August 04, 2008

It's all part of the show, folks!

Equivocation: A technique by which a magician appears to have intended a particular outcome, when in actuality the outcome is one of several alternative outcomes.

The part where I differ from your standard illusionist is, I don't know which of the alternative outcomes are coming, either. Makes for an even bigger surprise, right? Still, I can't resist attempts at the whole deceptive appearance part. I am constantly forcing myself onward without ever having any true idea if it will play out. As usual, I know there are several possible outcomes to any given situation. As a true performer, I do my best to prep for each. Pulling it off, however, is another trick entirely.

Take this weekend, for instance. I've been agitated for the past week or so; reclusive, easily flustered. Phase 1 of 2 for my special needs. I knew, however, that we had a close friend's birthday party to attend for their 3-year-old daughter. We had the gift, we had an excited 3-year-old of our own, we even had the time and date straight (two years ago, we showed up a full day early, this coming weekend we were planning to show up a full day late for a wedding).

What we didn't have was me. I was in a never-leave-the-house-again-and-talking-to-people-is-so-overrated kind of mood, though I was pretending the opposite. Kurt saw right through me, as usual, and kindly offered up several opportunities for me to back out. But I was all about putting on the show. Must not appear weak! Go! Socialize! Put a smile on that pretty face, dammit, and get in the ring!

This party was a triple-threat, actually, and I should have known better. There were people there who knew I'd had The Big Breakdown this summer but that I hadn't seem since Before. It was a pool party so I was nervous about the swimsuit exposure as well as the kids who can't swim thing. And (here's the biggie) my oldest child is Queen o' Drama at parties. There's cake, there's presents, there's kids, there's a pool, etc. She twists herself up like a rubber band and then, just at the most inconvenient time, let's all that suppressed tension fly free.

Just like her mommy.

I think I pulled it off fairly well, actually, though with some flops. As soon as I had my swimsuit on, I felt like I was walking naked through the halls of Congress on national television. I changed back into street clothes less than 10 minutes later to confused looks from my husband. I hid my discomfort with concerned acquaintances by simple means- misdirection and disappearance. Ah! Magic! Look, over there, a baby with cake-face! *slink away*

Where I really lost it was with Anna. Every time I take the kids out to an event, the more stressful the situation becomes lately. I don't know if she's feeding off my nerves or vise versa, but together, we are a MESS. She starts with the defiance, pouting and tears. I start with the harsh-but-under-the-breath threats, control freak demands and excessive time-outs. This sets her off, which sets me off, which sets her off...

And through all my (not so) inner-drama, there's Kurt, holding the baby, smiling and chatting, totally oblivious to the impending firestorm from his wife and daughter. I was so envious in that moment of his gracefully comfortable demeanor that it burned a hole in head. Honestly, I heard the sizzling. I'll have to wear hats for months.

"It's. Time. To. LEAVE." My teeth gritted as I failed a smile completely. Anna hit the floor, tantrum in full swing because, "that girl said "no" to me!". Something to do with bubbles, I believe; nothing more than the last straw, for certain.

Gathering up, screaming child et al, I felt embarrassed and defeated. I should have known. All my attempts at equivocation were in vain. There was ever only one possible outcome to this situation. I knew it, I always know it, but I can't quite accept this change to my social skills. So I pretend, beforehand, that it will be different.

But in hindsight, I always know, I'm no good at this show, folks. I need to stick to what I know; reading, writing and hiding out until the tents are down and the crowd's gone home. No more circus tricks for me.

1 comment:

Lea said...

I'm so sorry the party didn't go well. Does this mean you aren't coming to Asher's party? I totally understand....but I'd still love to have you there! :)