It Was Animation, I Know by Lenore Weiss
It Was Animation, I Know
Concentric rings settle on me. I am enclosed within a set of wooden dolls.
I am trying to reach the smallest, the one that is not hollow.
I gauge my days according to how they start. Today a box of Cheerios spills on the floor. I cajole my daughter about what shoes to wear, what dress to wear, what color napkin to stuff inside her lunch box. She says it must be red, runs around the house and squirts me with a bristle block gun and I squirt her back with my fingers; she must have her jellies, her tap shoes, no she can’t wear them. It must be the pink shoes, then on to the disaster of a blanket that is soaked with pee and she must have it before she agrees to have her teeth brushed, which is never easy on the best of mornings. She sits on the toilet with her finger in her mouth and refuses to cooperate. I repeat the mantra from Sesame Street about cooperation and realize what a powerful concept this is, the idea that we get our own way only some of the time and must consider the wishes and needs of others for the rest of the time, truly revolutionary for an only days away three-year old. Her hair is knotty, the brush hurts, finally we get out the door; she trips over her blanket. I sling bags onto the front seat of the car and buckle her into her car seat, take a deep breath because I have made it, start the engine and insert the tape that we always listen to during our ten-minute ride to childcare.
My car is a toy chest of dolls that join us for the ride.
I press the brakes and heads bounce.
John in the next cubicle told me about how crews are laying fiber-optic cable everywhere, part of a new MAN (Metropolitan Area Network) linking government buildings to computers. Soon calls will be routed via ISDN lines with a small camera poised on top of our computer so we can talk face-to-face. Which comes first, the ring or the face? Yesterday at Toys ‘R Us, Pocahontas costumes appeared everywhere. My son and I waited near the customer service desk for his sister’s bicycle to come out of the warehouse. Her birthday present never came.
After an hour, we taped a sign to the wall,
“I Died at the Customer Service Desk.”
A man with a cellular phone rushes through my dreams with his braided beard. Red and gold threads run through it. “The jewels of the city,” he intones, looking at the glass swept by a sanitation truck, wire brushes moving outward from the curb, a kind of Brillo pad four feet in diameter, scouring the street and sweeping the broken glass from car windows into a tower.
I am riding in a Comet Mercury, driving with my parents to the mountains and getting carsick. I am sitting in the backseat and holding my blanket.
A box of tissues is rammed against my left side.
I make a dent in the box.
Convert to Path
Newspapers, coffee cups, and tissues, the detritus that gathers at the bottom of my car and rolls to the front when I stop, everything is a Gaussian blur, a patchy cloud in my throat. I am a woman driving around town with many addresses, each for a different school district so I can transfer my son up the hill where there are only 36 kids to a classroom instead of 42; where children don’t lose pieces of themselves like Michael who guards the liquor store in a plaster cast one summer, with a limp the next.
I can’t understand the district administrator. He tells me about category one schools, category two schools, why aren’t there just good schools? Head honcho will convert the formula by this Wednesday. Forget everything, he said. I don’t know what he said. A headless teddy bear rolls under my brake pedal.
My daughter tells me only magic things sparkle.
When you use any constant, it goes straight into the object code and runs fast. When you use a variable, the computer has to load the value from RAM and slows down the process. When you use a pointer, the computer must first fetch the pointer and then deselect it to obtain value, an even slower process. Obviously, indirection slows down the computer in much the same way that it boggles the mind.
The minute you draw a pair of eyes,
anything can be a pot lid. It lives!
© Lenore Weiss
Lenore Weiss grew up in New York City, raised a family in the Bay Area, and currently resides in Louisiana. Lenore’s collections include Tap Dancing on the Silverado Trail (Finishing Line Press, 2011), Sh’ma Yis’rael (Pudding House Publications, 2007), and Cutting Down the Last Tree on Easter Island (West End Press, 2012). Her most recent poetry collection is Two Places (Kelsay Books, 2014). She teaches a memoir class at Ouachita Parish Library in Monroe, Louisiana and serves as the copy editor of Blue Lyra Review. Her blog resides at lenoreweiss.com.
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