Sometimes I think the real story of women’s lives is the story of how you got anything done at all between the interruptions. Or maybe it is the untold story of all the things you actually did before you got to the part you counted as “doing something”. I have to go back and check but I think that is what Tillie Olsen’s I Stand Here Ironing was about. And also several stories in Grace Paley’s Enormous Changes at the Last Minute. So I am not the first woman to think of this or to bother to write it down.
Although men get interrupted a lot I am sure, for all kinds of equally bad and equally interesting reasons, there is something about our lives as women that makes this story strangely the norm, unquestioningly the norm. And although many of you are so familiar with this it will seem strange to have bothered to write it at all, still I want to write it. If you could hear me, you’d know that though I do complain about many things, I am really not complaining. And I could be more disciplined about managing my time. This is a completely unremarkable account of a few hours of my day yesterday.
I came home from work early. Quite early, like 1:30. I wasn’t feeling so well and I brought work from my office to do at home after I finished with a long morning meeting at work. I had in my mind that I wanted to sit and write just a little. I wanted to start a longer piece about adoption and race generally. I was also thinking about a particular, interesting email dialogue I am having with someone and thinking maybe I would write a little about that. Or maybe I’d write about something that has been rattling around in my mind about girls and gender roles in third grade, or a next piece, more about race and racism, to follow up from the writing I did earlier here, called “Student Council”, because there is more since then to tell.
It took me awhile to sit down at the computer. I really wasn’t feeling so great. As I said. I got into my pajamas, which is unusual for me. I did read a really lovely and interesting article that a friend sent me about meeting and developing a friendship with a woman artist whose background is remarkably similar to her somewhat extraordinary background, which did admittedly take a little time to read, and I don’t want to be dishonest here. I did get to read that piece.
Then there was the something I had to write for work which I did. Then I was hungry. I watched a very few minutes of the Olympics and fewer minutes of “Ellen” while I ate. I also cleaned up from lunch and from breakfast which we had abandoned in a hurry earlier. By then I thought about taking a nap, but there is something incredibly inviting about a quiet house in the daytime, while the sun is out, as a time to sit and collect my thoughts and write. So I opted for that.
As I was settling in to write, I heard the blinds rattling in the other room, which is a common occurence in winter in our slightly overheated apartment where the windows are cracked open a bit but it was especially loud so I went to look. It turned out not to be the blinds. Nor was it noise from the hallway of the apartment next door with which we share a wall. In fact it was a key in the door, which initially scared the hell out of me.
But it was my partner, home much earlier than planned. With three children. Our one and two from up the street. This stop at home with daughter and two friends definitely wasn’t in the plan for the afternoon. My partner was going to pick up daughter and go directly to basketball practice. They entered with their backpacks and their three different versions of a long day at school, needing attention and snacks and they entered with all their interesting ideas and their tangles with each other and all their homework pages. And so this is just one version of the unremarkable story of the blog entry that wasn’t. At least not yet. Not yesterday.