Betty Duffy

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I Asked For a Fish and He Gave Me Shrimp Pad Tai, Brazilian Fish Stew, Sushi, and Seared Sesame Crusted Tuna Salad with Ginger and Cilantro.

A week or two ago, my husband let me know that he was going out of town this week. This sort of thing happens all the time, because his day job requires him to be somewhat on call, and while he works out of the home, he travels to different labs throughout the Midwest, and occasionally has to return to his Biotech mother ship in San Francisco or DC. Being the sensitive man that he is, he discerned that right now would be a good time to jerry-rig a way for me to come with him, which is how I find myself currently sitting on a tightly made king sized hotel bed just outside of Washington DC. By Saturday, I will have been here a whole week, with no kids, quietly reading, writing, and making occasional field trips into the city. I promise, that after this week, I will never complain again—for I have very obvious proof that there is a God in Heaven who really does answer the prayers of the weary. “Ask and you shall receive.”

So here, I’m sending out special thanks to my Mom and Dad and my in-laws who have taken turns watching the kids this week. And to my husband who made the arrangements with his boss to come to DC rather than SF so that we could drive, play the ABC game for ten hours, and not have to buy a plane ticket. Big Kudos to hubby’s employer for paying their engineers’ gas, food, and lodging on their trips so that this week, 8 years in the making, has come together, totally free of cost. And finally, thanks God for necessitating this trip during this month or two of my married life when I do not have a nursing baby.

Husband has to work while he’s here, which means I fill the hours between nine and five, however I see fit. In addition to much reading, resting and writing, I’ve been snooping around Georgetown to see how the other half lives (it’s not that great), I had lunch with two of my cousins who are also pregnant and live in the DC area, I’ve been to the National Gallery of Art, and to what is quite possibly the largest thrift store in America. But my primary occupation on my outings has been to stay away from European men in tight jeans, so that people walking behind me would not be able to see how much bigger my rear end is than apparently all of the men in Europe. I don’t have this problem in Indiana, which makes me realize just how diverse the states of America really are.

DC is like another country where the residents are all from other countries. These residents are also all very well-dressed, and make me want to go home and repack my bag, which in the interest of saving space, contains only comfortable stretchy clothing and sensible shoes. The dumb thing is that I had no reason to pack light, because we don't have the kids with us, and I could have filled the entire rear end of the mini-van with stuff--but none of that registered until I got here. So here I am in geriatric fashion, when I finally have someplace to go that could accommodate a pair of high heels. This is a small problem--and not even a problem really--but just an irony.

When I had lunch with my cousins (who are pregnant with their #4 and #5) we talked briefly about what we would want to do if we ever went back to work, and in a stunning display of--I'll call it simplicity rather than shallowness--two out of three of us said we would be satisfied just to have somewhere to go that would require us to get dressed and talk to people. No need to change the world, here, no need for meaningful labor, just nice clothes and companionship. I'm going to go ahead and say that our ambition (or lack thereof) is a perfect example of the danger of the "Sex and the City" franchise to American women (even though I've only seen one episode of the show). It's probably also the danger of most fashion magazines which have us stay-at-homers believing that being a working woman is about how to change from day dress into evening dress just by switching around a few accessories. Daytime in these magazines is apparently strutting around a size 2 body for a bunch of Brooks Brothers models, and night time is having a coctail hour with the same dudes who have by now loosened their ties and ruffled their hair.

I know that the magazines do not give a realistic impression of what goes on in the working world (I actually did work as a teacher for a couple years), but if we think pop culture gives us negative body image, I'm saying that's just the tip of the iceberg. It's been years since I've had a subscription to a fashion magazine (though one of my grandmas passes on a Vogue magazine here and there), but I do see them in the gym periodically and in the check-out line, and I realize that I'm very susceptible to the lies they tell. Which leads me to Georgetown...for tomorrow.


'becca said...

so excited for you! have a lovely time and enjoy your quiet moments alone and the moments with your groom as you have time to enjoy company and conversations uninterrupted. I'll be thinking of you both and praying for a "lovelyer" day than the day before as they progress.
Love to you and Mr. Duffy.

Elizabeth said...

well, the key to looking not such homogenous mother material for and wear lip stick, nevermind your stretch clothing. that is what enables you to eat A LOT when you are pregnant, i remember and i loved it. i loved my huge appetite. remember, we agreed long aog, you can wear high heels to the grocery if you want! ecstatic for you that the trip 8 years in the making is so delicious it was worth the prayers and the faithful waiting, it was well worth it. eat some more pad thai for me and some tom yum guy soup ( which we always called some yum guy...yes, i really wrote that!) que rica vida!

Kate said...

I hope in addition to your eating and loving you're doing a fair amount of praying - then you can write your own book about your trip when you get back home. :)