Lately I’ve been a dullard. I’ve had little to say and, when I do, I strain for words that should come more easily. I haven’t been that interested in talking or writing anyway.
I’ve only really been good for grunt-work so that’s what I’ve been doing. My children are the only people I’m any use around – they don’t demand much in the way of intelligent conversation, what with being 4 and everything. I find myself in complete understanding with them. We’ve passed many pleasant hours on Halloween, Thanksgiving and now Christmas projects, and the abominable mess we usually make with glitter, glue and pumpkin bits hasn’t once cost me a weary sigh to clear up; instead it seems just another task to which I’m happy enough to bend my big slow donkey head. My housewiffery has improved no end in this mood.
If this sounds gloomy it’s not meant to. It’s a good time of the year to be in this frame of mind because, besides the day to day maintenance of a household and children, there’s plenty of donkey-work to be done:
I’ve power-rotary-tooled my way through two steel brushes, cleaning the grout between the kitchen tiles. The person who thought it was a good idea to cover all the kitchen surfaces and splashbacks with 2×2″ tiles must have been the sort who can live gloriously cavalier lives in flagrant disregard of the 99% of all common undead household germs staring up at them with murder in their tiny black hearts as they float around the approximately 7 miles of navy blue grout canals in between the tiles. Once navy-blue canals. Like the waterways between Venice’s gleaming city blocks, they tend towards a murky, ill-defined colour. Only many hours of determined industry with a Black & Decker, cold hard steel, and the most powerful disinfectants available to the cold hard American consumer, can hope to clear them.
There have been cupboard-cleaning projects to tackle before Christmas. They were duly tackled, and a sort of blunt, stolid satisfaction achieved.
Large amounts of freezer space have been cleared and are getting filled up with holiday baking and such.
Things have been getting done. It’s good.
There have been almighty messes to clean up because the girls have taken to early morning marauding: shampoo and glitter on the sitting room carpet; pen-marks on the sofas; toys in the toilet; Toilet tissue and water floods in the sink; crackers, breakfast cereal and partially eaten tomatoes gaily strewn about the floors.
Ominous dun-duh-duh-dunnnnn words were uttered; quieter, darker words muttered; the idea of selling the girls and their toys as a job-lot on ebay was floated, and, pretty soon all marauding stopped…
I’ve not felt in the least bit dismayed when faced with the latest mighty mess or chore although I make the right groany noises for form’s sake. On the contrary, I’m actually fairly glad to have something mundane to do for a little while because I can’t concentrate on anything else.
I am that kind of Nazi parent who doesn’t allow TV on during the day and in the evening I have no interest in it either. I haven’t been inclined to blog much or even idly websurf. I can’t read for very long at a time as my concentration is spotty. So I do housework, take walks, and sleep. I could win rosettes and rare honours for Scotland with my ability to sleep. Other long-distance sleepers would marvel at my stamina, my tenacity, my Adidas-sponsored nightie.
None of this is associated with a particularly low mood, but rather with low energy. All I want to do is to put my head down, my back to some work, and tackle the day in the manner of a cloudy-brained bull at the plough.
In truth, I have a very easy, very lucky life compared to most, with happy children and a lovely husband. I’ve had a lot of satisfaction these last months just letting life wash and pool around me in grey mundane eddies and not thinking and over-thinking much. There hasn’t been the usual alarm at feeling like I’m “losing” part of myself, whatever part that might be.
I’m not complaining – I’ve felt worlds worse than this before and have friends going through all sorts of different, difficult situations. So I recognize my luck, I really do; I just wonder where I’ve gone. And will I be back? (I’ve learnt to assume so and that keeps me sane.)
And I’d quite like to be able to read a book again.
And it would be nice for everyone else if I wasn’t quite so dull to talk to. The children are the only people who have any fun with me lately. Socially, I don’t have anything of value to add to conversations and if I speak it usually serves to confirm that. I am a mentally lazy addition to any table with nothing beyond the trite, banal and glaringly obvious to contribute. Anyone in the Ojai area on a Tuesday could come to the bar where I play team trivia and, if they were to observe me, they would see a veritable masterclass in the saying of nothing, using words. The filling of the air with vacuous comments and attempts to go down conversational alleys, the points of which turn out to be just as recondite to me as to my unfortunate companions: conversation over. And then an observer could watch me giving up and getting drunk instead.
None of this bothers me that much, that’s the odd thing. I feel at a low ebb but not what you’d call miserable. It’s much as if the problemchildbride in me is on her hols leaving just the housewife shell.
This mood has never lasted such a long time before. A kernel of disquiet about its duration has been growing up in the last week.
I want to feel sharp again.
This is an almost impossible post to comment on so don’t feel obliged, chaps. It’s just what’s going on.
Happy Thanksgiving, America.