Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Slut Cabal

“Omigod, Tom, that is SO funny!”

That was my introduction to Jenny, one of the moms in my son’s Early Childhood Family Education class.  Because the kids are so young, the moms—I’ve never been in one of those classes with another dad—and I stay for the entire hour and a half.  We play with the kids for the first half of class and then separate, going to a room across the hall where we drink coffee and, if it’s a good group, vent about our damn kids or, if it’s a bad group, give each other nurturing support and positive reinforcement.  Oh, and there’s a Parent Educator who teaches us stuff we already know.

Back to Jenny and her voice, just the thought of which will now bring me close to tears.  I am unhappy to report that Jenny turned out to be a part of a group of three; three moms who already knew each other well and who all talk and think like Jenny—I call them, “The Slut Cabal”.

Members of The Slut Cabal say things like, “Omigod, Tom, that is SO funny!” instead of laughing.  And they hover over their kids; they are Helicopter Moms.  Granted in ECFE classes parents are supposed to play with their kids.  We’re supposed to get involved in all the activities and ask them over and over, “Did you put the red ball in the red square? Good job!”  But only assholes actually do that.  The rest of us are there for the break.  We do all that shit at home, we don’t need to do it at school too.  The one place I can take my kid and he’ll somewhat leave me alone and I’m supposed to talk to him like a Sesame Street character?  Thanks, I’ll pass.  But I’m not such a curmudgeon that I put someone in a slut cabal just for playing with her kid.  Members of The Slut Cabal don’t just play with their kids--they go apeshit every time their kids do anything.  Do you get me? 

“Ooh, oh, good job, oh, oops. Good job!”  This when her daughter took a cracker at snack time.  It looked like the girl was going to grab this one but she grabbed that one instead.  And her mom was so surprised!  She even clapped when at last her daughter had chosen a cracker.  I wish I were kidding.  Can you imagine how happy mom was when her daughter successfully negotiated the 18 inch-high slide?  You’re going to have to because telling you is more than I can bear.

As I wrote earlier, we parents separate from the class and go to a different room for Parent Education.  We ease into this separation because it’s hard on most of the kids.  Before we leave the first time we take the kids to our parent room and tell them that’s where we’ll be and that we’ll come right back.  And the first couple times we separate we don’t stay away too long, gradually increasing the time to the current 45 minutes.  A teacher and a teacher’s aide stay behind with the kids and the bona fide Parent Educator leaves with us.  For this to work, we are told, we must all leave together.  We’ll go and hug our kids and tell them we’re leaving and then turn and go.  Some of the kids will cry but they are in good hands.  No decent parent wants to hear his/her kid cry but sometimes you just have to let your kid work things out on his/her own.  And besides you owe it to all the other parents to leave with them.  If one parent stays (Say, for example, a member of The Slut Cabal), or goes running back to her crying kid, all the kids get confused.  And those whose parents left get (rightfully) pissed. Now, because one mom couldn’t leave her kid, all the kids are freaking out and the teachers are in the middle of a low-grade hurricane.  Before this year, I’ve never seen a mom who went running back.  Then again, this is my first year with The Slut Cabal.

If you know me at all, you know what I think of the Parent Education segment of ECFE.  It’s basically a meeting.  And as you know I’ve never once been to a meeting that needed to be held.  But the Parent Educator puts on a good show; she has handouts, and topics for discussion.  She teaches us about moods and discipline and all sorts of happy horseshit.  And guess who giggles and talks amongst themselves much of the time?  The Slut Cabal!  Holy hell is that one of my pet peeves!  I don’t care if the class is interesting, if you’re learning anything.  For the love of all that is decent, if you are in a classroom and someone is leading a class of some sort, shut the hell up!  Don’t snicker and snort like a twelve year-old girl who just got passed a note checked, “yes.”  Jesus H. Christ! 

This is my story and I can end it however I want to.  But I suppose I’ll be honest and tell it like it is:  The Slut Cabal has been mellowing out.  Or maybe I am.  I think it’s them, though, because I haven’t had to pass a note in class for at least a month.  Yes, this is less than ideal for the writer in me, who has them to thank for this post at least.  But it is keeping all of me out of prison for murder, so that’s something.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tim and June: A Terribly Great Love Story!

His eyes moistened like wet towelettes as she rushed through the gate, down the breezeway, and onto the great steel bird.  His heart flipped in his throat, which itself ached, like the rest of his body, which longed, nay yearned, for her return.  She was glorious; she was gone. 

