Quondam

December 2012
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Dark chicken

I don’t have too many rules for the car, but one of the rules is that no one is allowed to clap. Enclosed-space clapping percusses through my head and annoys the shit out of me. Even if I myself might be in the occasional mood to clap, clapping drives repetitive-noise-sensitive Maj round the fucking bend of sanity. So no clapping . . . no exceptions . . . the end.

We’re all in the car on our way to drop Kallan off at her friend’s house. Mark is driving. Admittedly clappy rhythmic music is playing on the radio. Maj and Kallan and I are singing along.

Mark starts clapping.

I glance over at him, “Seriously? Stop clapping.”

He claps a few more times, “What?”

Maj leans forward, “Are you new here, Daddy? Our family does not clap in the car. It’s one of Mother’s more sensible rules.”

Mark claps a few more incredibly sharp loud joyful times, “Yeah, but I am Daddy! I own this car! I will clap if I want to clap.”

Kallan is delighted, “Go, Daddy!”

Annoyed, Maj fills the car with bossiness, “USE YOUR HANDS TO DRIVE THIS CAR IN A SAFE MANNER, DADDY. HANDS ON THE WHEEL AT ALL TIMES!”

Mark claps again just to demonstrate that he can drive the car without using his hands, “Look! I can keep the beat and also not crash into a tree!”

I glare at him, “Babe, stop clapping.”

He looks over at me and lets his hands fall to the steering wheel mid-clap, “Huh. I guess I forgot we live in Bomont.”

“Bomont?”

“The town where no one is allowed to dance or clap — from Flashdance.”

“Mark, I’m pretty sure Flashdance is the movie where the girl is a welder and also a stripper and then water is poured from the ceiling onto her arched semi-nude body. You’re thinking Footloose.”

Kallan leans forward, “Wait . . . what’s the name of that movie with the welding stripper?”

I am saved from having to explain by Maj’s excited voice, “Look! A chicken! At first I thought it was a cat, but then it was all not-cat-shaped and moving funny and so then I thought maybe it was a misshapen epileptic cat but then I realized it was a dark chicken!”

“Where? I don’t see a chicken.” Kallan leans to look out her sister’s window and snorts, “Also, by the way? Maj, you do know most people would have stopped talking after Look, a chicken! . . . Right?”

Maj sighs happily, “You’re just jealous you didn’t see a dark chicken.”

“Yeah, superior roadside-chicken-spotting skills . . . I am all green eggs and ham of envy.”

We drop Kallan off at her friend’s house and head back the way we came. Mark adjusts the radio to a song he likes. He starts singing, and then swaying, and then grunting to the music. He is being totally ridiculous, but at least he’s not clapping.

Maj is having none of it, and she snaps at him, “Daddy, you are not allowed to listen to this song if you cannot behave.”

Mark sing-grunts even more obnoxiously, “I am Daddy and I own this car! I will sing and dance in this car if I want to sing and dance in this car. I am the man! I am the man of this car!”

Maj squawks, “Daddy, put your hands on the wheel when you drive! You are being so dangerous!” She turns to me, “Mother, get your man under control! He may be the man of the car, but you are the woman of the man! Get your man under control. Right this instant, Mother. Do it.”

I speak mildly, “Daddy is the man of the car, and he’s allowed to enjoy a song on the radio. He’s a grown-up, babe. Stop bossing him.”

Mark pauses in his singing to say, “Yeah. What she said.  So pffffttttt to you, Maj.”

Maj sighs dramatically, “Why must I always be a part of the moments in which Daddy asserts his independence? Why must I suffer?”

Mark turns down the music and speaks happily of his awesomeness, “Yup. I am allowed to do anything I want.” He glances at me and considers and then amends this claim, “Well, I am allowed to do anything I want as long as I don’t irritate your mother.”

Snort.

He continues thoughtfully, “So no more clapping, obviously.”

Maj is annoyed, “No one likes clapping, Daddy. No one.”

Mark goes on, “And no folding paper.”

A note here in my defense:

I am not bothered by the normal folding of a piece of paper. The following is completely acceptable – Oh look, a piece of paper I must for some reason fold! Let me just lay it down flat on this solid surface, fold it precisely, and then run my hand along the seam one time. I am now done folding this piece of paper and can move along to the next part of my life.

However, I am not fine with the following — Oh look, a random piece of paper that totally does not need to be folded! Let me hold it out away from my body and fold it imprecisely and then run two pressed fingers along the seam not one time . . . not two times . . . not three times . . . but endless pointless absentminded teeth-shivering times until my wife shrieks in anger and lunges at me and rips said piece of paper from my hands.

Back to the three of us in the car where Mark is not allowed to fold paper.

Ever.

Seriously.

Here’s Mark, “So no folding paper, because your mother is insane.”

“I’m insane too, Daddy. The sound and vibrations of fingers folding paper makes my whole body hurt.” Maj sighs, “It’s why my career as an origami artist was so short-lived.”

She’s not even kidding, by the way. Every single one of her origami folds had to be softly patted into position. No running pressing fingers allowed.

Maj is a tiny bit my daughter.

Ahem.

Anyway, here’s Mark again, speaking loudly and goofily, filled with superiority and pounding the steering wheel as he makes his points, “At work, though? I am all about the fold! I sit in my office and I yell out BRING ME MORE PAPER! and they do because I am the man of the paper and then I just sit there and I fold the paper, making crease after crease after crease of perfectly folded paper. Like a man. Like a man who is in CHARGE of things. Like folding. I AM A MAN OF FOLDING!  Yeah, baby . . . that’s right.  I’M THE MAN!”

