Everything has changed. Life as I once knew it, and gladly grumbled about, is over. I no longer get to complain the way that I once did. Now it would only seem like I was being an ass and that I am somehow less than grateful for this little "miracle of sleeplessness" of ours. Now I am expected to smile and agree that I am finally, once and for all, a happy man...
I am to smile gladly while giving my life over to that of another. To sweeten the Christ-like sacrifice that I am making, the child that I am doing it all for is completely oblivious to my sacrifice and greatly prefers his mother to me, so far. People the world over spend their nights praying for just this sacrifice to also bless their own lives. Not men, so much, I would imagine, but women. Rachel has blossomed wonderfully in all of this. I have withered. The lack of sleep has dulled my mind, made me become difficult and problematic in conversation, confused even. I have been reduced to a babbling bleary-eyed pile of fatherhood.
My friend, L, asked how everything was going.
"Even in all of my years doing drugs, I have never been so exhausted from doing nothing at all. "
"You are doing The Lord's work.", she joked.
"Doing drugs is The Lord's work?"
"No, it's not."
Everything is a challenge, even using the bathroom. Just getting to the toilet seat is a several-stage process. We used to have toilets, now we just have additional places to stack things. There is always something that must be moved now, always from one temporary place to another. Never being certain if it will cause a later catastrophe, we spend our days moving stacks of things from here to there and back again. It is all part of the wonderful cycle of life's laundry. My clothes will never be dirty again. The child spits up on itself on such a regular basis that its little outfits are in perpetual need of washing. Rachel, mindful of the world's resources as she is, will wash whatever of my clothes happen to be around also, to conserve energy. Soon all of my clothes will be the color and fragrance of infant bile.
Yesterday we went into Santa Rosa to get some things done. Santa Rosa is like one of the more exhausted outer-areas of many cities everywhere: dense with prostitution, pawn shops, abandoned strip malls and out-of-luck fellows wandering the streets that need $6, for gas, to get to work. There is a road in Santa Rosa where you can find motel after motel after motel, still somehow magically in business, seemingly from the 40's or 50's. If the word "architecture" can be used as a descriptive device to apply to these places then it could be said that they all share a certain "Bates" design quality to them. There is a grim functionality to their single-storied arrangement and each unit's relationship to the parking lot, specifically to the parking spot directly in front of each unit's window. With no highway in sight these quaint places inexplicably survived the urbanization of America.
There was one called "The Flamingo" that still boasted a tower of sorts, advertising and announcing its apparent luxuries to the world. Rachel and I surmised that the only thing these motels might be good for was a day spent smoking crack in relative peace from outsiders. With the lock on the door quadruple-checked who knows what self-made joys might be discovered while on the sudden rising high of delicious crack cocaine.
Wait, crack was merely a sideline conversation. It only explained the possible success of these motels, you see...
Let's get back to doing errands:
All errands are now multiplied in number by 4. If Rachel says we have a "couple" of errands to run, and a couple means a pair, or two (2), then that means that we have 8 things to do as 4 x 2 = 8, silly. I've started to figure out that the only way for me to get things done that I want or need is to add them to our list of errands. Rachel is not a woman to be bested in this way. So, she will then slyly add a few more on to the list until our list of errands has grown octopus tentacles and has our entire family in its hungry clutches. The bubbles rising towards the surface as our amphibious Volvo station wagon descends into the oceanic watery depths of assignments, just like the now defunct 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea ride at Disney World.
Afterwards we need to eat. A woman who has just given birth is not be joked with on this subject. I begin to wonder if I'll ever see my bed again. Not that it would matter, there are stacks of towels, clothes and infant paraphernalia all over it, meticulously arranged there, almost threatening me to disrupt its obvious order when we finally get home, with the day's errands now safely behind us.