Camel-hair pizza

“Count me in,” said the reply that beeped in on my phone. Our last-minute Friday afternoon invitation was accepted by our friends a few houses away, almost as quickly as it was delivered. They showed up, most welcome, soon after.
That the invitation was for pizza and beer may not have been the determining factor, I realized later.
By Friday, it can feel the way the camel does just before the proverbial last straw lands. Just getting through the week is an accomplishment, an exercise in extended exasperation. After all of the practices, play dates, homework, hasty dinners, laundry, meetings, and extracurricular activity, something has to give. What gives usually turns out to be my willpower. That last evening of the work week is a blessing and a curse.
I don’t remember our parents having this kind of trouble. It all seemed easier for them when we were kids. My wife and I both especially remember a lot of parties, lots of friends, cocktails, freedom, conversation to the wee hours. Not for us, we have to schedule everything months in advance. All of the conflict, without the style. We obviously prefer doing things the hard way.
But, they couldn’t order pizza online, so that’s something.
20140420-121450.jpg Willpower aside, it’s worth the opportunity to sit with grown-ups over a pint. Even at that place in our lives where we don’t have many conversations not involving children or work, others in our orbit have the same problems. Such evenings can be fun, since those couples are just as happy to speak grown-up as we are. The only issue can be finding something else to talk about that everyone has had time to absorb. Who can make room in their day for baseball, politics, celebrity gossip, technology, craft beers, religion, books, social issues, new recipes, or local annoyances? God bless Flipboard.
It makes me wonder why we bother (it also gives me a clue as to how interaction promotes the exchange of ideas, similarly to how professionals and creatives collaborate – how any two modern people at the same happy hour could happen to have the same thoughts is a mystery). Although, conversation for its own sake can be good for the soul, or something like that.
The kids at least distract each other. It’s magical, but it always strikes me as odd that when it’s just us, nobody can do a blessed thing for themselves. As soon as one other kid is over, it’s like we’re not here.
Not that I mind. They find ways to keep themselves busy, at varying levels of volume, making things easier. And my two-year-old, Pinball, now understands most of what his older siblings do, so all the kids included him in their activities.
For most of the evening. During a fridge run, I checked on everyone playing in our basement and discovered him off by himself, coloring so enthusiastically with a permanent marker that he striped our new carpet.
You could almost hear the camel howl a few houses away.

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