Dear People in Coffee Shops in the Middle of the Day,
Hi! I have a lot of questions about you! See, like you, I am one of the people who can sometimes be found in a coffee shop in the middle of the day (even more so now that I'm on maternity leave), and I cannot help but wonder about my cafe squatting brethren. I mean, I know why I'm here...I'm here because I have an 8 month old and and sometimes I get bored being at home all day, therefore the need for a change of scenery, leads me to the closest coffee shop. But what about you? It’s almost 2 in the afternoon on a Thursday and you are in a coffee shop! Are you like me? I want to know what you are doing here and I want to know your story! I want to know everything about all of these people in the coffee shop in the middle of the day!
What are you doing? Are you on Facebook? Instagram? Pinterest? All three at once? Are you inventing a new social media website? Are you emailing with someone? Who? What are they saying? Are you writing? What are you writing? Is it a script? A book? An essay on coffee shop aesthetics? Are you lonely? Are you employed? Is this your job? Doesn't it annoy you to have that plate of crumbs sitting on the table for hours on end? Wouldn't you just go and throw it out by now? How much coffee have you had? Would you still come here even if they didn't have free WiFi? What did you do before free WiFi existed? Who is your favorite superhero? Do you like the music they are playing? Are you as creeped out by that one weird dude in the corner as I am?
It’s weird because if you go to a coffee shop in the middle of the day in just about any city (and probably some small towns, too) there will always people in that coffee shop. People you might see once and never again. People who could be visiting, people who could be your next door neighbor who you've never met. It’s a strange existence, the coffee shop life, because I have so many questions and am so very curious about all the other people I occasionally encounter during my coffee shop visits, and yet I never actually talk to anyone or ask anyone who anyone is or what anyone is doing. That’s the thing...we’re all here for a purpose, and whatever that purpose is, because we know there is one, it’s as though the cafe dwellers abide by a code. Everyone is often polite but has very little interaction with each other.
The people who go to coffee shops in the middle of the day are unified by their purpose and desire to be in the coffee shop and protected by this shared intention, even though some of us are strangers and we’ll never meet and I’ll never know what you are writing on your computer and what music you are listening to and where you came from and where you are going to. We are strangers yet we are all so alike in one way or another and that's cool.
Forget pliers. Forget ropes, chains, red-hot eye pokers. The greatest form of psychological torture, sure to elicit screams of mercy from any terrorist on 24, is standing in a twenty-five person line at the post office and watching as two of the three clerks...who have been moving at speeds generally reserved for slowly eroding rock formations...put "closed" signs in their windows as they sit there, averting their eyes, typing on their computers.
Standing in the bedroom, staring at my closet and bathroom counter, pondering the vast array of products specifically designed to improve our self-esteem and increase our confidence by hiding, correcting, fixing, or even eliminating our flaws.
For virtually every un-perfect body part, there are products enthusiastically promising to shove recalcitrant 40+-yr-old bodies backwards in time, so we can look more socially appealing (read: y-o-u-n-g-e-r). With minimal research, we can find products that push up our bosoms, firm our thighs, tighten our buttocks, reduce our cellulite, even our skin tone, shrink our waistlines, de-bloat our bellies, de-puff our eyes, lengthen our lashes, thicken our hair, smooth our wrinkles, plump our lips, and change our hair color from blah to bombshell in just 30 minutes. Wow.
Make no mistake. I am a BIG fan of these products. Being a sucker for anything that promises youthful beauty without having to join a gym or give up Pop Tarts and Lucky Charms, I tend to whip out my MasterCard on the first promise and I own a dizzying variety. Some work. Some don’t. Here’s my current list of my All-Time Products worthy of commentary:
1. Spanx. Designed to firm and smooth out everything from bust to ankles. Our mothers called these “girdles.” Be warned. They only work if you buy a size you can’t get into in less than 20 minutes and you’re prepared to break a sweat. And pee before. Once up, they’re on for the night.
2. DIY Hair Streaking Kits. Never understood this one. You’re paying to put white (gray) streaks in your hair that you’ll be paying to have removed when you realize you now look like your middle-school librarian (no, not the hot one).
3. Butt Pads. Very few things leave me speechless. Intentionally attaching something to your backside, specifically designed to make it look bigger… Nope, not for me.
4. Bosom Max. Promises to “lift and enhance bust size” with an electromagnetic pulse massaging bra. Awesome. The person who buys this probably also bought the Ab Roller and the Shake Weights. I can’t drink enough wine for this one. I’ve tried.
5. Rogaine for Women. Sounds like a good idea, until I read the side effects, which include “Possible extreme weight gain.” Seriously?? So it not only makes your hair thicker, it poofs up your a**?? See number 3.
6. Lip Augmentation. Quite possibly the stupidest trend since, well…ever. Channeling Daisy Duck is likely to result in friends and family questioning your decision-making processes on virtually every other issue in your life.
7. “Cleansing” Kits. Raved about by Hollywood celebrities, these teas and tablets promise to “cleanse toxins, reduce water retention, and flatten the tummy.” Our parents called these “laxatives.” Save on shipping. They’re available at any drugstore.
So yes, while it is true that we can alter or even eliminate dang near anything the good Lord gave us, it seems that confidence is best achieved by putting as much distance as possible between how we appear and what we actually look like. Having said that, I’m not quite ready to go natural. Maybe WonderBra could come out with a “PleasantlySurprisedBra”? I’ll take one in Nude and one in Black, please.
