Dog puked in kennel. 4am. Put pad in the tub. Wiash later. Replaced pad with blanket. Back in bed. Couldn’t sleep. Lights on at 4:45am. Timed the dog poop jog around the neighborhood. 7 minutes.
Trying bulletproof coffee for the first time. Not bad. Freshly ground, organic coffee. 1 heaping tablespoon grass fed butter. 1 heaping tablespoon coconut oil. Mix, mix, mix. Not bad. Not bad at all.
Quiet house, Mouse and peanut gone, I’ve been thinking a lot lately. My mind surface-boils stuff from weeks ago. Stuff I said. Stuff other people said. Critical stuff that I pretended to take objectively-diplomatically, but apparently that was just a personality front, because it’s still there splintering me.
In the classroom yesterday, I told the students about my teaching debacle. I was honest. I’m struggling with whether the syllabus and textbook has anything of real value for you. I told them the prevailing wisdom is yes—reading and writing are tremendous foundational skills for anyone seeking to succeed in the work force. And then I told them that while that’s the prevailing wisdom, I’m not so sure. I told them how the market is changing so rapidly—technology, innovation. How is Shakespeare useful? The class consensus was a hybrid of Yes School No School. They said yes writing is a valuable skill set; but no, Shakespeare is not. And then I asked the practical question. Can you just YouTube how to write a professional email? I mean you can YouTube everything else. How to change your oil. How to tile your bathroom. How to convert a Honda Element into a Tiny House. Class—and this discussion— will resume next week.
After school, I took a nap and forked a few spoonfuls of sugar-free pumpkin pie. At 5, I took a thigh-shredding yoga class. Curious how yoga can be thigh-shredding? Hold chair pose for 3 minutes. Brutal. Or plank. Whew. Or reverse plank. Makes regular plank feel like vacation.
After yoga, I gave a candlelight Thai Massage. And after that, I drove home, drank some lime water, and went to bed.
The thai Massage dudette asked how my Christmas Break went. “I’ve been thinking a lot lately,” I said. Instead of bullshitting, I told the girl about my #metoo sexual harassment writing dilemma. Which is the fact that there’s this gulf of male silence (aka lying) on the issue. No one is putting out real-talk on the subject of male perception of women. It’s either dudes saying “oh yeah we would never do that, that’s abominable” or the culprits giving legalese apologies on the evening news. In the middle, it’s this massive chasm of hyper-volatile PC territory. Even the best brains with mouths, social commentators like Joe Rogan and Neal Brennan, plead the fifth by limiting their commentary on why harassment occurs to bald generalities like “guys just want sex.” And while this may very well be the case—that as a general rule most men see women in some degree as sexual objects (and that this objectification, this other-ness is the mental framework enabling rape, assault and sexual harassment)—it’s personally dishonest because they’re dodging the bullet of talking about how they themselves actually perceive women. Like, forget theorizing about men, and tell me about YOUR inner landscape. Hmm?
This is part of the reason I couldn’t post-dog-puke go back to sleep this morning. The reason no dude does this real talk is because it appears a no-upside proposition. Say some very astute, intellectual and well-respected guy says, “yes all men are cognitively wired to see women as sexual objects.” That’s safe because it’s a generality. But then say he verifies that generalization against the texture of his own experience. Say he says: “I, too, amble around the world and as a result of my own hard-wiring, my own DNA, I see a woman and one of the first lenses I see her through is the sex lens.” BAM! Job prospects, professional reputation, family. His wife! Now the whole world sees this guy in the same boat as serial sexual predators Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby.
Since nobody else has the cajones or chops, I want to have the talk. And I will. Explain my inner thought landscape a la women. But I need more time. Can’t just rip out a monologue. Needs care. And it’ll probably be a very lengthy post.
This is what I told the Thai Massage girl last night when she asked how my Christmas Break was. That I want to write about this, because no one else is.
Two more things I’ve been thinking about. Over Christmas Break, I was in Minnesota for two weeks. Which is where my two best friends live. Both men were in my wedding. One I’ve known since high school. One since college. Go way back. Kate kept asking me if I was planning to get together with them. I shrugged. A few days later, I texted them. They were busy and sick, respectively. A week later, they messaged me. This time I was sick. And then I left, flew back here. Meanwhile, Kate is scheduling herself a tour-de-force through her friend anthology. This girlfriend, that dude, this uncle, that friend of her mom. My friend count is very small. Why don’t I cherish these two few friendships during the limited window of get-together time? Still working on an answer.
The last thing I’ve been thinking about is this. Being a parent is a job and a half. Underscore. Bold. Exclamation point. While we were at home, and Kate was friend-touring, I was home with the baby for stretches of two, three, four hours. Which is longer than most stints here in GA. And damn, baby watching is an all-attention consuming gig. Even when the baby is napping, she’s on my shoulder, so my range of motion is limited. I could go on. Bottom line: i’s physically challenging to get anything else done. But the rewards, right? I notice subtle changes in her cough, her balance, etc. I know my daughter. Well simultaneously, I’m trying to grow grow grow The Alt Dad Diary. I’m listening to these digital media entrepreneurs from New York, like Gary Vaynerchuck, who work in skyscrapers and whose goal is to buy the New York Jets. Is he a good dad? Is Joe Rogan a good dad? He talks about his kids, but I know his schedule, and he does a lot of podcasts. A lot of stand-up shows. I can’t help but think that the more successful you are in your career, the less meaningfully involved you are in your kid’s life. That really, with only 24 hours in every day, it’s a binary trade-off between work and family. And I think this applies not only to parenting, but to marriage as well. The upshot is pretty severe: the more successful you are in your career, the less close you are to your kid. This is still at theory stage, but it seems a pretty firm observation.
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