Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Aaarrr, Nostalgia For Simpler Days

[Posted by reader_iam]

Update, Friday: I'm not exactly sure how this ended up back in draft, or when; I'm thinking I went in to correct a typo a couple of nights back or so and messed up. I noticed it last evening, but thought: "Well, it's definitely a timeliness-based post, so best to just let it go." However, inadvertently breaking links to sites that I really like has truly bothered me, and that, combined with a nice (though non-specific to this particular post) comment from a blogfriend inspired me to rethink. So posted back it is: Skip away, those so inclined.

Real start of original post:

I've got a bad pirattitude.

Being a parent is great and all, and there's no question but what my child is life's greatest treasure to me, but still, sometimes I long for the days when I could breezily ignore such inanities as International Talk Like A Pirate Day, which make me only wish I could walk the plank instead. How and why do other grown people get into this sort of thing? I'm not mocking, or being scathing: I genuinely don't get it. For me, it's like: Yo, Polly, you on crack?

Folks, I don't even like Halloween. Never did, past age 9, and no amount of candy could change that. (I don't mind handing it out to unlike-minded others, however; that's cool, though not nearly as much fun as squirting would-be Mischief Night vandals full-blast with my dad's power-wash hose, back in the day.) Apart from a couple of times in college (when it was about the free--altering substances), I've always managed to be "busy" when invitations to Halloween parties came in. Or any other party requiring a costume, for that matter. I've always gotten all the dramatic challenge I need wrestling with my own character/persona--and wardrobe, for that matter--without bringing other fantasy roles into it.

Parenthood, however, is all about making exceptions (and frequently entertaining fantastical notions, most particularly about oneself). Changing rules and habits of a lifetime. Assuming, if you will, the position.

This year, for example, I woke one morning from uneasy dreams to find myself transformed into The Room Mother. Shiver my timbers! I've barely got mother-to-one-child down, and now I'm supposed to Nurture A Room (and try to stay on the good side of 18 other mama lions). Trust me, in a small private school, the expectations attached to any involvement, much less this sort, make those in the public schools seem like a leisurely cruise in the deep blue sea. And, well, let's just say I don't exactly fit easily or neatly into the private-school milieu. But, since I have quite a bit of experience in organizing events and arm-twisting volunteers in one of my work areas, one of the just mentioned arm-twisted turned the tables and decided I was the perfect draft choice. Paybacks are a bitch. Plus, my kid was as high as a sail on the tallest ship-mast when he found out.

(Aside: Ever notice that I respond to stress by egregiously mixing metaphors? It's true: I do.)

Anyway, to get back to International Speak Like A Pirate Day: My son greeted me this morning with a cheerful, "Avast, me heartie! Ready to party?" To which I managed a heartfelt, pre-coffee: "Aaarrrgh."

I'm not a morning person, by the way, so that was no sweat. Pretty par for the course, in fact. Otherwise, though, I pretty much failed miserably (bad mommy! bad mommy!) to get into the spirit of things and engage in the expected pirate badinage.

Drowning in mother-guilt as I drove home from the school this morning, I swore a pirate's oath that I would not let him down this afternoon and evening. And thanked goodness for the Internet and Google, which I knew wouldn't let me down. Flotsam and jetsam in, flotsam and jetsam out.

While navigating the seas of pirate-related information, I noted that Lazy Gal has a much better attitude about all of this. (As noted, I'm more in the camp of Hog On Ice's Steve on this one--and, hell, he's working on a book about pirates.) She has posted some very helpful links about pirates, on which I am relying to get me through the rest of the day. I thank her, and my son thanks her, or he would, if he had the first clue about blogging, bloggers or the blogosphere (I do shelter him from SOME of life's darker sides, after all). I particularly found helpful the instructional video at Language Log.

As for the people who thought this holiday up? Well, with all due respect: "Damn yer eyes!"