One of the downsides to the new house is the extra fog. Apparently the top of the hill upon which we perch is in a goddamn jet stream or something. You can see the fog roll tumble in from the Pacific and over the city every night, slowly rolling across the bay. And come morning, it's here. Like the fucking Sunset. It's not that big of a deal for me, since I like to pretend I am Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights, and all this fog makes me feel like ghosts are haunting my moor. But it does strike a certain mood when you wake up.
And I woke up pissier than usual. The reasons for this are many. New vials at the allergist overloading my system. The cocksucking Red Sox coming back against Mo in the 9th. Burnout from a terrific stretch of short story writing that has seen almost 10 pieces taken in little over a month. Plus, y'know, I'm getting older. Yesterday, Justine pointed out how much more gray I have since we met (yet drawing no direct correlation).
But then there's the kid. Holden. Whenever I can't figure out what to write about, especially on grey, wet, depressing, burned-out, sickish mornings like this, I've got daddy blogging. And it makes me...happy.
I imagine hearing about someone else's kid, especially when you don't have one of your own, is tantamount to listening to someone ramble on about sports when you have no interest in them, but since I promised I wouldn't talk about sports, and specifically the Yankees, and the cocksucking front office that have sent my beloved Bombers into a gun fight with the Sox, armed with nothing but a rich history and a handful of stem cells, this is the best I can offer you.
I'd always heard people talk about kids, but I didn't listen much. Because I didn't have one, and I didn't see what the big deal was. You have a kid, it's part of you, cycle of life, etc. I get it. Only I didn't. This isn't something you can experience conceptually. Especially the tricks.
When my father (figure) Jim Petersen (and I mean "father figure" in the "mentoring in a parental manner" sort of way and not the creepy George Michael "I will be your father figure" kind of way) had his kid, Dylan, way back in the last century (Petersen is really fucking old), he used to call me all the fucking time with whatever Dylan had learned to do. Like when Dylan climbed the stairs, Petersen would call, all, "Dylan climbed the stairs!" And I'd be like "I give a shit. I don't want to hear about your kid's latest trick." Because I was 20-something, with real world problems, like how to manipulate, steal, lie, cheat, and get the most for Joe to compensate for having been screwed over by the world (don't ask how a good-looking, middle class, white kid, who's college education had been paid for but pissed away, translated to being "screwed over," but I firmly believed it). Anyway, fast forward 20 years, and now it's me calling Petersen telling him about Holden's tricks. Just like someday, Holden will call his father with his son's tricks. (Although I'll probably be dead by then. I had Holden so late, and my family tends to drop dead in their 50s.)
Holden's latest trick is by far his coolest. Walking. It's something we take for granted, because you do it all the time. But I don't take it for granted because I had that motorcycle accident in '06, and for a while I was stuck in a wheelchair, and I couldn't walk for six months. The first time I was finally able to walk again was in the pool (a third of the weight). So I know how much it sucks. But the kid is finally joining the rest of the bipeds. And it's fucking hilarious. He can only take two or three steps before he face plants (don't worry; I catch him), but the look on his face is the best part, this mix of excitement and courage and wonder, a little terror at the unknown but this ingrained evolution that makes him have to try. He looks like a baby Frankenstein('s Monster) when she starts out, arms outstretched, legs stiff, wobbly. Sometimes after a step or two he'll stop and smile wide, shoot his arms in the air like he's just won the gold medal. Then he'll fall. It's hard not to laugh. I'll keep catching him and setting his back upright so he'll do it again. He's like a really big action figure--that moves! So fucking cool.
I'm not tormenting the boy; he's learning. I'm a good dad. And it's a break from his other trick, which involves jabbing his toy shark (Chinchilla) into daddy's mouth until it bleeds.