Sunday, August 13, 2006

Sugar is Sweet and Cookies, Too

When I was in college I had a roommate named Ruby who’s real name is Crystal but don’t tell her I told you.

Second semester she started dating this guy named Matt and I can’t say he was any improvement over her previous dating experiments. And that includes the professor who mysteriously accompanied us on late night Waffle House excursions and later utilized my bed to make his spit swapping move. Then Matt came along with his black floppy hair and his big dirty boots and the guitar case that always managed to be resting in my chair or on my bed or directly in front of the door that I was opening. As soon as I made a motion to remove his personal artifacts from my personal space he would roll his eyes and toss back his floppy hair, as if to say I couldn’t possibly appreciate the true deepness of his commitment to music and the bad-assedness of his manly tortured soul.

A couple of months later my friends and I packed up my Jeep and Brittany’s Grand Am and rolled south to the land of beach condos and loose-pooped sea gulls. In my front seat rode Matt, because his legs were long, he said. With him he brought a giant CD case full of Pearl Jam and not much else. Now, say what you like about Pearl Jam but there is nothing more annoying to me than the whining patheticness of Eddie Vedder’s voice. Someone give the man a pocket knife and let him slit his writs already.

For the first four hours of the drive Matt claimed dominance over the CD player, sliding in disc after disc of Pearl Jam, LIve! Pearl Jam, Live in Seattle! and Pearl Jam, the Acoustic Album! By the time we stopped for the night I’d had enough of his his music elitism and threatened bodily harm if my vehicle didn’t have brand spanking new occupants come morning. Naturally, my vehicle elitism won out over his music elitism and Mr. Matt ended up in Brittany’s car for the rest of the trip.

The thing is, I knew where this was heading from the very beginning. Crystal would never leave Matt and Matt would sure as hell never leave Crystal, which explains how two years ago I sat under an overcast evening sky and watched Crystal walk down the aisle in her beautiful white dress, clutching a bouquet of violently red roses, her face creased in a smile unbelievably nervous and happy. At the top of the aisle stood Matt, in cleaner clothes than I had ever seen him, looking almost regal in his tuxedo attire. His smile was less nervous and more goofy and I think that about sums it up. Because if I were him I’d be absolutely giddy that someone as bitchin as Crystal had agreed to be my wife.

Since then they’ve bought a house in the country, one with plenty of room for their three thousand dogs and two pet cats, never mind the added bonus of attack turkeys and stinging scorpions and no, I did not just make that up. As it turns out, Matt sidelined his music career for a hobby involving the byproducts of the outdoors and as all of my hobbies involve air conditioning, I really couldn’t tell you exactly what he does. All I know is that it involves survival skills and lots of dried deer skin. Before you think them country, however, please note that Matt practices Tai Chi every night on his front lawn and spends a lot of time identifying edible plants and reinforcing creek beds.

Ridiculously long history now complete, I can tell you that this evening I attended my first ever baby shower and if you’ve been paying attention, like, at all, then you’ve probably guessed the mom-to-be is Crystal with daddy-to-be Matt by her side. I won’t lie and tell you that I wasn’t confused by toilet-lid shaped pillows and $200 breast pumps but it seemed to make her happy in between the moments when she wasn’t scolding Unnamed Baby on the etiquette of bladder jumping and abdominal rugby.

Over the past couple of years we’ve had a few getogethers like this where a few of the Old Guard mesh with the New Guard and regale them with stories from bygone days of yore. Like last year when we celebrated the Summer Solstice by dancing around naked in Crystal’s back yard. Kidding. Maybe. But these get togethers are always fabulous because, like tonight, you get to squish on the couch with people you used to squish with on a dorm room bed or a big orange couch or a creaky porch swing. Back when we had no qualms about invading each other’s space because, hello, we were eighteen-year-old intellectuals with lots of time on our hands and the mysteries of the world to solve. Like how to use the leftover flat beer from Friday’s party by pouring it in ice cube trays complete with de-cottoned Q-tips. Voila! Beer Popsicle!

It’s just that, inside her belly is this little human and never before have I been more cognizant of that fact. Already she’s got a daycare picked out and last week she interviewed a pediatrician. Seriously. She knows the statistics on breast feeding and the theories on getting babies to sleep. And when she sits on the love seat with her husband she absentmindedly rubs her belly, taut with eight months of baby brewing. And her husband, my god her husband, he sits beside her and brushes her mass of hair from her shoulders and it hits me that this man loves my friend, her loves her so much I can’t even make jokes about fat kids and cake. They’re going to have a baby together. A wee little nugget that’s going to slam the door in Crystal’s face at fifteen and smoke pot in the garage, thinking the smell won’t travel. But they are wise to your ways, little nugget. And I promise, it really is for your own good.

Tonight as I was walking to the door, Matt came up behind me and gave me an unexpected embrace. I realized then and there that he was no longer part of my life by proxy, he was the man in charge of taking care of Crystal. Just as Crystal is the woman in charge of taking care of Matt. They fit. And they made a baby. And I no longer think of him as the guy who put his feet on my bed and made profound statements about grunge music.

He’s the man who awkwardly cradled the six-week old baby of one of their friends, alternately swaying and bouncing and bouncing and swaying until he finally found his rhythm with a nice gentle sway-and-rock.

Kiss Kiss, Hug Hug and Good Luck



Carl from L.A. said...

In another month or so, Papa Matt and Mama Crystal wouldn't know what hit them, despite all the research and the $200 breast pump. But that's the fun about parenting, you have to use your best instinct and then just wing it.

Are you back, Robin? If so, welcome back.

tamtam said...

that was really sweet. hopefully someday we all find that kind of lovin'

Drunken Chud said...

eddie veder is a fucking hack. and a lousy piece of shit for ruining every cover song he ever touches. WHO THE FUCK THOUGHT IT WAS A GOOD IDEA TO LET HIM COVER THE BEATLES???????? fuckin' piece of shit.

hey, congrats to your friends.

PJ said...

that was beautifully written birdie.

Amanda said...

this seriously made me tear up. i love me some men w/ babies. good job my friend. (even though the shower stuff sucked.)

duckie said...

looks like you needs ta find you a man and makes you a baby!