If you are suffering from Sunday malaise or something like it, let me recommend browsing through the archives of Improv Everywhere. Best known for staging mass depantsings on the NY subway, and originally given to staging events that were small in scale and a bit mean, they have over the last eight years inclined more and more towards the exuberantly bizarre and happy making. The Welcome Back stunt is a nice example, I think. I like to watch the video of the recipients being extremely puzzled but, it seems, genuinely enjoying the strangeness. It's cheering.
This small guinea pig story is also cheering.
The achy neck, scritchy throat, and strangely pressurized skull currently afflicting me are surely mere side effects of the flu shot I received on Saturday, not a sign that it came Too Late. Right? Right.
I think I had better have some tea.
While I do, let me tell you a story, or rather two proto-stories, about how my dad was very good at responding to the whims of a small child. Both took place in the car, as he was driving me from school or nursery school, probably to come hang out at his office.
He was, as I've mentioned, a secretary. Specifically, he worked in the music department of a university with quite a good music program. His office and the area just outside, which had a lovely enormous wood table to lounge on, were pleasantly full of students who found me a novelty. Taped to the door was a mystifying cartoon about something called an SAT. There were chairs with wheels on and a typewriter on which I was allowed produce pages of gibberish to my heart's content, while my father met with people and filled out forms on another typewriter, and arranged things on the phone. It was a nice place to visit.
Anyway, in the car. I was four or five. One day I announced that I would like to live in a mobile home. I had got some ideas from watching Sesame Street. It would be so much more fun, I said, to go to school in our house.
"Oh but," said my dad, "look at that sign. It says that only vehicles of a certain weight can drive on this road. A mobile home weighs more than that. We couldn't drive you to school at all if we had one of those."
"Oh! Never mind then," said little me.
Another day I suggested that we should get a llama. (There was a bit on Sesame Street about a girl who took her pet llama to the llama dentist, apparently in a basement office somewhere in Manhattan.)
"You don't want a llama," he said. "They spit."
"Ooh, you're right, I don't! Never mind," said me.
What good parenting. No wonder I came out so well.
It was so long ago that he died. He never knew me as an adult or even as a full-fledged adolescent, and that of course goes both ways. I only ever knew him from a child's point of view. So generally, as I go through various grown-up rites of passage, I don't exactly wish he could have been there to see them, because it's so distant.
Of course I think about what it would have been like to know him that way, growing up, and how I would have liked that. It's just not "I wish he were here for this." But thinking about what life will be like with a baby in it is different. After all, I was a baby, and a little girl. I remember the latter, if not the former, and suddenly he's not distant at all.
I'm terrified of what it would be like if Steve died as young as he did. Please don't do that, Steve.
Dammit! This was not where I intended to wind up when I started writing. What was in that tea? I'd better go find a subway to take my trousers off in.