I am in a really REALLY foul mood. We went to the mother of all malls this morning, with Charlotte, so I could go to the maternity store and buy a few more tents to wear, having grown out of almost everything I already own, and Kevin could watch Charlotte play on the indoor playground. I should have known better--this particular indoor playground is probably one of the most dangerous places in America (I won't say in the world, since that includes several war zones). On a given day, it is virtually crawling with children, many of them far too old to be playing on this playground, and all of them raised by wolves. The older kids are invariably jumping off the top of the adorable foam elephants and birdsnests and things, landing on the toddlers for whom the playground was designed and giving them concussions. The toddlers who remain conscious, meanwhile, are zipping around, up, and down, trampling over anyone in their path, including any parents who may be futilely trying to save their child's life. So I don't know what I was thinking. Sometimes it's like I subconsciously set myself up for a nervous breakdown because I just can't allow myself to be sane. I think that's why I had children in the first place. Either that or I am just insane to begin with, which going by Ockham's Razor is the correct explanation because it is the simplest one. In my defense, it is a very nice day, so I thought maybe most parents, or at least those who are not the size of a Buick and can walk across a playground without a cane, would have taken their children outdoors to play, with the wild animals where they belong. But apparently not. It was INSANE. And Poor Charlotte. She wanted to play on the playground so badly but really lacks the aggression to do so successfully. She has the distinct disadvantage of being raised by enlightened humans. She would near the steps of the slide and get overwhelmed by all the little demons swirling around her. At one point, she looked at me pathetically and said, "They aren't waiting their turn!" while I tried to give her a crash course on what you do when you are the only moral, civilized person anywhere in the tri-state area and risk being destroyed if you don't bring yourself down to the level of the unwashed masses to a degree, never forgetting that you are in fact better than that and retaining the ability to revert to superior living when once again in kinder circumstances (kind of like driving on the Beltway. Or worse, in Africa). Then I just fled the scene and left Kevin to figure it out. She must have gotten it OK because she was still alive when I got back from the maternity store.
Ah, the maternity store. There's a depressing place at 8 months pregnant. This is where you go in desperation when you either can't fit in or despise every last item in your closet, when you have somehow managed to outgrow even your socks, when you are reduced to wearing your wedding rings on a necklace (as if you would be beating back the interested men without them), when watching college football has the added intrigue of seeing how many players you now outweigh (in my case, pretty much all but the offensive line). You go the maternity store with the deluded notion that you will find something in which you will resemble a human being. You try on everything in the store and are left with the choice of either spending good money on items you will only wear for 5 weeks and which basically cover your body and perform no other redeeming function or to leave with some underwear and the mirage of dignity, dignity which you in fact shed months ago, somewhere in between wearing sweatpants to church and pulling a groin muscle while turning over in bed. I did the latter, although I did cave and buy the overalls I have been threatening to buy, the overalls that will pretty much finish off what is left of our "marital" relationship. The saleslady perkily assured me I could paint my house in them after I am no longer pregnant. Thanks, once I recover my abdominal muscles and my will to live, I'll definitely be painting my house in those overalls.
In any case, I arrived back home in a foul mood and very depressed at the next 5 weeks, but really at the next 5 years, to be honest with you. Sometimes I think I live too much in the moment. In one of my favorite movies, Out of Africa, Dennys tells Karen that if you imprison a Maasai he will die because Massai live in the now and can't conceive of one day being free. While I think Dennys is full of paternalistic colonial crap about the Maasai, I think he is describing me quite well, because I really suck at looking forward, at enduring misery to reach a goal down the road. I tend to wallow in the putrid muck of the present, like an elephant, a particularly apt metaphor at this point since I am the size of one. But this is really ridiculous, as I know I will be returned to human form (still an obese human form, but nonetheless) in another month or so, and I know, rationally, that if I can just make it through the next year, the worst will truly be behind me. And besides that, my life overall is really blessed and, God willing, in 20 years, I will have adult children who come to see me on my ranch in Montana at Christmas, if not out of affection, out of the hope they will inherit the millions I have earned from my career as a writer, and who hopefully know me well enough not to expect me to do for them and their kids all the stuff my mother and mother-in-law are currently doing for me.
So there's lots to look forward to and be thankful for, in this month of Thanksgiving. Even just here and now, there are things for which to be grateful. For instance, I'm thankful my mother and mother-in-law are indeed better people than me and are willing to help me out. I'm thankful I don't outweigh the Sooners' offensive line, because if I did, watching them would truly be unbearable, given how they have been playing. I'm thankful I probably won't outweigh them, given that severe acid reflux is putting an end to my late night binge eating. I'm thankful I'm not a Maasai and don't have to wash my kids in cow pee, not to mention breast feed in a culture without brassieres. I'm thankful that I am enlightened enough to use formula if it comes to that, as it inevitably will, so I can merely be post-partumly depressed instead of suicidal. I'm thankful for my Weight Watchers membership, which shines like a beacon of hope for the future every time I get on a scale. I'm thankful I have no weddings or big events or even many reasons to leave my home over the next several months that would require me to get dressed and/or photographed. I'm thankful men are so oblivious and therefore can't tell how much I hate them all right now. I"m thankful that my husband is clearly too busy and consumed by his work to have an affair so that I can wear those overalls after all.
It's the little things.