Friday, February 23, 2007

Deconstructing Dr. Seuss

I know I've mentioned La Dragon before. Nice girl. Enthusiastic drinker. Lives in Seattle. Look her up if you're ever in the area.

The interesting thing about us see, is that the majority of our relationship has been played out over the internet. We met in Florence in '94 where we studied with the same Junior Year Abroad program. She liked it. I did not. But we both liked the Chianti. We bonded over the Chianti.

After that year, we went back to our respective snooty New England colleges. We didn't really keep in touch. I heard about her through various mutual friends. She doubtless heard about me through similar channels. But that was about it.

I moved to Norway right after graduation. She got a job in Connecticut, I think it was. I seem to recall exchanging a few letters here and there--the old fashioned, written kind, which is sweet--but not much more. And then one day, about a year later, I got a phone call from her. She said she was moving across country to be with this guy she'd met, and she was really nervous about it, but he was swell, and her job wasn't that great anyway, and life is too short, and shit I'm probably crazy, but oh well, and by the way, how are you?

That was it. I was smitten all over again. I'm a total sucker for chicks who are willing to drop everything and run off to be with some boy. E-mail addresses were exchanged, and we started writing. Regularly. Daily, for a while there, back when neither one of us had anything better to do.

The point of all this is to say I have, stored on various hard-drives scattered about the house, seven years worth of correspondence between her and me. A handy little record of my life since moving abroad and starting a family. Last night as I was trying to move the bulk of the record off my old hard-drive onto my laptop, I came across the following account of a conversation I had with Mister four years ago. So charmed and amused was I upon rereading it, that I knew I had to resurrect it--clean it, polish it, publish it here.

The Scene: A snowy February morning. We're in the car: Mister is driving, an 18 month old Not-Quite-Yet-Elder Miss sits safely harnessed in the backseat, a moderately pregnant JEDA rides shotgun. We're on the way to a pre-natal appointment. I had just found out 3 weeks earlier that Boy's identical twin had disappeared, and having not yet felt any movement from the remaining fetus, I was visably nervous, preoccupied, and not in the mood for idle chit chat.

Mister begins out of the clear blue nowhere:

"Hey, ya' know that cat with the hat book?"

"Yeah." I'm not really paying attention, but I'm annoyed nonetheless that he got the name wrong.

"It really means something, doesn't it?"

"Waddaya mean?" I snap, not really wanting to encourage further discussion, but feeling like I need to be polite.

"Well, it's about learning to pick up after yourself. Right?"

"Sure, yeah, I guess that's the overall moral of the story." I'm feeling a little smug now because, DUH! Like obviously. How long did it take him to figure that out?

After a thoughtful pause, he adds, "And the cat--he's not really real, right? He', the naughty side of kids.....bad judgement when they're left alone to look after themselves. Maybe?"

"Um, yeah," I say, trying to sound like I've already given this a lot of thought, "That's right."

"So that makes the fish the good conscience," Mister surmises, clearly pleased with his insight.

"Right," I agree, a bit more interested now, "Like Jimminy Cricket!"


"Never mind," I mutter, wondering how I ended up hitched to a cultural simplton who doesn't even know who Jimminy Cricket is.

We stop for a red light. EM sees a dog, "Voff, voff!!" she shouts with glee.

"A doggie!, Yes, EM Good girl!" we say in unison--except his is in Norwegian.

"And that Thing One and Thing Two," Mister probes as the light turns green. This a bit slower, like he's just thought of this now, "They're the kids. Sally and the boy."

Holy shit! I think he's on to something here! I'm totally getting into it now, "Yeah! Yeah! And that big, red, wood box.....that's sort of like Pandora's Box kind of.....and once the id is set free there's really no telling what kind of trouble it can get you into unless you listen to the voice of reason....the fish, right.......and.....and..." Clearly I've lost him, "I'm sorry, dear, you were saying?"

"Nothing." He's pouting now because I stole his thunder.

"Come on. Tell me. This is interesting. What?" Feeling ever so slightly guilty for having interrupted his train of thought.

"No. That's about it. It's just there's so many layers to it. You don't expect it at first," He says, thoughtful again, "And Green Eggs and Ham....that's about not being afraid to try new things, right?"

"Well, sort of," I conceded, my straight face back on, "But it's mostly about S&M."

"Huh?! What?!!!!" He panics, and looks back at Emma to see if she's listening. She's not.

"Kidding darling. Just a joke."

With that, we lapse back into a comfortable silence. After a minute or two he starts singing at EM. And I go back to wondering if the baby died last week or the week before.

P.S. It's wrong of me to continue to mention excessive drinking as one of La Dragon's defining characteristics. It's not. She has many other fine qualities too lofty and rare to cover within the scoop of this meager rag. And she doesn't drink....that much.

P.S.S. You could have told me I had misspelled Seuss, Nan. I mean honestly.


La Dragon said...

JEDA, baby. You are too much.

(And when/where did you ever misspell "Seuss"? I don't remember that. Then again, I was probably DRUNK.)

Gae Wagstaff said...

yr're gonna run outta memry....

Jilly Baby said...

Speaking of cultural simpletons it's P.P.S and not P.S.S (it stands for post post-script). DUH!!!

And speaking of Dr Seuss, what exactly is "The places we will go" about? Does Mister know the answer???