The first time Tim saw June he was smitten.  He was in line at Starbucks when he saw her, the barista behind the counter.  The person in front of the women in front of him ordered one of those absurd drinks everyone makes fun of:  a half caf, triple sau cow, skim, mocha latte or some damn thing.  Tim immediately went about hating the orderer of the drink, naturally, but was amazed when June tore into the task of making it without hesitation. The sunlight streaked through the window like a frat guy at a halftime show and made little angels appear in June’s blonde hair as she worked. She breezed through the crazy lady’s drink, made the woman in front of him her Christian latte and there he was…in the front of the line, facing June and her hair angels. 

She looked up at him and spoke, “Can I…uh, hi, can I, umm…” she was speechless in front of him.  ‘Twas love at first sight for her and love at first hearing for him, for as soon as she spoke, Tim heard not her voice but a world-class choir singing a beautiful song, and fell madly in love.

“You may,” Tim said in order to break the uncomfortable silence.
“Oh, ha ha! I’m sorry!” June giggled.
“No problem.  I think you’re quite attractive.”
“Oh? Oh! That’s great! Would you like to get a soda sometime? I hate coffee.” June asked.
“I imagine so. Yeah, uh, yes that would be great. When?” Tim responded.
“How about now?  I hate this job anyway.” And June untied her apron giving Tim no way to say no.
“Sure,” is what he said.

And so the pair of soon-to-be lovebirds headed off west, into the sunset, towards the soda fountain.  In so doing, Tim realized the symbolism of walking into the sunset and understood that most of the time when people did that in books and movies it was implied that they were going to spend the rest of their days happily together; he hoped that would be the case with June and him.

The soda fountain was as busy as a bee in a bonnet so they went to a water fountain instead.  Tim looked at June’s angel hair and listened to her world-class choir voice and fell more and more in love.  He was never all that interested in sex but June was making his pants tight. 

“Are your pants tight or are you happy to see me?” June asked, breaking him out of his deep thoughts. 
“This is exactly the kind of thing that normally embarrasses me,” Tim thought, “yet I am not now embarrassed at all! This is the woman for me.”  
“Not only am I happy to see you and your angel hair I’m happy to hear you world-class choir voice.  I’m not a big sex guy but I’d love to have intercourse with you.”

June’s face blushed and her nipples poked through her shirt. “That’s the nicest thing anyone has ever said to me.  You are as sweet as sweetened iced tea!  Shall we blow this pop, or water as it were, stand?”

Because Tim was gay, his apartment was extremely clean and organized.  He could see that June was impressed by his decorating style and wondered if the carpet matched the drapes in her house.  June took off her clothes and for the second time in his life Tim questioned whether he really was gay (the first being the time he’d had sex with a man and hated every second of it.)

Their lovemaking was awkward and very sweaty.  Before he’d even touched her girlie bits, Tim regretted not taking off his sweater and wool socks but he couldn’t think of a gentlemanly way of taking them off once the action started.  But it ended satisfactorily for both of them and, Tim reminded himself, that is what counts.  Indeed, they gazed smilingly into each other’s eyes the rest of the night.

The next few months swept by like dust on the Oklahoma prairie.  Tim lost himself in June’s wrapping embrace.  They went to the zoo, to movies; they walked on the beach, on asphalt, on grass and walking paths in parks; they fed ducks and other small animals at a farm where dating couple do such things. And they tossed their heads back and laughed through it all.  However, there was something happening underneath all the laughing, in the groin area, which was not well.

Lovemaking had become a chore for Tim and he suspected it was becoming something worse for June—a task, say.  They would have fun all day but when they got home and crawled into bed, for they were co-habitating now, there were no sparks. In other words, when the time came, no one came.

“There is trouble in paradise,” Tim told a co-worker one day.

“Another tsunami?  A hurricane?   Volcano?” Will replied.

“No, I mean between June and I,” Tim answered.

“Oh, right.  Because she’s a woman.  I mean, because she’s a woman?”

“Yeah, you can’t live with them and you can’t shoot them, right?” Tim said absently.

“That’s not what I meant.  I mean, I love women. But… Never mind.  What’s the trouble?”

“There’s no spark anymore.  I’d even say I love her.  But there’s no romantic spark.  Last night I walked in on her changing.  She was facing away from me and bending over a little and something stirred in me.  But then she turned around and it was gone.”

“I, uh, let’s see.  I don’t, I mean, have you ever, um, gone out with a man?”

“You think I’m gay?” Tim shouted, “I am not!”

“To be honest, I’m trying not to think anything.  I just think we should consider all possibilities.”

“You’re right. I’m sorry.”

After all possibilities had been explored, it became clear that Tim was gay.  He told June on a Friday and she was gone on a Monday (not that first Monday but the one a week and a few days later- it took her, like, 9 days to pack and make arrangements, etc.) She got on that great steel bird and headed west, to California, West Hollywood or San Francisco perhaps, to find herself a real man.