“He was a sweet-talkin’ son of a preacher man,” I croon at my desk during Office Karaoke. Office Karaoke is a thing I made up to blow off steam at my desk. I google whatever song I want, add “karaoke” at the end, and thanks to the magic of the interwebz, the YouTube pops up my selection and I perform for an audience of no one.
I work from home. My imaginary coworkers think I’m amazing.
Office Karaoke makes time stop for a few minutes to help me catch my breath, and boy, do I need time to stop on this crazy train careening through the school year. I’m a circus juggler riding a unicycle on a tightrope suspended over a tub of boiling lava filled with robot sharks and people keep throwing me flaming knives. School moms have a lot going on, and I’m not even on the PTO.
I pack snacks and water bottles the night before, find goggles and megaphones and lacrosse sticks, set the alarm for 6 a.m., on a Saturday, ON A SATURDAY, and head to bed. In the morning before coffee, it’s carpool and driving across the state to get him into the pool in time for warmup, to get her onto the field in time for run through, to go team win the sportsball. And church the next day and homework and parties and the week restarts. It’s 6 a.m., and signing folders and racing to the bus for one, two, three kids, then the exhale into my coffee before heading to the office to stare at this blank screen and tap, tap, tap out a living onto the page. The emails from teachers ding my inbox as they arrive in clumps of assignments and spirit days.
Wear a hat on Wednesday to say no to drugs.
And I can’t remember the way my name sounds as a statement, before it was shouted across the house as a cry for help. Mommm I need you to find fix feel my thing that I lost broke hurt. Am I in here anymore? Is there anything left of me at the end of my to-do list? I like the bustle. I like the routine. But I can’t remember what a brain feels like when it’s quiet.
I need to sing “Son of a Preacher Man” at my desk and remember another me. I was 19 and dating Alex and we drove across the bridge to Canada where I had my first drink. It was bright blue, something called a hurricane or a typhoon, and it was a storm in a bottle.
It was too sweet. So was I.
We drove back to the U.S. and I put on the soundtrack to Pulp Fiction and sang “Son of a Preacher Man” at the border as they checked our IDs. It was a simpler time. We didn’t have passports. We were kids guzzling storms across the border, emigrating to a younger drinking age.
The bus is coming. Any minute I’ll hear the beeping it makes as it turns around in the cul de sac in my quiet neighborhood and my kids will stagger home dragging heavy backpacks and I’ll dole out smiles and hugs with snacks and “get in the car for practice; we don’t want to miss carpool.” And then dinner and homework and bed and we do it all over again.
I’m tired. These school years are a whirling dervish of activity. A month feels like a blink. How is 2017 winding down already? I try to hold onto the reins and don’t let go. Just don’t let go. Try to enjoy the ride while it lasts.
I sing Office Karaoke by myself.