Friday, August 21, 2009

Why Sleep Deprivation (Like Drugs) Is Bad

So, yesterday, the absolutely unthinkable happened to me. Whenever 911 is involved, I tend to think it's "unthinkable".

I'm not one of those people that loses her keys. Ever. And I'm certainly not one of those people that locks her keys in her car. Ever.

It had been a rough morning. My little guy was being a bossy, demanding two-year old, as two-year olds will. I decided the cure for what ailed us what getting out of the house, maybe a zip of caffeine. I decided to meet a Mom for story time at the local library, but I was exhausted and tired from lack of sleeping at night. My toddler and I ran into Starbucks to get my something with zip (Vivanno), and a kid milk. Once outside, I proceeded to toss his kid milk onto the sidewalk, and was instantly furious with myself; there was 1/2 inch left in the cup. There was a quintessential hangs-out-a-lot-at-coffee shops dude with his laptop, surveying the damage. I stuck the two drinks on the car hood, strapped Toddler into his car seat and was going to offer the last 1/2 inch of milk to him.

Because, you know, couldn't waste a penny more than had already been splattered over the sidewalk.

I fumbled the two drinks, local paper, and my purse.. then proceeded to throw what remained of the milk onto the passenger side seat and door panel.. milk was everywhere on the passenger side, all over the glass, all over the seat, and most importantly, the door panel. I tossed my purse and keys, Vivanno, and paper onto the passenger seat, grabbed some napkins and started wiping down the car. I was so furious with myself, so I wiped it down hard, setting in motion the next chain of events.

I had no idea what was coming.

I finished the wiping, and someone was trying to pull into the parking spot beside me, so I slammed the door shut. I tried my toddler's door, to check on him. Locked. Tried the passenger door. Locked. Raced around to the driver's side, locked. MY TWO YEAR OLD WAS LOCKED INSIDE WITH MY CELL PHONE AND KEYS. It is probably 89 degrees outside.

I started repeating the mantra "OHMIGOD, OHMIGOD, OHMIGOD" loudly, and out of nowhere, like an angel, a Mom appeared with her cell phone, muttering something about how it was falling apart, telling me to call someone. It was pink. The back was falling off. The words she was saying barely registered.

I called my husband. We figured out it would be a minimum 30 mins for him to make it with the spare key, so I called 911. As I dialed, crazy, irrelevant thoughts raced through my brain. The only other time I'd called 911 was to report a smoking vehicle on the highway. Would they think this was, in fact, an emergency? Or some crazed overprotective Mom who was two shots short of a latte? Was this phone going to hold together? Why was her phone pink?

The fire department and police showed up in about TWO minutes. I watched the big red shiny fire truck pull up and told myself this wasn't happening. Then I told my toddler, through the window, helplessly strapped into the carseat, that there was a big red shiny firetruck behind him. He raised his eyebrows, tried to crane his neck.

Every minute that ticked by was an eternity. The firemen worked like clockwork, gathering a group on each side of the car, each with a slim jim, successfully getting the wire into the car, but unable to pull the locks open. I parked myself outside my toddler's door, shielding him from the sun, began to sing him "Twinkle Twinkle", and then I saw it. The open mouthed, noiseless wail of a hot, scared little boy. He looked at me in panic. "What are these men doing? Why are you out there? What are they doing to our car?"

I put my hand up on the glass, and really started to lose it. He was hot. He was really hot; little bullets of sweat were forming, breaking on his forehead, trickling into his open mouth. He kicked his shoes off, furious at his entrapment.

Something happened to me then. I cleared my voice, wiped my tears of helplessness, and said in a very loud, clear voice to the fireman with the slim jim exactly what the lock button looked like, where it was located, and how you must push it. A calm came over me that I still cannot explain. Enough was enough, we needed him out. Now.

They took 20 minutes to get the doors open, right as my husband showed up. The look I got from the husband was not one I wish to relive, that of pain. Tormented relief.

The very scary thing, and why I decided to share this, is how quickly my toddler got hot.. really hot. I was shielding him from the sun, and we have tinted windows in the back, and he was still sweating. PSA: Now you know why you have a duty if you ever see a kid locked inside a car on a hot day.

After the whole ordeal was over, a Mom that had witnessed it came over and gave me a hug and kiss and said she was there, crying with me. I hugged all of the firemen. It was quite a scene. Everyone was fine, including my toddler, whom we took inside Starbucks to get cooled off, where they gave him a free sample of sticky bun. Swinging his shoe-less feet, on my lap, sipping water.
He was good. It was ME that still needed to recover.

I didn't get him another kid's milk.


Friday, August 7, 2009

The Truth About Bees

Have you ever watched a honeybee die? It's the saddest, most logical, sensical thing in the world.
Yesterday, I sat in an Adirondack chair, overlooking a gorgeous glacier-made lake, and watched a beautiful bumblebee die. Or, I can only imagine it was dying, it was acting strangely enough for anyone to misinterpret it as dying.. or crying, or possibly praying.

My family spends the summers on Cayuga Lake, in the Finger Lakes of upstate NY. This area has been described many ways by many people, but it is definitely gorgeous (to reference the bumper sticker.) So, sitting here with a good book during the Toddler's nap is actually a difficult venture.. do you watch the lake? Or stare at your book, thinking of watching the lake?

In this case, I watched the bumblebee, fully aware of the sheer luxury that is sitting in a chair and watching something for any amount of time. Trust me, I'm savoring it. I've had several Zen-moments on our trip up here, and this was one of them.

The most curious thing he (or she) did, as he was dying, was pause. S/He would stumble around, the very tip of the bee tail would slowly lift up, then down. Pause. Then quickly up and down. The wings would spread out, gather, spread out, as if searching for something; and just when he saw it, and was about to take flight after it, fatigue would set in and the search would begin anew.

For half an hour, I watched this dance. The invariable Dance with Death. Life as he knew it was ending, and it seemed a welcome change from the busy duties of beedom. But it made me immeasurably sad, to witness this slow demise, the creeping around, the slower flicks of the tail. At one point, I looked down, and I could see both giant bumblebee eyes, staring straight into mine. I know this seems a bit alliterative, because of the obvious: bees have no conscience thought, or wisdom, or ability to look us in the eye. Do they?

He crawled, wiggled, spread wings, danced, flicked tail, turned in circles, raised his antennae dutifully in attention, and I played his witness. The whole process seemed tragic, yes, very sad, but also redemptive. Logical. He had accomplished what he'd set out (let's assume), he had played his role in the great Universe with grace (let's presume) and - once the World was without this particular bee, life would resume.

Such a sadness, I felt, in watching him die slowly. To have the knowledge that this made sense, of course he was dying, that was bitter sweetness in its truth. I think we both came to the realization gradually, over time (since thirty minutes is quite a lot in bee-time.)

I found myself staring at the lake again. Thinking about the length of time we're here, about the life cycle of a bee. How much ground had he covered in his short time? My mind, wandering, immediately drew several connections. I'll share those another time. The lake was still a deep blue, the sky mirroring the color.

I looked back and he was gone.




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