On the night of the full moon in July, I closed my Mac, zipped it into its pretty pink case, and put it away in an experiment to find a simpler, freer summer experience. I decide to find out what life would be like without my Mac on my lap.
Just in case it turned into an epic fail, I didn't tell anyone about this.
And here it is.
My summer 2010 memoir: Eat. Sleep. Fork.
The best part of not having a laptop on my lap has been cuddle time with the kids, one tucked under each arm on the oversized stained green recliner.
We ate ice cream by the gallon, popcorn by the bowl, and spent an inordinate amount of time at Olive Garden (mostly laughing).
I ordered M&Ms on everything, and ate them plain (by the nibble; by the handful) in dark movie theaters, laughing.
Meanwhile, something beautiful happened.
After ten years of being waken by crying infants, breastfeeding babies, screaming toddlers, happy bouncy children who couldn't sleep past 7am on weekends, the kids sleep late.
Let me be extra clear. BOTH of the slept late, day after day over and over this summer.wonderfully dangerously late, past Regis and Kelly, past Let's Make a deal, sometimes even past The Price is Right.
The house feels quiet these mornings while they sleep, like the lovely silent pause after an intentional crescendo.
Because I couldn't write, I spend my vacation mornings in a stupor watching seasons of On Demand programs so vacuous their titles even now disappear deliciously out of my head like merengue melting on my tongue. I shamelessly gluttonously continue to stuff myself with junk TV, eat ice cream, and do absolutely nothing but count how many more days I have left to do absolutely nothing.
The only problem I came across in those delicious hours curled up on a recliner was a persistent and recurring itch on my back right behind my brastrap, right where I really just couldn't scratch.
I tried to twist agains the chair, to wriggle and squirm to get the itch scratched but no luck; it just got stronger.
Next to me was an empty mug of ice cream, a fork and a napkin.
I wiped the fork off with the napkin, and although I knew I was alone in the house, I looked around before leaning forward and slipping the fork down my back to JUST the right spot.
As it hit the spot an involuntary "ohhhhh" slipped out me before I could purse my lips and look around.
I kept scratching, moving the fork up and down behind my bra, shuddering with pleasure and relief, trying to keep myself as quiet as possible and mostly failing.
Again and again that day and the next while the kids are sleeping, distracted and otherwise gone, while I am alone, during repetitive commercials on On Demand that are too short to fast-forward through, I pull my fork out (it is mine now, I marked all over it with a red sharpie so that its precious tines will never be immersed in another meatball) and find those elusive itchy spots and scratch them until a little line of drool runs down my chin.
On the third or maybe the fifth day of eating, sleeping and forking, I call my Mom.
"Mom, I'm sorry I haven't called, I've had nothing to say because I haven't done anything because I've just been sitting in this chair watching TV and scratching my back with a fork."
She laughs, "Are you calling for absolution? Is this confession!? You're forgiven.... "
"Oh no," I answer, quicker than she'd expected. "I do NOT want to be forgiven, lady! I'm calling to BRAG about the fork...."
From there, the conversation goes to the kids, to Project Runway, to Abuelo.
A red package of takeout Chinese chopsticks pull my eye and distracts me from my Mom's story.
"Mom, I have to go,,,,"
"OK," she says, not asking why, just letting me be free, because she's easy like that.
Because she doesn't ask me, I decide to tell her the truth. "Mom, I have to go because I just found some chopsticks I want to tape to my fork to make it even longer.... "
The kids came home before I could find tape, so I don't follow through on my plan, deciding it's some spiritual principle to accept the fork just the way it is.
That night turned into the next night, which turned into another week and then another which now I"ll remember as the summer I spent away from writing, happily eating, sleeping and forking.