Before my son Ethan came barreling into our shallow, self-absorbed lives, I used to really savor my evening hours as this was the sacred time I reserved for Tivo’d episodes of SEX AND THE CITY and a very tall, very dry Martini. As if remembering a pleasant dream, I recall leisurely dinners with my lover George, who after stuffing ourselves fully, would float to our media room in a haze of red wine-induced goodwill. George would curl up next to me on our overstuffed, spotless sofa and begin to snore softly as I downed my for-medicinal-purposes-only, industrial-strength Grey Goose ‘nightcap.’ Despite the thrilling, melodramatic adventures of Carrie Bradshaw and company, I would soon join George in snoring away on our sofa due to the gentle warmth of his unconscious body and my exhausting, near manic obsession with cataloguing the crazy, Patricia Field costume changes wrought on poor Sarah Jessica Parker. (Gym shorts paired with athletic socks and Jimmy Choo strappy sandals, anyone? Girlfriend, please!)
Like Keanu Reeves who in the MATRIX is ‘unplugged’ from his cushy computer world and awakened to the gritty and depressing ‘real world’ of smarmy Laurence Fishburne, (By the way, speaking of THE MATRIX, I sure as shit would have taken the blue pill and stayed the fuck in MATRIX land. Despite my affinity for Pleather cat suits and hand guns, I would have avoided the whole cyber-messiah, save-the-world thing like the plague. Besides, I’m at my most charming when I’m stupefying drunk or deeply and irretrievably unconscious.) my evening existence has changed from a vodka-induced dream into an alcohol-free childcare nightmare. I have come to call this time of day ‘The Firing Squad,’ as getting my son prepared for bed has evolved into a formal ceremony that has the order and precision of a military execution but lacks all the charm one expects from capital punishment.
Despite my utter lack of interest in the agonizingly painful set of treaties I must negotiate with Ethan that gets him from our dinner table, through bath and reading time and finally (mercifully) into bed, I do find one small, fleeting aspect of ‘The Firing Squad’ enjoyable. I love to tell him a bedtime story. His favorite is a story that is based on real-life events and is aptly called ‘The Coyote Story.’
It goes something like this:
Once upon a time, there lived two men who despite their unrelenting narcissism and selfishness, offhandedly and cavalierly decided that having a baby would be ‘Like...totally fun!” So the two men who were biologically and divinely barren, paid a pot of money to a bunch of lawyers, psychologists, agencies, egg donors, and surrogates (…and a partridge in a pear tree) and were ‘blessed’ with a gorgeous, magical baby that could only be lulled to sleep if his loving, yet blithely unprepared parents death marched with him in a kind of sling, ominously and frighteningly called a ‘SNUGLY.’
Despite princely sums spent on cribs, bassinets, mechanical swings, vibrating chairs, and boxy pack-and-plays, the magical baby would not sleep on his own and would not be appeased. His ear-shattering, nerve-jangling screams and cries would reverberate clearly in the densely packed, overbuilt canyon the men lived, so fearing that the kingdom's protective services would take the magical baby into protective custody the men packed him into the hateful SNUGLY each night, EVERY NIGHT and set off into the forbidding, inky darkness that is Los Feliz.
(To be Continued)