Tuesday, August 26, 2008

a day i'll never have back...

this was one of those days...so full of promise, so much time stretching before me and so utterly wasted.

you know the kind of days where you go from task to task, doing a little of something here and little of something there, but finishing nothing. you drive to ikea. you find the stuff. although you are very focused (this is, after all, your SIXTH trip in 10 days), it still takes forever--mostly because you are unable to shed the cultural and societal pressure of following those damn arrows through in the right direction, not to mention the irresistible call of the meatballs. the line is long but that doesn't really matter because you have the world's worst queueing karma anyway, the cashier is slow and then a little suspicious when your addled brain accidentally tells him you have twelve shelf brackets when you really have fourteen. despite this, it still occurs to you that maybe it would have been easier to just move into ikea. because if you lived there, you wouldn't really have to worry about the check-out. plus, everything is so pretty! and very swedish! ;-)

on the drive home, the meatballs let you down and you crash hard (not literally, but almost), feeling very, very sleepy, so you have no motivation whatsoever to pick up any of the million tasks you were working on (lining drawers, hanging pictures, arranging books) before you embarked on the ikea mission. and then you have to take husband's oldest child, who is suddenly mad for bonsai trees to the plant school where you needed to go anyway to get dirt to repot the very tall palm tree you bought for the addition in ikea. you drag yourself through this as though there is lead in your shoes.

you make a coffee. it doesn't really help. you go into the dining room where you see that husband has actually removed a bunch of the books you so carefully arranged yesterday and you try not to cry because he is just trying to get the new shelves in place correctly. but it seems a little overwhelming. they send you to get pizza for dinner because let's face it, you're not in the frame of mind to make any dinner. then you remember that you have a parents' meeting at the school this evening. so you know that this day is now completely a wash-out.

the first bit of the parents' meeting is good--it's interesting to hear what the teachers have to say. they give an overview of what's on the agenda for second grade, aside from some worrying statements about a subject called "christianity," you think it sounds pretty ok. you spend a few minutes having a conversation with yourself in your head, reminding you that they have such a subject in a country where there is a state church rather than a separation of church and state. you make mental note (and actual note in little black book) to discuss the subject with sabin and encourage in her a healthy skepticism.

your mental reverie wanders to the difference between the two second grade teachers. one is a traditional teacher-type--a little bit hippie-agtig (that's one of those danish words that's just better than "ish") in clothes she made out of hemp fibers she wove and dyed herself (or so you imagine--it is your reverie, after all). the other in a tailored white blouse, smart jeans and an expensive haircut--still looking every bit the lead stewardess flight attendant she was before she became a teacher.  you're a little bit glad that your teacher is the former flight attendant. she looks like someone who belongs in business class and seems like someone who would keep a cool head in an emergency. tho', of course, you hope there aren't any of those in the second grade.

then, the meeting breaks into the two classes and out comes the cake and coffee.  you gaze around the room. these public institutions are very alike--they have curtains of a certain pattern that can only be called offentlig and they all have designer arne jacobsen chairs. you try to focus, but it's a lot of talk of planning obsessively some picnic tour next may. that's may 2009. you have difficulty focusing on such discussion as you have no idea what you'll fancy doing tomorrow, let alone may 2009. you can't commit to that date.  you think, wow, this discussion is really danish. is there no viking spirit left in these people? the vikings surely didn't obsessively plan the raping and pillaging months and months ahead. they just packed up the boats and rowed away when the wind was right.

then came the great risengrød discussion (it's a christmasy rice porridge) and for the past two years, we've had an evening where we all eat it together and make christmas decor. i think we may have decided to do it again, but by then i was heavily into fox-like thoughts of chewing off my own arm in attempt to escape.

then there was the great homework discussion, during which it transpired that there wasn't really too much homework, but the kid of the one who brought it up was just really, really slow.

i amused myself by going around the room and making a mental note of which newspaper each person/couple was. i have a theory that you can tell by looking at people, especially danes, what newspaper they read. there were 2 politiken couples, one jyllands-posten, possibly 2 berlingske (including myself), no information (unless i include myself again and it doesn't really count because it's my auxiliary backup newspaper) and the rest (read: overwhelming majority) were either BT or extrabladet, which are arguably NOT newspapers at all. i told myself that this internal dialogue was anthropological in nature and definitely not elitist snob in nature. but by then my brain was mush and i might be a little bit wrong about that.

anyway. tomorrow is another day and the new version of my list, while still long, shall be done tomorrow. wish me luck!


d smith kaich jones said...

Oh my God! I needed this wonderful, wonderful, WONDERFUL bit of story telling so bad - I have been laughing my rear off (for which I offer a very sincere thank you!). Yes, I know those days - I've been having a few right in a row, but magically! - I do believe you have broken that spell of yuckiness because this VERY MOMENT the ever-wonderful Michael just called & said hey, let's take tomorrow off & go out on the barge & just do nothing. To which I readily agreed. I am on my way to put a sign on the door.

LOVE this post.
:) Debi

Monica said...

Dearest Sister,
Isn't it Haruki Murakami who brilliantly goes on and on in Wind Up Bird Chronicle about how wonderful it is that you get to choose your adult life? That, when we're kids, we don't get to choose, we're just born into whatever. But when we are adults, absolutely every feature of our lives is because of the choices we've made. And you, honey, chose the risengrød conversation at the elementary school with the wretched extrabladet readers.

I used to envy you. What happened?

Very nice writing. Your mind, scary as this may sound, wanders into similar obsessions that my mind does. Perhaps someone outside of blogspot should be publishing you.

julochka said...

debi--glad i could be of assistance. :-)

MQ--you're right, i did choose to BE there. i did, however, NOT choose the extrabladet set...they showed up on their own. i think it's good that the wandering obsessions of my (and your) mind are usually kept from the public at large. :-)

Barb said...

Wow, I thought I was the only one who had these types of days of total organized chaos.

Thanks for the post, it was fun, made me laugh til I nearly peed and made me realize that everybody has "those" kind of days. B

tangobaby said...

I guess by this point you must realize that we don't *want* you to have bad days (any more than we want them for ourselves) but we do want you to write about them if you have them.

I am sorry that even the meatballs did not provide you some solace, as I find that drowning sorrows in food is a lovely pasttime. And I think those meatballs are particularly delicious, even without the sauce in the packet (purchased separately).

I hope that Sabin will go through her schooling with the same sense of discernment as her brilliant mother!

julochka said...

Barb--so glad you found it funny, i wasn't sure it would be funny to others. my favorite bit is about the vikings. :-)

TB--the meatballs did provide temporary solace, but it was all-too-shortlived. (is that one word?) and then, because they must be loaded with carbs instead of actual meat, they totally let me down and i crashed. hard. and here in DK, they just spoon the sauce up right on them with a big old ladle. you must come and visit.

Elizabeth said...

The school part reminded me of last night. We had a klassefest. Everything was very Danish in EVERY sense of the way.