A few blocks from the new apartment, there’s a restaurant I’ve wanted to try for some time now. It’s a combination diner and bar – which deserves to be on the male fantasy top ten alongside things like “nymphomaniac who owns a liquor store” and “Lamborghini with a gun turret.” (Who has an erection? Show of hands?)
Giant Camel was in town last week, so we stopped in for dinner the other night. It was magical. Decade-neutral décor, so we could have been in any time in the last 80 years. One of those ridiculously extensive diner menus – eight single-spaced pages and a specials insert, including such unlikely dishes as veal Milanese and Italian rum cake. Personal, just-for-your-table jukeboxes with an enviable selection of Motown. We got the dinner special – soup, an entrée, a vegetable and dessert, plus bread. I was with someone I love, I was a little drunk, and I was gorging myself to the sound of “Please, Mr. Postman.” You can keep your clouds and harps; heaven for me is the Marvelettes, fried seafood, and a BAC between .03 and .10. It was even my favorite weather outside: overcast with light rain.
“Giant Camel. You know what? Wouldn’t it be great if this diner was a spaceship, and we could…”
“Travel the galaxy, solving mysteries with the help of a talking pug?”
“How did you know I was going to say that?”
“I’ve known you for two years, and every fantasy you’ve ever describe to me ends with either the phrase ‘travel the galaxy, solving mysteries with the help of a talking pug’ or the phrase ‘now that I am king, Adrian Brody will gleefully submit to my advances.”
“You make me sound like a dangerously unbalanced man-child warped by sexual perversion and ‘Murder, She Wrote.’”
“…I love you?”
“You may love me, but when I’m king you and Adrian will OBEY me.”
Only one sour note marred my evening. It was the same sour note, over and over again. About twelve feet from us sat a family with a little baby who was screaming. He seemed content and was looking around the room with bright, interested eyes… but he was screaming, with the same “a-a-a-a-a-aaaaaaaaaa a-a-a-a-a-aaaaaaaaa” pattern as a garden sprinkler.
You all know that I’m six cats and a case of the menopause away from being a fussy old maid, so you won’t be surprised that I absolutely hate loud noises. I hate a lot of things, so it’s saying a lot that loud noises are in the top five. I inherited this from my mother, an agoraphobic pacifist and devout Christian who nevertheless once turned to me in a restaurant and said, “If that woman shouting behind us doesn’t be quiet, I’m going to slap her motherfucking face off.”
(“Do you ever write about your family?” “Oh, only my mother’s threats of violence and the imaginary affair between my father and my co-writer, who is 35 years his junior.”)
So, eventually the family took the child away, leaving me in peace with the reflection: My God, I don’t like children. I’ve spent the last several years saying unspeakable things on a regular basis (for example, “retarded,”) but somehow nothing really takes the wind out of people’s sails faster.
What I say: “I don’t like children.”
What People Behave as Though I Said: “I don’t like children, but I feel compelled to have at least five to ensure the future of the Glorious White Race. If they’re too expensive, I’ll just beat them until the state takes them away. Do you have a cigarette?”
I don’t hate children on a Herod scale and I like my baby cousins, but my paternal feelings are limited to dogs. Here’s why:
As discussed, children make loud noises. I would rather be in physical pain than hear a child fuss or cry. I can’t handle loud and/or sudden noises, period, paragraph.
I am a worrier. A man who has night terrors, who pays his bills weeks before they are due, who while cooking bends over repeatedly to make sure the flame hasn’t gone out and allowed the room to fill with gas, a man who every time he leaves a friend or relative thinks “well, they’ll probably die before long,” is too worried to have children. Sharp sticks, child molesters, SIDS, asbestos, juvenile arthritis, devil-worshipping rock and roll bands, Hare Krishna recruiters, bullies, girls who develop early, chemical weapons – all these can warp, kill, or maim a child before 10 o’clock in the morning. I’d be dead of a stroke before it was three.
I am a loner. If I had a child, I wouldn’t be able to be alone for years. Spending an entire day in my bathrobe watching “Murder, She Wrote” while eating grocery store crab dip and writing for the blog? GONE.
Oh my God, the fluids. I barely bother to clean up my own secretions. I don’t think I can wipe for two, to be perfectly honest.
I have the attention span of a
retarded developmentally disabled fruit fly. While writing this post I have:
- Gotten up to make bread
- Gotten a beer
- Put the beer back because I have to work tomorrow
- Decided to have the beer anyway and gone back for it
- Made bread
- Made corn
- Written “made bread” twice because I forgot I already said it
- Read a chapter of a murder mystery
- Set my alarm
- Watched an episode of “King of the Hill”
Is this a man with the wherewithal to raise a child until it was eighteen years old? Eighteen hours old?
I drink too much. Mix up your Tom Collins thermos with the child’s apple juice Thermos even once and it’s an “incident.”
I have weird opinions. “Class, who can tell us who our state’s governor is? Yes, Grace?”
“An inbred, glass-jawed shitsplat who should be making license plates in a Moldovan prison camp with a dozen live scorpions nailed to each testicle.”
“Class, who can tell us what the United Nations does? Yes, Grace?”
“Daily makes God regret allowing Noah to build an ark.”
I’m weird in general. My son would be the only six-year-old boy dressed as Lizzie Borden. Not for Halloween, just, you know. Out for the day.
I swear a lot for someone as polite as I am. The kids wouldn’t know which was which. “Would you be so kind as to give me a lollipop, you fucking prick?”
Let’s face it, I have a hard enough time interacting with adults. I call it putting the “Er…” back in “Asperger’s.” (Yeah, I went there.) This is how weak my understanding of human interactions is (tampon cannon, Dad): once, after a late night, I woke up in a friend’s guest room. There was a naked man in the room who, when he saw I was awake, got into bed with me. My first thought was, I swear to you, “Oh, I guess he’s cold.” I didn’t understand his intentions until they were… beyond apparent. (“He sure is friendly!”)
The secret, especially selfish reason I don’t want to have children is this. If I had children, they’d know they were going to inherit and not necessarily coddle me in my own age. If I dangle an inheritance over my baby cousins and make them compete to see who gives me to most comfortable living in my declining years… and then give it all to the NRA, I’ll totally get the last laugh!