Years ago I read an article that addressed the amazing ability of the ‘Friends’ characters to always have enough time to go to work, sit around a coffee shop for hours, have incestuous relationships with each other, do their laundry and sleep enough to wake up looking like, well, the cast of Friends. The writer referred to this seemingly impossible phenomenon as “Time Porn.” I attempted to find said article via Google in order to acknowledge the author, but you can imagine the results when I typed in “friends” and “porn” as search terms. So you’ll just have to believe me.
Time porn is only too common on TV. But here in suburbia, I barely have time to change my Facebook status before I’m schlepping breakfast, making lunches, ending sibling altercations, answering telemarketer calls, tossing the recycling in the bin, wrestling a ponytail elastic away from the dog and getting Thing 1 and Thing 2 to school. And no, I didn’t forget to add “getting myself beautiful,” because that doesn’t happen. Most days I look a lot like the other stay-at-home moms I see on the blacktop – lowest common denominator. I haven’t quite arrived at the male “sniff it and see if it’s still wearable” stage, but I’m close.
That said, my dismal uniform is utterly perfect for blogging, and that makes me happy. Not as happy, say, as having Rachel Green hair upon waking, or a freezer full of Tanqueray, but it’ll do for now.
Only thing is, back in my idealist, I-want-to-be-Margaret-Laurence days, I’d always imagined myself as Morag from The Diviners, living and writing blissfully in my isolated riverside home, putting the vintage teakettle on to boil, using a beat-up Underwood typewriter, and enduring only the interruption of gulls squabbling over bread crumbs outside. Here at my current homestead, this is time porn. Even now, as I sit here, I’m competing for brain space with the sound of Transformers playing not ten feet from me. Yesterday there were six kids in this house, apparently competing to see who would go hoarse first, when they weren’t begging for food. I almost never get dinner ready at the same time for more than two consecutive days. Last year’s kid school work is still neatly packed away in a box, waiting for the discard/keep ritual I’d planned to tackle July 1st. I haven’t printed off a digital picture since sometime in 2009. My dentist tells me I grind my teeth. Hmm. A few steps away yet from where I thought I’d be as a writer.
The author Virginia Woolf really ripped us off, taking her watery leave so soon. Back in 1928, she’d been asked to give talks to women’s colleges, which led to the publication of A Room Of One’s Own in 1929. Znaimer’s Idea City and the recently-popularized and (excessively) reposted TED (Technology Entertainment and Design) talks can’t compete with how cutting-edge this chick was, over eighty years ago. She told the girls that poverty sucked the life out of creativity, that women needed freedom, education and cash in order to produce artistic work, that one needed to defy outdated ideas of female ‘propriety’, and of course, that we need ‘a room of our own’ if we are to be able to write.
Well, Ginny, I don’t have a lot of cash, but I have enough to cover the ISP bill and a bottle of Tanqueray. I have a few hours free most nights, a university degree (it’s in Sociology but no one here minds, right?), and I’ve never much cared for what the Moral Majority regards as proper girly conduct.
So I don’t have the room of my own. Who wants perfection? Someone pour me a G & T. I have to get to work.