2018 Be Like Diesel Constantly Running out…
The Jacksons’ guardian angel is standing on the corner between the two schools; La Lucia and Christopher Robin. He is leaning against that bin where the municipal guys are forever digging trenches, and he is having a smoke (refer previous post https://deepinthemotherhood.com/2018/10/29/the-weirdness-the-wonder-the-going-through-it/). He twirls his moustache and grins with a twinkle in his eye. He knows what’s about to happen and he can’t wait to have a fat laugh. He observes her getting out of the car, wild hair, shirt inside out and wrong way around. She herds kid one and two from the verge where she ramped her car up so wildly that her kids went ‘Wow, do that again mom!’ She felt cool doing that, but poor Portia hung on for dear life and did that nostril breathing thing. She half-shouts at them to focus and move faster. “We are on a timeline people!” He knows that she knows that she has 50km of Diesel left. That light was flashing the day before but there just was no time to fill up. He knows that she thought ‘surely we’ll make it to school and can then fill up after.’
It’s an unnaturally warm morning. The air doesn’t move. Dogs lie and pant in the shade, Birds don’t even dare to fly. She wondered that morning if all 5 fish had died, they were just hanging there in the dark water. She had grown quite fond of them. Still, if they were dead, she thought, then we can finally change this pond thing into a grass hill (her secret thoughts).
Inside her arm sleeve thing she is sweating like an illegal miner. Since Portia came with her on the morning school run so that child three could stay in the car while child one and two were being escorted into school, she (the Jackson), kindly left the aircon on….
He twists his moustache, pulls deeply on that cigarette or pipe or joint or who knows what, and waits. Patiently. Ten minutes of aircon can eat 50km’s worth of Diesel. Bet you did not know that?
The Jackson gets back to her car. Tries to start it. Nothing. Child three begins to wail. She tries again and again and again, and then once more. Denial that luckily does not last too long. She tells child three that she always makes a plan, because she is resourceful like that. By now the crazy school parking lot is almost empty, parents have left for work or coffee, or gym or surfing. There is one mom left and we know her and we like her and we trust her. Thank goodness intuition said to bring the wallet thing (not the phone mind you, just the wallet). She runs to the kind mom, asks for a lift to the petrol station. The Guardian Angel is rolling on the grass, so very funny, these humans. The daily struggle. The small things that are actually big things, if allowed.
At the petrol station the Jackson explains that she has no container. The kind petrol attendants take one look at her hair, feels deeply sorry for her and rummages through the bins. They find an old Steers ice cream container of sorts. They fill it up with just over R90 of Diesel and probably 50cents worth of vanilla ice cream mix. They drive back to where child three is wailing, kind mom and the Jackson. (Guardian) Angel is watching all of this unfold… Small kindness; he made sure that she parked (read: ramped like a 4×4 fucking expert) right where someone left that inside thing of a kitchen towel roll near her back wheel. That is the funnel. Together kind mom and Jackson fill the car with Diesel, from a Steers container and through something similar to the inside of a toilet roll. Some Diesel gets on her arm sleeve thing and for the rest of the day she’ll just sniff that arm whenever anxiety strikes. The car starts and they’re off and miraculously still on time for the start of child three’s school. The Jackson feels supported and lucky and like the prime recipient of serendipity. In control, like a boss, like this really….
Later that day he sits on the roof of her house, next to the 47 odd Hadedas that she feeds (they come for the cat food). The heat has turned into some strange wind. This direction and that, as unpredictable as life in 2018. Bins are being blown over, all the palm trees are bent like old men. She had just fetched child three from school, after a massive negotiation with him to be strapped into his car seat. It’s the small wins that makes the parent, like not stepping on LEGO – that’s a good day. That is a day you buy a Lotto ticket for example.
At home child three insists on holding the keys and the remote (as always). He opens and closes the gate several times, elevating her to next level frustration, because we have to be tested all the time, yes?
She sniffs her sleeve, a real deep pull, similar to what the Guardian Angel does when he smokes. She has had to sniff on the fat arm several times that day and the Diesel smell is almost gone. And then she parks close to the wall as always. This is so that there is enough space for the hunk’s car and for kids on bikes and Portia and all the Hadedas and monkeys and who knows what else that depends on this household to walk in between the cars. She opens her door. A rogue wind grabs it and slams it into the wall. Big dent. The chain smoking angel either has a plan or just a very strange sense of humour. He laughs so hard that he scares all 47 Hadedas and 40 frogs and 5 fish and two lazy cats.
It’s the afternoon of the same day. She is having a meeting, outside. A bee comes to land on her forehead. She is not even surprised. Her kind friend and her laugh and laugh and then cry a bit. She is genuinely surprised when the bee does not sting her.
2018 You will never cease to surprise me. But in times of self doubt I turn to Pinterest and I remind myself that we are all just doing the BEST WE KNOW NOW. Like there was a time when parents gave their kids cocaine, right? And when men measured their wives’ legs so that they could buy that ironing board at just the right height to ensure maximum productivity. And when this was ok…
Thing is, this is 2018, and I swear if we all have not learnt that we are so not in control of the external stuff, that we are, in fact, in control of very little indeed, then we have failed.