Small talk

So. You know, sometimes the blogs just come. And sometimes I look up at the sky and ... nothing.

It’s like being on a bad date. I’m looking at the screen, the screen is looking at me, and we’re smiling politely and all but I’m secretly wondering how I got myself into this situation. Still, it’s important to make an effort, so I will begin some story about how Isaac has lately been obsessed with money, hounding us for pennies (“You got money? In your pocket? I have it?”) or how Rowan got this amazing kids’ cookbook for his birthday but then became so blindingly focused on it that we eventually had to hide it before he worked himself into such a fevered pitch of culinary excitement that the house exploded.

But the stories have no real point, no overriding metaphor pulling them all together, and it doesn’t seem worth the effort to manufacture one, and so I sort of trail off and the screen and I go back to smiling politely at each other and poking at our salads.

We’ve had some great weather, haven’t we? All that fluffy snow ... and so warm!

Or I could rely on this standard conversation-starter fallback, which everyone asks my kids these days: “Are you getting excited for Christmas?” Our indoctrination program is working well, because now I gently nudge Rowan and pull the string attached to his back and he says, “We don’t celebrate Christmas. We celebrate Hanukkah,” and then the supermarket cashier or bookstore clerk looks slightly flummoxed and then backtracks, a smile freezing across her face.

(But I wasn’t going to write about the holidays, because that’s so overdone time of year. Plus, no one likes a humbug.)


I suppose it doesn’t help that I’m hung over.

Not even in any scandalous way, just in a pushing-40, cheap-date kind of way. On half a bottle of wine. It was worth it, though — not just the wine itself, which was lovely, but the second annual three-hour December dinner at a posh restaurant with our friends (and the kids’ godmothers) Judy and Jill. We see them pretty much weekly, at Sunday brunch with the kids, but I swear we get more actual talking and visiting done in a single grown-up dinner than we do during the previous 51 weeks. Now, that was a good date, made even more so by beef carpaccio and butter lettuce salad with pears and butternut squash gnocchi and chocolate-pear cheesecake. So what if I was too drunk to actually manage to calculate the proper total after tip on my bill and had to telephone the restaurant this morning to make sure that our hyper-capable server actually got the tip I meant to leave as opposed to the number I wrote down?

“That’s okay,” said the manager when I spoke to him. “We knew what you meant.”

Now that, that is what I need. Comfortable silence.