Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The 'Club'

As a 34-year-old commitmaphobic train wreck, I’ve sworn off reproduction. Why pass on all sorts of neuroses to my offspring? And besides, kids, for the most part, annoy me. I don’t think their bratty antics are cute or squeal-worthy. I don’t feel the need to hover in a circle around a coworker’s newborn. And I can’t relate to anecdotes about how endearing they are. Exception to the rule: My three BFFs’ adorable children who I TOTALLY LERVE and brag about as if they are my own.

So last week, I was called upon to babysit one of my Bff’s newborn. Despite the fact that I'm the last person on Earth who should be trusted with a child (kidding), I accepted with delight. It started off easy enough. I met my friend close to a park on the Upper West Side, and was told that all I had to do was wheel the little angel around in her carriage for an hour while my friend attended an appointment. I started off down a tree-lined path when suddenly I noticed something weird. Whereas usually New York City residents walk briskly by with barely an acknowledgement, I suddenly had like 40 new friends.

It all started when the baby began to cry and I lifted her out of her carriage to comfort her. Two women immediately approached with a pair of golden retrievers and hovered.

“What a beautiful baby,” one gushed as I smiled proudly, as if the mother.
“Thanks, isn't she?” I said smugly (any attention is good attention!).
“How old is she?”
Oh shit! I froze, trying to calculate the weeks since she’d been born. “Errmmm…”
“You don’t know how old your baby is?” The woman said, her eyes suddenly narrowing. Uh oh. I was a bad mother.
“Ugh, fine. She’s not mine. I’m just the babysitter,” I said, crestfallen.
“Oh. Well still, she’s gorgeous. Soulful eyes.”

I continued down the path where similar incidents occurred. Everyone and their mamma literally crawled out of the woodwork to greet me, smile, coo and wave. I’d become a part of some strange sect. The Mother’s Club.

“How old?” one mother barked, turning her own baby to face me so that I could size it up and provide a compliment. “Looks just like you,” another one said as I shouted thanks, hijacking my friend’s reproductive success. When the baby cried, I got looks of sympathy, shrugs and eyes that said, “I know what it’s like.” Even the preggos wanted to be my friend, smiling at “my” baby and rubbing their bellies in anticipation.

When the baby started to cry again, I took out a bottle and fed her. As she slurped down the milk, an old man approached. My faux mother brain instantly thought: friend or perv?

“Did ya get enough gin in there to get that kid to quiet down?” he asked. I couldn’t help but laugh.

As the hour began to wind down, and she was still crying, I knew I had to go where I’d never gone before. The diaper change. Frantically searching through the diaper bag (root of all evil and clutter), trying to get the protection pad under her butt, and unsnapping her little outfit, all without staining anything, had me in a panic. I actually had to remove my jacket, as I was sweating. I had no idea what the etiquette was for changing a child. The club members passed me with sympathetic nods.

Finally I picked her up by the feet and hung her upside down like a Thanksgiving turkey. As I cleaned her, she smiled away, ignoring my poor technique and probably just happy that I finally figured out she didn’t want to lie in her own poop anymore.

Alas the babysitting session ended and I reluctantly handed her back to her mamma. I felt like we’d been through a lot together and thought for a split second…maybe it would be nice if…but alas, I quickly regained my sanity and happily resumed my position as faux aunt rather than future mamma.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Clamor in the Garden

The other day, as I was sitting at work pondering why the men in the office seem to use the bathroom (which is directly in front of me) so frequently, I couldn’t get this catchy tune out of my head. “Party baby, get on the dance floor, cos partly maybe, I wanna dance with you…” along with an intoxicating mix of instruments and sounds. WTF could it be? The last time I was in the music “know” was in college when I swayed to Pearl Jam and the like in my flannel grunge shirt and ripped jeans while trippin’ on shrooms (Just kidding, Mom). Living in Spain for ten years may have broadened my horizons, but it dampened my music taste, as only crappy American songs made it over there. Mysteriously, Dire Straits was HUGE among young folk (must be a David Hasselhoff in Germany phenomenon).

But I digress. It suddenly occurred to me where the song came from. It was the Subterraneans—my brother’s band—a cool fusion of indie rock and poetic rap vocals. He’d recently played me the demo of his new album, Clamor in the Garden (Pollen Records) and it was literally implanted into my head "Inception" style. (You can buy it here on itunes, mmmkay?)

Anyone who knows the Subs, and believe me, I do, knows that their music is hypnotic, intense, chill, inventive and intelligent. Rather than the “F Yo Mamma” style of rap, the word mincing is amazing. Here’s an excerpt from my fav of all time, “Climbing, Falling” from The Now That It’s Sinking In EP:

When you’re climbing…
And your face is in amazement and the pace of finger placement all relates to how you chase things
But when you fall…
Everything gets assorted, so when it hits the floor you need to sort it

Clamor In the Garden differs from the Subs’ first two albums (A Bellow Below and The Now That It’s Sinking In EP) in that it’s a bit faster paced and even more inventive then the first two (there's one song that has a country influence. Country and rap you say whilst wrinkling your nose in disgust? I swear, it works!) My fav songs on the album are: “Partly Maybe” and “Beautiful Encounter.”

So for the love of Hasselhoff, buy the freakin album—and while you’re at it, spread the word to anyone else you know who would like to rid the world of the Biebers and the Jonas and the Montanas and all the other crap that the young whippersnappers call music these days!