WAR & PEACE, EPSON SALT BATH WITH BABY, AND THE YIN YANG CONTINUUM

After chomping on carrots dipped in Sweet Baby Ray’s Buffalo Wing Sauce, I took a hot epson salt bath with the baby yesterday until we were both hot and red and puffy. OMG to lay back and watch the baby play, try to capture and arrange these floating red, purple, yellow, orange toys . .

I’ve never read War and Peace but in the bath I let my mind wander and I hoped Leo Tolstoy wrote about the yin yang continuum and the mutual existence of conflict and resolution and synergistic good/bad blend at each and every moment.

I heard on a podcast that the blood cells in our body are constantly at war but because I didn’t want to misparaphrase and because that sounds awfully unscientific and imprecise I googled it and clicked on this medical encyclopedia website and sure enough: “Think of white blood cells as your immunity cells. In a sense, they are continually at war.” The podcaster was making the point that conflict is inevitable and essential, and that even on a microscopic level, life is overturning life constantly, in favor of a new norm.

Even though I’ve never read War and Peace I leaned forward in the tub and turned the hot water handle and more hot water came out and I hope that the book is about this Tao idea that every moment is a coin with two sides—light and shadow, mmmmm good and oh no wtf.

I hope this for many reasons.

I hope this because yesterday afternoon my boss told me no more partner stretches to open my English class or ballroom dancing to study vocabulary because the risk of inappropriate touch in this political climate and I said yes sir I understand both because I respect my boss and how diplomatically he handled this situation and others but also because I very much want to keep my job. But underneath the sheen of understanding and chin-nodding, I feel a simmering errrrrgghhhhhh, which translates roughly as: this culture is a toxin that’s killing humans and the planet. One no touch regulation at a time.

I hope War and Peace is about the yin yang continuum because yesterday I woke up at 2am because I lost my nose ring in bed and my heart wouldn’t settle back down and I didn’t know that passionflower tea or tincture would help like someone on FB suggested and so at 3pm I felt delirious tired but in the bath I felt what i imagine calm must feel like.

I hope this because I told my boss that I would stop doing partner stretching and I would honor my job contract which states that I will teach students how to do proper academic citations and evaluate their work based on standard A, B, C, D, F metrics, and that I won’t disparage old-time authors like Flannery O’Connor because some faculty have dedicated the entirety of their life work to studying her.

I hope for the yin yang continuum theory because I’m 31 years old and it has been the same thing since elementary school when I got a yellow demerit because I went to the library without first asking the teacher’s permission. One demerit meant I had to miss recess for a walk and take the piece of paper home for your parents to sign it, but the paper never it made it home, I just got good at signing my mom’s signature.

I hope this because this girl in my grad program commented on Facebook that while I referred to myself as a professor in a FB post, I’m not actually a professor, that I’m merely an instructor of record and I think about whether and how to reply and I try to take in all the various factors about consider all the various approaches from silence to shout but I’m in a bath of eucalyptus epson salt with my 7-month-old and there’s this really good playlist called Happy on Spotify and it begins with Coffee by Sylvan Esso and it has lots of other good songs and I just don’t care about Facebook or job titles.

I hope for good bad continuum theory because I'm in the tub and all I really care about now is writing and carrots and Sweet Baby Ray’s and hummus and resurrecting the kefir water grains that I keep killing in the oven and the baby and making time for sex and taking the butternut squash out of the oven so it can go in the crockpot for dinner.

I hope this because I’m an instructor of record not a professor and it’s still the same as kindergarten and elementary school and middle school and high school and college and law school and grad school and now the workplace, it’s still obey obey obey.

I hope this because even the lush afternoon bath with music and carrots and baby and salt is taking it’s toll. Even though the heat is good for EllieRoo’s constipated little baby bowels, every time she looks back her cheeks are redder and redder and I get worried that she’s getting too hot, that maybe she’ll pass out in the tub with me.

>>>NOTE TO THE READER. I like to write a new note every day, but in light of the new administrative no touch rule, I think I’ll keep yesterdays. Babies need touch. That’s what Google says. Both psychologically and physiologically. I think we’re all just large babies. With permanent teeth. Underwear instead of diapers. Paleo diet instead of breastmilk. If these Alt Dad Diary posts touch you, touch me back. You can support me and my diary project by sharing a post, writing me a note, or with some cold hard cash on Patreon. For more details, check out patreon.com/altdaddiary. I always say this but it’s true. Even $1/month (or 3 cents a day) is galactic, because think about how sustainable that contribution is in the aggregate. Namaste and feel your innermost tree ring and Happy Monday.

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