Shut Up, That’s How

The Next Family

By: Ann Brown

Urban Dweller mom running on empty


Shit. My coffee cup is empty.

Well, there goes today.

I might be a little low energy lately, in that I just took a little nap between the part of this sentence that came before the comma and this part, after. Fuuuuck, it took me four tries and ten more minutes just to explain that. And now I have to hit “save” so I don’t lose this masterpiece.

It’s all too much.

And I am not getting up from my chair to walk to the kitchen and make more coffee. What am I, an Olympic athlete?

From my desk I can see out my window to the street in front of my house. In the past twenty minutes, I have witnessed:

A college-age exchange student from Japan walking to the corner, carrying a large briefcase.

A ponytailed woman in a North Face down vest and lycra shorts alternating running steps with a sort of hop-hop thing during which she pumped her fists in the air.

My mail carrier pull up to my curbside mail box and get out of his truck to bring me an oversized package to my door.

Two happy children running to the school bus that awaits them in front of their house.

A Subaru Outback with skis, bicycles and canoe strapped to various parts of its experior, pulling out of my neighbor’s driveway, the clickclickclickclick of its snow tires announcing ADVENTURE as it takes off.

Why do I even live in Oregon?

Oh wait, I have to hit “save” again. FML.

When I moved here in 1995, I thought it would be the perfect place for me. All this rain, all this gloom, ice, volcanoes, Powell’s bookstore, Voodoo Donuts – a person could assume this entire state stays home in its jammies, reading, eating baked goods, making soup and catching up on TMZ.

A person would be wrong.

Maybe it’s just that since Molly passed away last May, I haven’t taken my daily hour-long walks to the river. Or even the five minute walk to the entrance of the state park. Or even gotten up from my chair to make a second cup of coffee. And I just figured that it was that way for everyone. You know, since I didn’t see anyone in the park or at the river. Or in my kitchen.

Now, as it turns out, I have completely missed an entire wave of fitness.

Claire recently posted a question on FB about P9OX. Instead of a million comments asking what the fuck that is, she got a shitload of testimonials. I commented that my current fitness regime revolves around working on my personality, instead.

Claire wrote: How’s that working out for you?

I wrote: Shut up, that’s how.

I wonder if being clever burns up calories. Oh. Never mind. I just got on the scale and realized that either answer is bad news for me.

My son turned me on to a new travel show on PBS. Now, I already watch Globe Trekker and Equitrekking all the time. Because I am so cutting edge and fuck the man and shit. And sometimes when I am watching it, I think to myself, “that could be me”. I know what you are thinking – how the hell could it be YOU?

Shut up, that’s how.

But this new show, the one my kid recommended, is something else. It’s called THE SEASONED TRAVELER. Have you seen it? Of course you haven’t. Because you aren’t a jakillion years old and lobotomized.

This show is a half hour, slow-paced, fast-acting sedative in which endless, shuffling groups of baseball-capped, be-caned, see-through plastic rain bonneted, Lil’ Rascal riding tourists strike poses of feigned interest (I think some of them were actual cardboard cutout people. I could see the grips standing behind then, holding them up and moving them along with the crowd) while a leader points to various spots on a wall and they all nod in agreement. Yes, a wall. Very historic. Which country is this, again? Oops, I peed.

This show is, in short, my fountain of youth. I LOVE it. I feel so young and energetic when I watch it. Finally! People so unfit and in need of a nap that even I can make fun of them. Except the incontinent ones. That hits a little too close to home for me.

I have so much more to say about this, but the show is starting right now. I think they are going to actually exhume dead ex- travelers for this episode.

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