He is a folding man?

Huh.

I say nothing.  Maj mutters, “Oh for goodness sake.”

Mark turns the radio’s volume up and he grunts and sways to the song, “I’m the man, baby! I am the man of paper! Folding, creasing, crumpling . . . I’ll do whatever I like. Why? Because I am the man! I am the man of folding!”

I can’t help it; I giggle, “You are the man of folding?”

Mark glances at me, “What’s your point?”

Maj interrupts triumphantly, “THERE’S THE DARK CHICKEN AGAIN!”

I glance out the window at the vaguely chicken-shaped object that is in fact a black plastic bag snagged on some fencing, “Huh. Hey, Maj? That chicken looks Hefty-ish.”

Maj stares out the window at the not-so-much chicken, “What? Hmmm. Well, that’s embarrassing.”

Mark does a slow-clap of sarcasm, “Way to poultry-spot, Maj.”

She returns the sarcasm, “Well, Daddy . . . at least I’m not a folding man.”

Mark is startled and he turns to me, “Wait. She just made that sound like an insult.”

“And stop clapping, Daddy. Hands on the wheel, young man.”

Snicker.

    26 comments to Dark chicken

    • “I am all green eggs and ham of envy??”

      That’s fucking awesome.

    • Green eggs and ham of envy? I will be using that for the rest of my life.

    • steph

      I’m thinking “I am all green eggs and ham of envy” needs to be stitched on a sampler ASAP. Of course, I don’t really cross stitch. So, there’s that. Can someone make this happen?!

      • OK, I live in a community of many many HAVES, and I am a HAVE-NOT.

        GRAFFITI!

        Oh, this could be awesome.

        I will need spray-paint.

        Does Costco sell spray-paint?

    • a snowsprite

      Aw, now I will be hearing the sounds of folding paper all day and shuddering. Gack.
      But moving on, Bahaha! Those girls are pretty much amazing.

      • The sound of fingers folding paper is horrific.

        Goose-bumped shudders at the mere thought.

        And yes . . .the girls are pretty much amazing.

        They get that from me.

        Hush.

        YES THEY DO.

    • Hundreds of lawyers from the estate of the late Dr. Seuss are even now folding AND stapling countless writs and restraining orders bearing your name. They could, they should, be foldingly good, these green eggs and ham men.

    • Jess

      Mark is so alpha. Ha!

      Also, I will have to add the green eggs and ham of envy sampler to my list of stitching projects for when the girls go off to college. Thanks for the inspiration.

    • "OG" Axel

      When your thinks have run dry,
      In the blink of an eye
      There’s another think there!
      If you open your mind,
      Oh, the thinks you will find
      Lining up to get loose!
      Oh, the thinks you can think
      If only you try!

      Seuss (aka Geisel) would have been a fucking blast at parties. Sort of an out of body experience without drugs.

      Speaking of people who are completely bat-shit out of their fucking skull insane, have you read John McAfee’s blog? Yeah, THAT McAfee. He could be the crack-baby offspring of Charlie Sheen and Lindsay Lohan. Read a few posts and you’ll need someone to talk you down. Everything you want- murder, conspiracy, corrupt police. I won’t post a link, but you have to wonder “who is mcafee (dot) com”

      • Did I mess up and not thread that last comment I made in response yesterday?

        Oh well.

        I went to read.

        OH MY GOD . . . Hilarious.

        Awful and insane and troubled and possibly faked in parts and truly truly mentally ill.

        But awesome.

        Wow.

    • I have not read John McAfee’s blog, as he seems like a madman of the unfunny sort.

      Is there funny? I BETTER LAUGH, Axel.

      I’ll kick your ass.

      Making a note.

      (The note is to check out the blog later this afternoon, and not to kick your ass, by the way. The latter requires no note. My mind is a steel-trap when the thing kicking and screaming between the metal razored jaws is a potential victim).

      What?

      Fine, I’ll read the madman’s blog.

      Shut up.

    • I find you completely entertaining! I have gone back and read everything! You bring me to tears…..so thank u!

      • Wait, you went back and read from my archives?

        Oh, I just love you.

        Thank you for telling me that . . . there is a lot back there of which I am quite proud.

        Yay!

    • Mishelle

      I’m very sad to say I have used this line before – well in Mommy form obviously not the Daddy form as I have no penis.

      “I am Daddy and I own this car! I will sing and dance in this car if I want to sing and dance in this car. I am the man! I am the man of this car!”

      Apparently it embarrasses the 13 yr old if her mother (and say that as Moth-her in 2 syllables)is seen car dancing with her in the car. Who knew?!? Snort!!

      Boy is she in for a lot of sitting slumped over in the car embarrassment car rides.

      What? I’m not the only one who car dances and sings – I look around when I drive, I’m not the only one.

      M

      • Kallan refused to change the radio from a One Direction song the other day as we were driving through our neighborhood (I am not a big One Direction fan), and so I car-danced in obnoxious fashion as she sank low in her seat and groaned in humiliation.

        “Mom, it wouldn’t be so bad, but when you get really into it, you drive super-slow.”

        Which is true, because I take my feet off of the pedals and let the car coast during the big-dance parts.

        Ahem.

        Hello, neighbors!

        Me

    • Being green eggs and ham with envy is right up there with feeling all “hopped on pop” after chugging too much soda.

      Dr. Seuss, please report to the psychiatry ward . . .

    • green eggs and ham of envy or heftyish chicken. I’m so torn. But not folded. Never folded. Doubled over at times, giggling.

      But not folded.