I don’t think there was ever a time in recent history when I wasn’t running late. In fact, if I’m on time, you should probably assume something’s terribly wrong. I have problems with organization, with time management…okay, I have problems in general and what’s worse, I’m one of those people who continues to work under the misguided conception that I can outrun them. I’m like a bird. I want to fly away, thank you Nelly Furtado.
(If anyone knows of an airline hiring middle-aged SAHMs who generally don’t enjoy smiling, waiting on people or keeping calm, query no further, I’d make the perfect flight attendant.)
Yes; fight, flight, say goodnight, Gracie; it’s a miracle with wings, Delta, that I haven’t gotten pulled over yet with all the rushing about I do in my mom van. (And now I’m blindingly aware I just cursed myself, thank you. Enjoy a good laugh when I’m parked, shamefaced, on the side of the road, with one of Wilton’s finest asking, “Do you know how fast you were going, Ma’am?”, wishing I had not tempted fate and left 10 minutes earlier.)
I have a calendar. I have reminders. I have these little things called notifications but somehow the volume is never turned up and the screen is always turned down and suddenly I’m staring into the dark, swirling void of, oh right, the baby has his doctor’s appointment in five minutes… in Westport. I was never going to make it, even if I hadn’t run into… how many more trees are they seriously going to take down on Chestnut Hill Rd.? Are they chestnut trees? Can we call it Nonut Hill Rd. soon?
A normal person would have called the office. A normal person would have had the number or street address on her but for the life of me, the only thing I could remember was sweating profusely in front of the nice doctor who looked young enough to be Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate.
Instead, I called Jon, which in fairness is a little like calling an astronaut on the moon, mid-landing. It’s warm. It’s Spring. It’s Ambler Farm. Can he call the doctor? Can he find the number? Can he tell them I’m running late and would they please, please, please consider keeping the appointment still because I really, really, really don’t want to reschedule but I’m met with silence; chasm of the earth, darkside of the moon (he won’t see me there), crickets set to the sound of, Simon and Garfunkel. Doctor? Baby?
I was almost there. I mean, in theory I was, except really I was parked on someone’s patio. Clearly this was not the parking garage. Nevertheless, after a few wrong turns and wayward looks (I left a note about the lawn chair), we finally landed.
Three flights of stairs, one missing shoe, (mine, not the baby’s) and a potentially sobering moment when I was absolutely certain I’d locked my keys in the car, we were being “processed” and delivered to Dr. Hoffman, who despite his good boy charm and uncanny resemblance to Rain Man, might as well have been wearing a clown nose and carrying a chainsaw for all the screaming and nursing this quiet-a-minute-ago toddler was incited to partake in.
I tried smiling politely under the four layers of mask that had started to shift, obstructing my vision, causing me (again) to mistake this for a hot yoga class as he explained in a voice like Neil Patrick Harris’s that everything was essentially fine and that he would see us again in six months and only after he’d washed his hands, closing the door behind him did I realize I’d forgotten to put my boob away.
Let’s just say “the doctor will see you now” took on a whole new meaning after last Thursday.
I have this elaborate fantasy. It’s involved, detailed; sometimes it downright borders on delusional, if I’m being at all honest. I live in a condo. It’s clean. It’s white. We’re talking wall to wall here. There’s even an inground pool and workout room and okay, yes, I’m very much referring to the River Road Avalon. In this fantasy, my name is something exotic, like Esme and my husband listens to me and takes his shoes off and our children go to boarding school, in Switzerland. I drive a Saab. (It’s beige, in case you were wondering) and I’m always on time and I always have the notifications (and sound) turned up on my phone that I stay organized with and use with extreme ease because I save things like doctor’s phone numbers while killing time in the waiting room because I’m so early, looking like a young Anne Bancroft, surely with all the markings of a would-be flight attendant. I don’t speed. I don’t damage other people’s lawn furniture or drive up onto their patios or mistake the elevator for the bathroom or the temperature label for my name tag. I am calm, carrying on, like a flightless bird in a Chestnut tree.
But above all, I always, always, keep it in my bra.
Columnist Lesley Kirschner grew up quiet, in the woods, and devoid of siblings so her hobbies quickly became reading, writing, and talking to inanimate objects. She also spent a considerable amount of time doing voice-overs for her dolls and watching too much daytime television–channel 3, sometimes channel 8, if the weather was good and the antenna wasn’t acting up. She was in attendance at school, graduated from a very much not notable college not worth mentioning, and was transplanted to Wilton with her husband, Ambler Farm‘s Farmer Jonathan and their (baby makes) three children almost a decade ago. Although she never quite found her calling in life, other than perhaps the doll voice-overs, which in hindsight were eerily convincing, she’s happy to try her hand at writing and is thankful for the support and community she found on Facebook’s Buy Nothing Wilton. Lesley realizes while this is all very exciting, she’s not winning a Pulitzer so she’ll wrap it up and be quiet. She’s had a lot of practice.