‘Most likely you go your way and I’ll go mine’

Raising a family in the suburbs on a consultant’s wages (2017)

We got up. Though it was a Saturday we were out of bed by 6. It was getting grayish out and I wanted to see it. There’s a soft fade in reverse, mornings here. There’s some quiet before the kids get up, I can sit in the den and suck down coffee, play music and not worry about the kids or work and burn incense instead, poke my head outside, suck up the fresh air and sounds, sometimes walk.

But then Charlotte came downstairs which you’d think would be nice and sometimes is but most times it’s not.

And Lily looks like a teenager when she appears and that’s its own look, which we’re not ready for.

And then the caffeine kicked in and I started slamming things and getting curt. I’m not sure how they dealt with me, or I with them. We had to be at the soccer field before 9 at some imprecise time and there was a variety of bad dialogue and fighting, and we wound up taking two cars but got some alone time which later Dawn agreed, was probably good.

And onto the soccer fields by Costco, at 9. The rain. The fields, the kind of fucking dark comedy here in the Northwest tromping around, sinking in. Kicking the ball up and down the field, watching it spin in the mud. All of us down-trod, looking the same. Everyone, trying to get out of the house on a Saturday like that. The ones who smile and say it’s no problem, they’re on meds. I do alcohol and coffee.

And standing there in the rain under the tent watching them run, feeling my phone buzz and pulling it out, looking at it. Thinking about lunch or what we’d do for dinner, getting a growler. Pulling out of the parking lot without saying goodbye to Dawn and still mad at each other from earlier, something about Charlotte and discipline and different opinions on that. Slicing onions, getting ready for the pork vindaloo. Apologizing to Dawn, and she to me (says she’s in a funk). No shit, look outside!

Driving to the BevMo! where they sell liquor and beer and wine and expensive nuts like it’s some gift shop at Disneyland, how they merchandise things. Coming home past the neighbor’s in his driveway standing there, wants to know if I can come over for a “cheeky beer” (the English).

And my pants the same from last Saturday’s soccer game I still haven’t washed, dried mud around the cuffs and me, greasy-looking and pudgy getting into them, soft. Vague headaches, needing a shave. Some verse I wrote on my phone on the trail, the knobby look of the trees with the moss and some cracked, leaning over from the snow last month and their root balls exposed, turned on their sides like floor lamps. The way it’s so quiet early morning with everyone getting ready for school or work and just me and the birds and squirrels out here making sounds: two ducks overhead and the sound of them touching down on a pond behind the trees, past a meadow with a rustic bench, it makes you calm just looking at it, the way a painting would. The high creek running and the deep, drumming sounds it makes when the water beats beneath the rocks—

Now the vindaloo is blooming and the smell of it in the house—cooks on 325 for two hours, dried spice, mustard seeds, red wine vinegar, sweet onions, garlic. Finish with cilantro, serve with rice. I put a record on and sat here with my bird’s nest hair and thought this isn’t as bad as it looks. Take a cold shower before they get home, get myself sorted, look for some art in the day…sun doesn’t set until 8.

Post title from the Bob Dylan song of the same name, 1966.

Painting credit, Albert Neuhuys, Middagmaal in een boerengezin.

Categories: humor, Memoir

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

9 replies

  1. Very much enjoyed reading about your Saturday!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m not a parent, so I get a lot out of your parenting posts. I get how important that den is. And the lake. And the bath tub. The garage. I think I really get it.

    But I also get the rain and mud and gray and what Dawn said. Spring is on the way, Daddy!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey I’m glad Kevin, thanks. I’d say “it’s all good” but of course it’s not, it’s life! I’m grateful for it all but it’s fun and important sometimes for me to capture these chaotic moments, it’s all part of it. Thankful you read and engage with it, that’s cool. Time for another long walk, think I got time for that still. Enjoy your Sunday and hope it’s restful. Bill


  3. I too need that quiet time with coffee, alone with my thoughts (and my ever-present dog) before any human should approach me. Enjoyed your story,.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You make my Saturday mornings, leaving at 7:45am for orchestra practice look like a dream gig. I get a lot of writing done, buy overpriced coffee and get to hear some good music. So glad my child hated soccer. On the other hand, silence at home has become a precious commodity – most of the time the air is filled with experimental viola, violin or piano music. It’s pleasurable at hour 1, unendurable by hour 4. Thank goodness for spring and outside chores.

    Liked by 1 person

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