It's my responsibility as a crone
To nag the young and besotted
Now that I’m careening toward middle-age, I’m developing a reputation of being pushy with young people, specifically when it comes to their life plans and romantic relationships. Just ask my sweet baby bro, who will barely share anything with me for fear of unleashing a torrent of my aggressive, unsolicited advice. (Can’t blame you, Sammy!)
Nearly 13 years married, I feel like it’s my responsibility, as a crone, to tutor the youth and encourage them to stop waiting around and get married already. Please, just do it. What are you waiting for? To move in together? To get your “career established,” whatever the hell that means? To see if you’re really a “good fit”? To get “more financially stable”? That’s all bluster. We had about $300 to our names when we got married. We mostly ate rice and beans for years, subsisting on my tiny salary, while Guion wrote poems all day, and we were incandescently happy. I’m so thankful we didn’t wait 10 years, till we were in our early 30s, set in our ways and comfortable with our wealth. Marriage would have been a lot harder then.
My little chickadees, you did not ask for my opinion, but it’s far better to go forth now, take the vows of matrimony, while you are young and stupid. Your life will unfold in tandem. You will grow toward each other; you will form each other; it will be hard and beautiful. It will be harder and less beautiful if you wait till you “have everything figured out.” Because, spoiler alert: You never will. You may wait forever. As poet Jack Gilbert says, anything/worth doing is worth doing badly.
I never believe people (mostly women) who say they love salad. My mom and sisters like to say this: I’m really just craving some leafy greens right now. I’m not kidding; this absurd sentence comes out of their pretty little mouths on a regular basis. And they look like they crave leafy greens; they’re all very hot, hale, and hearty. But I don’t believe them. I don’t even understand the sentiment. I’ve almost always been disappointed by a salad when it’s presented to me as a main course. I like a bit of salad, on the side, as a palate cleanser. But as the main event? It makes me sad.
The strangeness of our children becomes apparent to me when we’re with other more normal kids. All kids are weird in their own way, but wow, we made two extremely strange urchins. The elder looks like a deranged cosmonaut in all photographs and spends a lot of time curled up under heavy blankets with books and “being a soccer player/knight who slays dragons.” The younger has blatant disregard for the bodily autonomy of others and wants to HURL, really hurl, all heavy objects that fall into his sticky grasp.
I don’t think these children necessarily come as a surprise to anyone who knows Guion and me, but I did expect them to hew a bit more toward human-child averages, in terms of personality and behavior. I expected, I suppose, that they’d be predictable. And maybe this is not strange at all; maybe this feeling, in itself, is extremely normal for parents to have.
Outline, Rachel Cusk
Saving Time, Jenny Odell
The Song of the Cell, Siddhartha Mukherjee
The Peregrine, J.A. Baker
An Immense World, Ed Yong