Musings and Mirth
And then there is the matter of home. It didn’t really hit me until last night how homesick I am. I started to panic for the first time because I realized that my little girl is at home feeling a sense of unwanted independence for the first time herself. I was such a scared kid growing up, with many opportunities to feel the panic of having been left, that I was determined to never have her feel that way. This is probably why I did not let her go for a full two weeks after she was born. I did not even put her down — oh maybe I did when I had to change her diaper.
Since then, she has been with me almost every day of her life, give a sleepover or two here or there. Never more than two nights has she been away from me. And so these ten days have been hard on her. Good for her ultimately, I think, because she is growing up. She’s 12 and that’s old enough to start feeling independence. I am not worried about her nor do I feel the need to rush back and “rescue” her. That would send the message back to her that she can’t handle it. She CAN handle it. She’s a strong and capable girl.
Being at Cannes is like uncorking a bottle of champagne. It maybe spills over a little bit, tastes sweet and pungent. You feel like you’re a part of a party just because you’re drinking it. It is cause for celebration and yet it is its own thing. I feel out of sorts in a way, but in another way, totally at home. I could do this permanently. Well, if it weren’t for the fact that I miss my child too much. That is the part of it I don’t like so much.
I have spent many days away from Los Angeles and California and I always find myself not just coming back – but anguishing over not being around my own cozy little corner of the world. I have Los Angeles in my biology somehow and that too is a fact.
I am sitting in my room at my affordable, charming B&B at 4am because, typically, jet lag hits the second day. I just can’t sleep. So I figured I’d sit up, turn on the light and use the quiet, coffee-less hours to get some work done. These are long days, covering the Cannes film fest. Long days, clockless, timeless days. I came in at midnight and so that means I’ve had four hours of sleep, if that. Part of the problem is that someone came through the upstairs and made lots of noise, waking me up. Once up, I couldn’t drift back down.
World’s worst plane flight from Chicago to Zurich had me crunched in like a sardine with no leg room, no way to sleep and a flight wherein I had to sleep because come the next day I would be dragging all of my over-packed luggage down La Croisette looking around like a bumbling tourist. “Where is the place where you get the thingys?” And then dragging my too-heavy luggage up the street to find the place where I’ll be staying.
The Zurich airport, and the Swiss in general, are quiet people. It’s a quiet and well-mannered culture, I’m finding. Or perhaps I am just imagining it. It’s always strange to be in Europe with the oddly pronged outlets and the toilettes, all that smell curiously of the sea, even if the sea is miles away.
I’m already blinded by lack of sleep and am hoping the next three hours and subsequent flight to Nice go decently.
Sitting in Chicago O’Hare. It’s a giant airport. It’s like a BIG city. I swear it was about five miles to the terminal in which I now sit waiting for my connecting flight to Zurich on my way to the Cannes film fest. It occurs to me only now that I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing and no business pretending as though I do. But we forge ahead now that we have the room, the flights, the babysitter. But speaking of which, I really thought I was a brave person until I had to say goodbye to the kid. I really miss the kid.
And I know that I’m supposed to not miss her because I’m “working” and she “understands.” But I worry and I fret and I have the dreaded separation anxiety. I know that I need to drop that like a bad habit because cut-to – she’s 35 and won’t leave the nest.
Incidentally, I keep hearing the following things over and over:
The threat level is at orange. Do not leave any bags unattended or they will be collected by the Chicago Police Department.
The city of Chicago would like to remind you to cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Please ensure you wash your hands after you cough or sneeze.
I feel lucky I’m doing neither.
Mother’s Day is the day we’re supposed to, as a people, spend money to, as Charles Foster Kane once said, “buy things.” We do this to prove our love because somewhere down the line we were taught that buying stuff equals love. We have to buy something for each and every holiday and that ensures, somehow, that we’ve proved how much we love and appreciate our mother, our lover, our secretary, St. Patrick, our kids on Halloween. Love equals stuff. Stuff you buy.
Good thing? Bad thing? Who can say. We are not here to judge. We observe and that is all. Oh, what the hell. Let’s judge. What I hate is how if you don’t buy anything it’s taken as a symbol that you don’t care.
I appreciate my own mother and appreciate her more and more as I wade my way through the bucket of shit that can be life at times. My mom was and is a fighter. I have no doubt that she would have survived the Titanic, even if she’d been one of the poor people trapped down below. There is no way she would have been refused. She is a force of nature in all ways.
No one curses like my mother. I woke up this morning thinking of one of her favorites, “what in the fuck?” She of the cocksucker motherfucker variety of swearer (curser?), she never filtered herself from her children in any way, really. She swore wildly and often all through my childhood.
She was a beautiful young girl who grew up too fast, so fast that she really forgot to grow up. What she lacked in education: a high school drop-out, pregnant at 16, a mother at 17, and three more kids before the age of 25 – she made up for in hard work, dedication and a drive to succeed and survive at any cost. That thing my mom has, that thing that pushes her every day, is the thing about her I admire the most.
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