Like all women my age in my situation, I have a rich fantasy life.
Once a year, like it’s a birthday, I get my car detailed and celebrate my secret self. Car detailing is brilliant fantasy fuel, followed closely by buying nice undies. These are, however, luxury cards to play, and it’s vital you play them at the right time of year. Some fantasists I could mention detail their cars in June, which to me is a schoolgirl error. Every October 1st I drive my family vehicle into the car detail lot, with sand pouring out of the door in a steady stream as I get out. There are a year’s worth of fruitbar wrappers stuck to the backs of the seats. Lord only knows what is in the cupholders. When I go back at 4pm to pick the car up, I follow two simple rules. 1. I never, ever make eye contact with the man who actually cleaned the car (because shame can be a real fantasy-deflater); and 2. I never, ever take the kids with me. This way, I can drive my car away looking like the young, hip, girl-about-town that I am, for the duration of the drive home. People watch me as I drive by, and I say, yes, that’s right – I live in the city and I really have my life together. I’m off now to my warehouse loft apartment downtown, where I will eat exotic leaf salad and drink expensive wine, whilst listening to my Miles Davis cd. I love 4pm on October 1st.
The other well-developed fantasy that I have is that I’ve still got it. When it comes to this one, Frank is just as guilty as I am. In our minds, we are such cool, young parents that it’s hard to believe the Pitt-Jolies haven’t called us yet for advice. An example of my believing I’ve still got it would be my recent skateboarding morning with my friend, Coco, a woman who actually does still have it. I don’t know why I hang out with her, it’s really a bad idea for me. Despite all my efforts to appear young and with-it, I got into a nasty speed wobble coming down a hill and had to abort in a panic. I had to go from standing on the board, to running downhill full-tilt with my nose an inch from the pavement, while both my children watched me. If I’d gone down I would definitely have broken my hip.
Frank’s no better. He set up a whirling plane in Bill’s room last week, which does laps and laps round the ceiling on a wire, fast, with a propellor going. This was all going well for him until it was time to turn the thing off. Whenever I want to make myself laugh lately, I think of what Frank looked like wobbling on a kitchen chair, trying to catch the plane as it whizzed by. He went from Cool Dad, to Dad with Old Person Balance in the blink of an eye. The plane nearly gave him a nosebleed with every pass it made, and his attempts to stop it with his hands were half-hearted at best. That propellor was a menace. In the end, we had to get the oven gloves.
I refuse to surrender the fantasy. I’ve still got it, I don’t care how many times my children stare at me with confused, mildly amused faces. I’ve got years before they’re teenagers and contempt comes into the mix. Check back then.