I was going to be creative for breakfast this morning. Eggs have been so boring lately. I had a little time while making supper last night so I prepared an egg bake. For sure, the ingredients I had weren’t what they should be—I sorely missed sausage and cheddar cheese—but I had fresh spinach and some bread and I was pretty sure I could make something eggy and yummy. It wasn’t. I’m not being modest. It wasn’t, as in, after one bite I was serving yogurt to the kids and making eggs. Fail.
Then I tried to visit a newcomer and her children with my boys. This family is living one mile from our house and it took me more than forty minutes and three phone calls to find it. I think Hugh thought we’d left the country. After a nice visit I loaded the boys back into the car and started for home. And fender-bendered pulling out of an empty lot. Fail.
I returned home a wreck of my former self. I called Alex out to see the damage. I told him simply what happened—there may or may not have been tears involved–without making excuses and he was, as he always is, the Best. I cannot even describe to you how much I adore that man. What with the Epic Disaster of breakfast plus the driving thing I felt like such a failure. (What is it that I do, exactly?!? Nothing well, that is certain.) But Alex was so sweet and understanding, even encouraging—after five minutes I truly began to feel as though, in fact, I am an amazing human being and the whole thing was obviously completely the fault of the other party. (The other party being, in this case, a two-foot ceramic wall not impairing the solidity of his case, because clearly that wall had no business being there). (You’re all going to think I can’t drive. And you are correct. But I feel impelled by pride to point out that, before driving in Indonesia, I have not hit anything with a car since I was eighteen. Since moving to Indonesia, I have had serious disagreements with stationary objects four times. What is proved by this evidence? That you should take all care not to be a stationary object in my vicinity if I am behind the wheel.)
The power was dead when I walked into the house—it wasn’t a surprise because I had seen the blank stoplight at the corner. Power dead means not only no lights and no cooking but no internet and no water because the water pump is electric. When my helper said it had been dead for hours I was thankful I’d planned a cold lunch—cold grilled chicken and fresh corn. I had also made blueberry soup, a crowd favorite around here—made with my last hoarded frozen blueberries, cinnamon, and plain yogurt. It is a lovely deep purple color and about the most refreshing thing you can imagine. Have you spotted the difficulty yet? Neither did I. But soon the lower 75% of my children were a lovely deep purple color, as well as a large section of the kitchen floor. With no water. Fail.
(Here’s Wally, because I do sometimes remember to take pictures.)
Again Alex cheered me up, by wishing aloud it would rain. Which brought us both back to a very memorable time in our own recent history, when the Professor, as the main character in this episode shall be dubbed, was showering when the power—and the water—died. He was, if I remember rightly, post-soap and pre-rinse. When the power had not returned after some appreciable period, he began to desire to leave the shower. I remember offering him two small bottled waters, thinking he could dump them over himself to try and remove some of the soap. He had, he thought, a Better Idea. His plan was so simple it’s easy to miss its innate brilliance. He would Go Out In the Rain. It was afternoon in rainy season and it had been raining quite steadily. Unfortunately, by the time the Professor donned bathing trousers and made his soapy way out to the courtyard, the drops had slowed to plop-plop stage. He stood out there, eagerly scanning the sky, still lathered and looking . . . ridiculous. Suddenly, without warning, he had another Great Idea. Seeing a plastic flower pot full of collected rainwater standing nearby, he grabbed it and inverted it over his head. But it had been there for a while, and was full of rotting vegetation. Thus the Professor instantly transformed into the Swamp Thing, complete with smell and slimy rotting leaves now clinging to the soapy lather on his arms. I wanted so badly to help him, but this desire was far outweighed by my much bigger ones to A) photograph him and B) laugh at him. (I chose option B, and I’m still laughing.)
Sometimes you have one second to decide if you’re going to laugh or cry and both responses are valid. (Except in the above case. Laughing was the only valid response there.) Which explains the deep connection, the instant sense of recognition, that welled up inside when I first encountered the weeping-and-grinning emoji. I don’t like what emoji have given to the world–except that one.
Girls, I wish I could have sent it to you around 4 pm when the power and water still weren’t back and I had two children with diarrhea. Or maybe there isn’t an emoji for that situation yet. Talk about keep calm and carry on! Also laugh.