Kids, No Chaser

The Great Paternity Leave of 2007: Is Over

Monday, May 07, 2007 posted by Henri

Yeah that's me. That dude with the potbelly and too short tie. And that face? That face is the face I make returning home from my first week back at work. You know looking back at my month off I guess there were a lot more things I thought I would accomplish. My great American novel is still at 5 pages long...the exact same five pages it has taken my ten years to write. The same five pages it was at when I started my leave. I did eat a vegetable, that was nice. And home projects? Yes! The moat that has been guarding our front yard ever since I had the concrete ripped out to fix a leaking pipe, that has finally been filled in. The strangest thing though is the fact that I really didn't blog much during my time off. It's like tomatoes. You have to stress a tomato plant into thinking it's gonna die in order for it to produce a really delicious tomato. You treat a tomato well and it really doesn't give a crap about what it makes. I once appeared in an anthology which included Charles Bukowski and Allen Ginsburg. Man I thought that was pretty cool. I always thought Bukowski did his best writing when he was pressed a bit, living on a candy bar a day or later on working at the post office doing a job he hated. Life is a wringer that sometimes squeezes out amazing beauty. So back to writing...The good stuff always came when I was pretending to be drunk, hopeless and lost. I say pretend because hell who am I kidding, I've lived a charmed life of privilege and had everything handed to me on a silver platter. But I say this in hindsight. At the time I thought I was a tortured artist. And I'm sure my kids will be slumming in the streets of Hollywood drunk and smoking Lucky Strikes, feeling cool and tortured at some point in their lives. I'll try not to laugh in front of them when they go through that phase. And that's the thing...young adult angst/depression/ridiculousness only seems silly in hindsight. The actual feeling of despair or loss or reeling, feels the same. Whether you want to judge it or not...pain is pain. So today when my kid hits his head I know that by next year, the same kind of head-bonk wont hurt as bad and he won't cry as much, but this year, this moment, I think damn that's got to hurt and I hold him tight. And I don't blame him for crying now. And when he's 16 and bitching about how life sucks and no one understands him and listening to EMO crap in the stereo of his brand new environmentally friendly car that Daddy and Mommy bought and smoking cigarettes because cancer is cool and he doesn't want to live past 23 anywayz...I won't laugh directly into his face. I'll laugh when he's not looking but pretend I'm coughing kind of. Because the pain that he feels is legitimate, the cause might be silly but the pain itself is real and it's important to separate the two. Crap I'm rambling again. What was I here to talk about? Ahhh yes pain. The pain I feel in this picture...well maybe that's all the magic of Bloggywood with like special effects to make me look dumpy considering the fact that I am a chiseled golden god. But driving home at the end of this day I had the weight of the work routine pressing against me, sitting shotgun, asking me where I've been and asking me aren't I'm happy to be back. It was so beautiful this day...driving past a melted freeway, the spring sunlight filling my car, a clear view of San Francisco off to my left, the hills of Berkeley and Oakland to my right, a gigantic ugly Ikea off the freeway...hmmm anyways...I knew I needed something. So I call the wife, tell her to pack up the kids. Get home, change cars, I knew exactly where we had to go to reinflate my soul. It was hamburger time.

Our home is 30 minutes from downtown San Francisco and also 30 minutes from Napa. This is really beyond cool. Leave the house and make a left, you're in North Beach eating at Tomasso's. Make a right, you're in Yountville dumpster diving at the French Laundry. There's nothing that revives a person like cruising out to Napa with the wife and kids after work.

Destination: Taylor's Automatic refresher in St. Helena.

Now there is a Taylor's much much closer in the Ferry Building. To which I say Baaaahhhh Humbug. I hate that Taylors. Taylor's Refresher, for those of you who have never been, is a really cool hamburger place off the side of the road in St. Helena with these picnic tables with umbrellas on a sea of green green grass surrounded by a white wooden fence...and at dusk there are lightbulb strings over your head which filters warm light down to you through that distinctive smokey haze of a roadside burger stand. And sitting at a picnic table on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in Napa with a rootbeer float and my kids and my wife and my cheeseburger made me realize that although I am back to work again, I am a different man. I'm a man that never really came back from his paternity leave.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey henri...your slideshows are the best, esp. when they involve food! can't wait to grub w/ you guys in SF next month!

11:49 PM


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