Adulthood…not quite what you thought it would be, is it? All those years of waiting, making vows about how you were going to be (vastly different from the adults in your childhood life), planning a fabulous fun-filled, carefree existence which would start approximately two seconds after you were free of authority figures. You absolutely could not wait to be out on your own, and if someone had sat you down and said, “No, see, these are your true golden years, when someone else is responsible,” you’d have served him or her the full force of your derision, with a side of “what you talkin’ ‘bout, Willis?” because there was no way it wasn’t going to be so much cooler/better/more fun and fulfilling on every conceivable level to be “the boss of me.” If it would only hurry up and happen, already.
And then, wow, it did happen. Fast forward to now: your inner child sulks every time you have to take out the trash, do laundry, or go to work, only you don’t mention it most of the time, ‘cause now you’re a grown up. But, please. All these chores, plus a job? And hardly the expendable income you’d envisioned. This was not the game plan. When’s all the non-stop fun going to start?, because you kind of feel as if you were bypassed. Now that you think about it, it was kind of nice to have dinner be someone else’s decision, huh? And bill-paying. To never stop & think about all those yucky “r” words like ramifications and repercussions and rent. Those were sweet days.
So, when you’re waxing nostalgic, try to grasp at snippets of your old life, which is as close as you’ll ever get. This product provides a perfect example. Recreate the joyful sensation of the spit bath with MomSpit. Who can forget those wonderful moments when your mom would glance at your face, then pull out a Kleenex and do something so disgusting you hoped no one was watching? Sometimes she’d really scrub and it kind of hurt, adding injury to insult. You couldn't even believe she just did that. And for the rest of the day every time the wind hit you from a certain angle, you’d get that whiff of mom-breath. Momspit recreates this wonderful childhood experience, right down to the no-rinse instructions, and the “unscented” claim. Let it take you for a stroll down memory lane!
I started hearing it the day Lochlan was born. Actually, I probably started hearing it way before then, but it’s likely that I didn't pay much attention. I just filed it under “obvious advice is obvious,” and thought nothing more of it. Of course I was going to sleep when the baby slept. Just like of course I was going to breastfeed like a champ and have a kid who slept through the night at six weeks. Because, unlike all the other moms in the world, I’d read all the right books, bought all the right products, and participated in a million online discussions about how not to mess up your kid. I was so set.
After Lochlan was born, people kept reminding me to sleep when he slept. But I didn't want to; I wanted to stay awake and just stare and stare at this amazingly tiny new human I’d just created. I’d just made an entire new person that had never existed before...how could I be expected to sleep after doing that? Besides, I remember thinking, I’ll sleep later. Because, up until that moment in my life, there had always been a later. Whenever I’d had a long week at work, I’d been able to plan to sleep in on the weekend. I could grab catnaps together between fun activities. I’d always, always been been able to think ahead to a time when I would be able to catch up on my sleep, maybe even take some kind of sleeping aid to ensure maximum restfulness.
When you become a parent, there never seems to be a later when it comes to sleep. You either grab it when you can, or you go without. Not long after Loch was born, I learned the hard way that I couldn't do the former...when Loch slept, I was too anxious to rest, and when I did finally manage to fall asleep, I was awakened by every. single. tiny. noise he made. I don’t know if it was because I was so wacked up on hormones, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't sleep when he slept. And you know what’s the worst? Not being able to sleep when you are bone tired and you know that your kid is going to wake up screaming soon and then you won’t get to sit down for the next few hours.
And you know what sucks the most? Having people tell me that this is my fault. It's my fault that I haven’t done any sleep-training, haven’t tried too hard to night-wean and, at 4 ½ months old, still can’t really imagine being away from him overnight. Know why? Because I’m a wuss, that’s why. Every time I think about sleep-training Loch, I think of all the crying that will be involved, and I wince. I’m not the crying-it-out-will-ruin-your-kid-forever type, but you know what? I just can’t. I’m sorry, but I can’t. Hearing him cry makes me feel like every nerve in my body is on fire. And it’s one thing to hear my kid cry because he just dropped his favorite toy; it’s another when he’s crying because he just wants to be held, or sung to, or breastfed.
And that’s why my 4-month-old still sleeps in my room and still breastfeeds pretty much whenever he wants at night. Because I am too tired and too wussy to do anything about it...but you know what...I've never been happier!
I'm still sleep deprived as hell and I feel like I’m on a mix of speed and downers, but otherwise we’re doing great in our little baby cocoon! I have many Lochlan updates to share but first, I want to get something out of the way. I've not been blogging regularly. I know, bad blogger. But here’s why...I’m kinda busy with this cute little critter below. I want to eventually have something called work/life balance but I’m finding it really fun not thinking about schedules and deadlines. I’m liking this whole chillax rollin’ with whatever the day brings lifestyle. It’s not how I usually roll, that’s for sure, but it is what it is right now.
Little Man is now a whopping 4 ½ months old. I seriously can’t believe the changes that have taken place in the last couple of months. Everyday he gets stronger, bigger, sweeter, and even louder. At his four month check up he weighed 12 pounds, 9 ounces and, after consulting my bathroom scale, I have a sneaking suspicion he’ll be around 14 pounds by Valentine’s Day. Loch has been “talking” up a storm quite a bit. It’s so loud that you can’t hear anything over it. I’m interested to see if that translates to a talkative kid. I was very shy when I was younger, so it would be funny if we end up with a chatterbox on our hands.
I love the way he's changing and the way he's changed us. He's so much fun and fills our home with such love and joy with his playful spirit. My days with him are such a gift, each day Lochlan reminds me what life is about.
What about you...how if life in your neck of the woods?