dispatch from underneath the coffee table

2011 shuts the door behind it and a gust of cool air sends the quilted birds spinning. It walks through the kitchen and stops in front of the table, appraising the floor. These people need a dog. It picks up the head of a Lego power miner, just the head, yellow with a grimacing face, and sets it down again where it came from, in the middle of a plate of half-eaten toast.

Through the door to the living room, 2011 sees a rug and the edge of a couch. "Kate? Kate Inglis?"

The fridge lurches. The dehumidifier hums in the crawlspace underfoot. This is weird. She knew I was coming today.

I draw myself in, not breathing, but it's hopeless. My feet stick out the end. 2011 stands in front of the wood stove, noting hot coals, then turns around. Steel-toed boots and thick socks pulled up taut over neat calves, fresh and fortified for a new set of seasons. All I can see is that but I can tell. 2011 has its hands on its hips.

Go find someone else.

2011 looks down.

I see you.


I am listless and drippy, the physical manifestation of a brain plugged solid. The small boy who's as much boundless puppy as human curls up at my feet, his fourth shortbread cookie clutched in his fist. He stares at me, saying nothing except for what he emotes.

Mmm. Cozy.

Hey. Check this out. I can make this sound DOO DO DO DO DOO.

Fowrf. Fowrf cookie. 

You bedduh, mommy?

You wanna cookie?

Everything is good. He just ate four cookies. Good! Everything good. Wait. Stop. BAD. Bad-bad. Can't find silly putty. No! Bad! Silly putty lost! All gone lost! OH NO BAD.

We search. We find silly putty smushed into the couch.

Silly putty YAY! Everything is good!

We high-five.


Not like I resolve to eat less gluten or I resolve to lovingkindness, whatever that is, I dunno, but it sure sounds awesome or I resolve to getting ripped with crossfit or I resolve to being a better <mother> <moneymaker> <citizen>. I'm thinking more along the lines of I resolve to think less and do more. Like, just get more small things finished. To quit thinking of big things as being big, but rather, just a whole bunch of small things put together in a row. To mope less. To quit shuffling around the house like an unwashed zombie, kneecapped by the weight of responsibility, the inevitable letting-down of people who depend on me to make good choices and do good things and take good care and put up a good and respectable front.

I don't want to care so much about what people say and think, or at the very least, I'd like to stop caring to the point where the social comfort of other people takes precedence over my own.

I'm tired of feeling like the unresolved issues of other people are caused by me.

I'm exhausted of speculating as to fault and performance. I'm not going to do that anymore. The same goes for judging others, and people who judge others. I want to be more silent when silence is the smarter and more compassionate thing, which is almost always.

Seeking approval from others is pointless. I may as well sign off on myself.

I am tired of pretending I am always functional as opposed to dysfunctional. I am tired of trying to figure out where that line is drawn, and who gets to draw it.

I'm tired of using cynicism as a prop, a plywood bit of fakery to excuse me from the burden of possibility.

Selfish and indulgent and saccharine in that self-helpy kind of way that's all fluff and cupcakes. That's what all this sounds like, doesn't it? See how that sounds? But I've been wound up like a goddamn rusty spring. I can't get anything done. I'm all bleary-eyed and haunted by consequences that haven't happened yet. I spend 96% of every day agonizing about all the ways I might fail, hurt, or otherwise damage my life and the lives of the people I love. Like rain will stop falling and earth will turn into dust if Kate doesn't <x> versus <y>. Like Kate makes rain. Which makes me want to slap Kate hard across the cheek. She needs it.

Kids are sunk or lifted by cookies and silly putty. Stuff you can hold in your hand. Tangible things that go bump and smash. Kids don't agonize over making the right choices. They just feel good if they do something cool for a couple of hours.

I resolve to think less and do more.

Like a kid.


The wooden screen door slams. The house is quiet again. I hadn't wanted 2011 to begin. For months I've been saying I'll do it in January. Just have to get through Christmas and then I'll re-write a novel, restart my career, make money, start another career, and stop feeling like a bloated piece of crap.

So now it's January, and I've been hiding underneath the coffee table.

Thinking less and doing more sounds fine, 2011 had said, looking squarely at me. Just so long as you're showering. You're showering, right? You're using soap and everything?

Yeah. Mostly.

Right then. Good start.