take some cold medicine, drink some beer and try to find something crappy on television to watch until the hallucinations started thereby negating the need for any sort of external entertainment.
I tend to view the future through a lens which focuses on major stuff - birthdays, vacations, major work due dates, those kinds of things. I'm pretty sure we all do this to some extent. And we do it because the things in between are ordinary. Some days work is neither bad nor good, parenting isn't overly challenging. Those days just are. So we set our sights towards the anomalies and wait. And I think by doing that, we're doing ourselves a disservice. I think miss taking pleasure in the mundane and I suspect that when we're all much older, we'll look back at those seemingly mundane times with a certain mixture of fondness and regret.Posted by Chris at March 25, 2010 7:12 AM