We dropped the flyer for the middle school orchestra concert between the bleachers and left the chicken on the refrigerator

I got so mad at the chicken I roasted I couldn’t even eat it. I started working on it at 2 PM but it wasn’t ready, and out of the oven, until just after 6, right when Lily needed to leave for her concert performance at school, which meant we all had to go, and I had to put the chicken on top of the refrigerator so the dog wouldn’t get to it, and that meant when we got home (after 8) there’d be all the cleanup, the chicken would be cold, the kids would have eaten cookies at the concert, so when we got back I went for the fridge for a beer and sat down, and pouted.

I thought about mincing the garlic and thyme leaves and zesting the lemon for the butter rub I put on the breast, carefully loosening the skin there, how it melted to a soft brown with attractive black spots where the skin got crispy, how I’d brined it for an hour in a sugar and salt soak (and hence part of the reason it took so long), the spring vegetables I arranged around the bottom of the pan, as if some invocation for spring itself: the asparagus, artichoke hearts, shallots and small potatoes I lovingly quartered and tossed in olive oil and sea salt…browned under the broiler while the chicken was resting, but no time for it: instead, off to the school, to hard bleachers in the back, stuck between middle school students bent on talking to one another through me and Dawn, through the row where we sat: dicking around with their phones taking pictures and drawing circles around themselves via some app, my occasional face caught on screen, and not good: stone-faced and pale, a lot of forehead, impossibly old.

Twice, thrice, I offered to Charlotte I could take her home. I saw that as an out. She, so pale and drained by it, the circles pink and purplish under her eyes, leaning into me and Dawn, and back and forth between the two of us taking turns, leaning: I said honey, do you need to go home? Because I could take you RIGHT NOW…but she insisted on staying, for the cookies.

And for as much as I like Classical music, and appreciate the scale of what they were doing, learning to play: the violas and violins, the bass and cello…there was no joy in it for me as I brooded on the chicken, imagining myself going for the fridge and cracking a beer, sitting down, letting go…freed of it, released.

I put the carving board on the floor for the dog before we left and she got it so clean it was dry, it still had some of the bees wax on it I used to condition it, I think…and Dawn and the kids sat at the table stabbing it with their forks, and the girls twirled and recited and reenacted scenes and I just sat off to the side with my beer on my back until it was time for bed, and then read Bukowski, and thought dimly the reason I felt so foul, so deeply upset and irritable was perhaps the fact I hadn’t written in two days, and for that I felt good, it meant I had to.


Categories: humor, parenting, writing

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26 replies

  1. interesting that you felt so ‘foul.’

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So great! I really enjoyed this. Felt like I was watching the scenes play out frame by frame. Glad your back! πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

  3. OMG –I’m typing too fast — I meant you’re back not your. Yikes- aroo!


  4. Yes, there are times when the things get in the way of the other things and all you can do while you do the thing is think about the other thing. This kind of thing happened regularly when my kids were younger. “But what about what I was doing?!” I screamed in my head all too frequently. Now that my kids are away at college, it happens all too frequently with the things my wifey thinks I should be doing instead of what I think I should be doing. πŸ˜‰

    And then there is the fact that when I was writing a lot more a few years ago, all too frequently I spent events enjoying them but also primarily occupying my head where the words of what I was working on revolved and cycled through as I thought about the work in progress.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That right there pretty much says what I was trying to Mark, thanks…that “there but not there.” Bill


      • Yep … there but not there. It was (and remains) something I really had no control over, but I look back to some of those situations and wish I could have controlled the old brain a little better. There were times when my kids deserved my undivided attention and they didn’t get it … and had no idea that they weren’t getting it.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I hear you, same can be said for other loved ones too, I bet. Alright knock it off now and go have a glass of milk and pet your cat or something.

        Liked by 1 person

      • lactose intolerant and haven’t had a glass of milk in more than 30 years. No cat, just two yappy dogs. But I do have a book I’m reading and feel the quiet time before sleep arriving. Go give your kids a hug and tell them you love them. If you haven’t already done so today. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here on your blog. It’s nice to know I’m not alone in some of these feelings.


      • Thanks we are here and not alone, good. Good advice, thanks for sharing and for reading. Nighty-night.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Ah, but think how tasty that chicken’ll be tomorrow, with a little extra time for that seasoning to soak in. Should be a cure for the blues.

    Now if only it would stop raining…

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wait, how long was that chicken unrefrigerated?!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. You let the dog lick the carving board? Is that correct?


  8. That sounds like a great chicken – no wonder you were so annoyed to miss it! Your frustration coms through very well! And getting a photo of you caught on a kid’s phone? I hear that – ‘impossibly old’ is the exact phrase that springs to mind when my son does the same to me. I love your thoughts on school concerts and the occasional yearning to escape – you have my sympathies πŸ™‚ I can feel that need to write too. There’s the odd day when I work long hours and might scribble in a pad but don’t get close to the laptop and they give me an itch, a frustration with the world for keeping me away from writing. And the pleasure afterwards of having the house to myself, being able to write … joy.
    You made me smile through this one Bill .Lovely post


    • Good, I am glad you relate. I was glad the fact I hadn’t write made me bent. That was one of the sources of it, at least. You’re a vegetarian I think, so glad you could imagine the tastiness of the chicken (or is that dark of me to say that?). Oh well, happy to make you smile. That’s the best.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Still sounded delicious, despite it being chicken! And getting frustrated when you haven’t written is a great sign I think – it’s a habit for us, a part of what makes us who we are. I love that about it. I remember reading years ago a creative writing tutor saying writing isn’t a 9 to 5 job and that’s spot on. Even when not writing, you’re thinking of stories, watching people, seeing inspiration around you. I even came up with a basic idea and a title for a kid’s book while asleep once. It’s twenty four seven.


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