Friday, January 22, 2010

A Tillman Conversation Piece

I have to tell you about my hunt for the perfect 2010 calender. Every year it's a big deal to get just the right one. For me, it's not just a way to keep track of appointments, or due dates for the kids' school projects. It says something about where I am at the beginning of the year, and what the rest of the year will look like.

Through most of high school if you would have walked into my bedroom you would have seen a Green Peace calender, telling you that not only did I love critters, but that I wanted you to think I was liberal. Senior year you would have found a Guns N' Roses calender, which should have been a sign to me that I was going to grow up to be attracted to rude, unstable, and emotionally unavailable people. More recently, last year in fact, you would have found a Sandra Boynton Mommy's calender, complete with large spaces to fill the day with everything that a mom needed to remember. It was helpful and cute in an originally Sandra Boynton-whackadoodle sort of way.

This year is different. This year I'm going through a divorce and I'm broke. So I decided to wait until after New Year's when the calenders were 50% off to find the perfect one that would make me smile when I walked into my kitchen. The unforeseen problem with this was, that since I was hitting the after-Christmas sale, I was also hitting the after-Christmas leftovers. I'd gone to Barnes & Noble excited. It's a nerdy thing to get excited about, but still. What would I pick on my first year on my own? Would there be a single mom's calender? Maybe something to do with writers? A coffeecake of the month calender perhaps? No. There was instead "Sock Monkees 2010." "Trout 2010." And most notably "Outhouses 2010."

I flipped through that last one, which someone had taken out of it's plastic to get a better look at I guess and then decided against it, and I thought, "Hey, I could put this in the bathroom." Then I started giggling at the kind of notes I could fill in at random dates just to further confuse guests who use my bathroom. Maybe I would just make scratch marks to indicate that I was counting something, but not specify what that thing was. I would definitely fill in one of those days with something like 21 marks, some number that would make someone's eyes go wide and suddenly feel uncomfortable. But then, to be taking your pants down in someone else's house is already a bit of a compromising act for whatever reason, and I would imagine that I might have trouble peeing if I was sitting across from such a calender. No, no, I thought. I'm too gentile of a hostess for that.

I left Barnes & Noble without getting anything, but now that I look back on it "Sock Monkees 2010" might have been fun.

When I got home, I decided to look on-line, thinking that there might be more available. And there wasn't, really. I also did a search for "single mom's calender," which produced nothing. But then, what would such a thing look like? "February 14th - Get drunk and cry." "December 25th - get drunk, look at pictures and cry?" Would it come with a skull and cross bones sticker to put on the day of my anniversary? I think I would rather "Outhouses" or "Trout."

What I found, eventually, was what seemed like the perfect one. It was called "Coffee Talk 2010." As you all know I kinda dig on coffee. A lot. Almost more than talking. This was a wall calender of 50's-ish looking men and women, looking polished and super enthused and saying things like, "I'm just plain EVIL without my coffee." I looked at this as something whimsical and different from my usual choices. A conversation piece, perhaps.

It was Claire, my conservative 10 year old, who discovered the flaw in it when it came in the mail and she curiously flipped through the months. She had asked to look at it before I had a chance to and because I was wrapped up in something else, most likely dishes or laundry because that's mostly what I do with my life, I told her to go for it.

"Um...Mom," I heard her say tentively from the kitchen. "Did you know this thing swears?"
"Swears?" I poked my head in the room.
Claire turned the page from February to March. Her eyes widened.
"Moooooooom," she said, uneasily. "Why did you get this?"

The month of February isn't too too bad, though still inappropriate for the kids, I think. It's a dad patting his daughter on the head saying something like, "I love you too. Now where's my damn coffee?" The next month is a secretary at a type writer. She has curly blonde hair, rosey cheeks and a jolly smile. She's lifting her cup of coffee, a toast to you it seems, and she's saying, "Coffee takes away 20% of the shittiness of my day." I decided to donate the calender to my sister, April, who's 2 year old and three month old can not read.

So I was once again without a calender, lost in time. Until I went to my friend Brenda's pet store in the French Quarter and she gave me one for free because she's an awesomely fantastical person. I almost didn't take it. I love animal calenders but I'm partial to the endangered ones, the ones who are hurt, mistreated, or otherwise exotic. In other words, "2010 The Year of the Kitten" would not appeal to me. The one Brenda offered me was different though. It's Tillman the Skateboarding Dog. Cute doggy calenders rank down there with kitten calenders for me. I wouldn't have chosen Tillman or paid for him, though I must admit, that dude can tear it up on a skateboard.

But then I realized that my Tillman calender really is perfect. It's free and I'm flat broke. This is where I am in life, working hard to stabilize life for me and the kids, cutting corners where need be, and relying on the love, generosity and silliness of my friends and family. This month, Tillman is featured at the Rose Bowl Parade, his rosey likeness riding a skateboard on a float. Next month is a picture of an officer giving Tillman a speeding ticket. You get the idea. It does make me smile in the morning, when I get up to brew my coffee. It takes away 20% of the shittiness of my day (smile).


Tom said...

"Moooooooom," she said, uneasily. "Why did you get this?"

Hahahahaaa! Like there was some kind of ulterior motive other than, "to keep track of what's going down in the hood, kiddo!"

I have one calendar for the new year that doesn't suck. My aunt gave it to me. She gives me a calendar almost every year, or at least for several years running now. This month the photo is of a Dodge Dart convertible with a Hemi in it. It's the automotive equivalent of profligate swearing.

My word verification is "rockstr," which is not only some sort of hiking boot, but also a maneuver on Rock Band whereby you can play a guitar passage exactly like Lita Ford.

Genevieve said...

Dodge darts remind me of the guys from "Car Talk" on NPR. They're always going about those things.

You and Mel have the most interesting word verifications. Mine is "impro" which sounds like some sort of internet slang.

Tom said...

I was wrong. It's not a Hemi (as near as I can tell, anyway), but it is supercharged. And it's a Dart. Guess you can't have everything.