The identity crisis I’m facing comes to bear most at the elementary school drop-off corral. We live in a rich area. People are in a hurry, late for yoga, conveying updates via mobile devices, voice-recognition apps, distracted, caffeinated, made-up.
I drive a 1990 Volvo station wagon. The back windshield wiper was broken off by one of our kids and now it’s just a mechanical nub. I have a bumper sticker that reads Guided by Voices. The muffler is sagging, prone to scrape over speed-bumps, requires I really slow down on low clearance areas to prevent sparks.
You’re supposed to pull forward in the drop-off lane and there’s a sign there, a well meaning sign, a sign that would have a fucking emoticon by it with a smily face that reads “Synergize.” In other words, don’t be a dick in your car at the drop-off corral.
There’s a gap between me and the next car I’m behind, and a woman in a large, black suburban wedges in front of me, her ass sticking out in the road. It looks like a car Arnold Scharzenegger would drive.
It’s fine, I kiss Lily goodbye and tell her have a nice day and pull out, to pass the suburban. I do, then stop to let a couple other cars glide out in front. See, I’m Synergizing.
But the woman in the suburban behind me is now pissed off and making faces. So I say Fucking Bitch: I say it to myself in the car, like I’m coughing something up, I have to get it out because it’s poison, a bad humour like phlegm or cholera. I say Fucking Bitch and realize she can read my lips in the rearview mirror and now knows who my daughter is, which is bad.
In fact, she has barked it into her phone at her yoga partner, make sure to save me a spot in the back by the heater…this like stoner in a piece of shit Volvo won’t get out of my way.
We fall asleep to the iTunes 2009 era Visualizer app, which throws pulses of light and dots flittering onscreen, reminds me of The Journey of the Sperm, some film from high school sex ed.
I go to the iTunes Radio to pick out an ambient station, and about 600 appear, with sub-categories like Chillout and Lounge and millions of variants thereof that all make me tired suddenly, like subscribing to The New Yorker, all this landing at my door I can’t make time for.
The woman in the suburban gets ahead of me and accelerates in that kind of Fuck You way when you pump the gas pedal down and the engine roars, and you feel dominant. She has that decal on the back window that everyone has showing the number of kids they have like badges, the kids are stick figures and waving “hi!” and she’ll speed to the yoga studio and run a couple stop signs, then park as close as she can to the entrance.
I am reading about marketing my writing and wondering if there is a market for ex-Punks raising their kids in the suburbs, trying not to fit in and stand out, instead. And can I have any kind of Punk cred whatever living here, falling asleep to Visualizer apps and Pat Metheny. And who started the trend with the decal stick figure families I want their head on a stick.