and then this happened
still. be that as it may, there is one thing that happened that i would like to tell you about. it happened about a week ago. i was at work. it was about 4 pm. i got a call on my cell phone. it was the nanny. "gee," i said to myself. "i bet the nanny wants me to pick up some milk or maybe some more blueberries, which my daughter can't seem to possibly hoover enough of into her tiny blue-turning face." (incidentally, our little smurfette has been pooping blue for about 12 days now because she will eat nothing except blueberries. at least she's eating ... right?) so i answer the phone. "hello, nanny!" i say with jocular jovial jocularity. "want me to pick something up?!"
nanny: "sob sob cry sob weeping sob cry YOUR BABY cry sob weep weep I'M SORRY snivel weep snuffle sob IT WAS AN ACCIDENT!"
mr nice guy: "i am having difficulty processing what is happening. it appears that you are crying and repeatedly saying my baby's name. once i recover from these five simultaneous coronaries, i will become irrevocably insane. please try to tell me what's happening in english."
nanny: "sob sob THE DOOR IS LOCKED cry weep whimper BABY IS INSIDE."
mr nice guy: "oh. god. no. god."
so there you have it. what happens once has a habit of happening again. history (and hysteria) is doomed to repeat itself. the nanny was outside of our apartment and the baby was inside. and i could hear the baby crying over the phone, through the door, over the understandably extreme distress of my nanny. and so, having been in this selfsame situation before, i took a deep, calming breath and murmured to myself: HOLY SHIT MY CHILD, WHO CAN WALK, IS LOCKED INSIDE THE APARTMENT ALONE WITH FLYING JAGGED KNIVES ON FIRE AND SWEET-TASTING DRANO A-BECKONING FROM EVERY WET OUTLET!!!!!!!!!! and, of course, my wife who i love with a burning flame of love-fire and adoring love, is not answering any of her 13 phones or email addresses. as usual. she is none the wiser. lucky wife.
so i tell my boss as calmly as possible: "um, i have to go home a little early because my nanny seems to have locked my INDEPENDENTLY MOBILE CHILD alone in the apartment alone without supervision and alone." my boss, who i will love forever, said "ok, bye."
by the way, it takes me at least 45 minutes to get home. no matter what.
so i left the office and i ran in circles like a meth-addicted headless chicken in search of a taxi. it being rush hour, i found no free taxi. i did, however, notice that something deep inside my wounded knee at some point went CRUNCHCRACKLEPAIN but i was too stoked with adrenaline and dadfury to care. so i descended into the bowels of our fine cellular-free subway system. i caught an express train going in more-or-less the right direction up to a point. when that point was reached, i got off the train and ran up the stairs to the street (feeling and, more worryingly, HEARING my knee go click-clack-crack-fuckyou-click-asshole-crunch-eatme as i ran) in search of another taxi. i found a taxi. it was 542 degrees outside and because i was en route from work, i was wearing like 9 layers of clothes. i was soaked from every pore. (people, do you want to know how many pores i have? no. you don't. i have a lot of pores. and they are all too eager to deliver sweat directly into my 9 layers of work clothes at a moment's notice.) as i hopped into the cab, i had my 6th heart attack in 20 minutes as i envisioned my unsupervised daughter eating fresh cat feces.
so i get into the back seat and i say BROOKLYN PARK SLOPE FAST BIG TIP NOW. and the cab driver, i swear on my own future grave, says verrrrrrrrrrry slooooooooooowly "aw, man, i just came from there. no." and my head, right before it explodes, manages to say I WILL PAY YOU MORE MONEY THAN YOU HAVE EVER SEEN IN ONE PLACE AND I WILL EVEN DRIVE THERE MYSELF AND PAY ALL SPEEDING TICKETS FOR THE LOVE OF GOD GET ME TO BROOKLYN OR I WILL KILL EVERYONE YOU HAVE EVER LOOKED AT.
and he goes "ok, ok." and he starts driving. i look at my cell phone and i notice that i have one voicemail, which i am convinced is from the morgue. reluctantly i check the message and it's my neighbor. and he says "mr nice guy, CALM DOWN. we broke into your apartment. EVERYONE IS FINE SO YOU CAN RELAX. also, i hate you."
as i begin weeping uncontrollably, i try calling the nanny. she answers her phone. but she is STILL CRYING! hmm. calmly, i say "so everyone is ok, right? and by everyone i mean my daughter and if she's not i will ruin you." and she says "yes, she's fine. she's laughing. she has no idea anything went wrong -- the whole thing lasted 10 minutes. i am so sorry." and at this point it becomes possible, instantly, to become the most magnanimous dude this side of warren buffet and say "oh, no worries. i've done the same thing once before. we're all human. ha ha!" of course, if things had turned out differently, i would currently be serving 914 consecutive life sentences.
so, that happened. when i got home and tipped the recalcitrant cabbie $800, i found the baby sitting in her bath, splashing away. the nanny was still visibly frazzled, so i gave her a tall glass of wine. i hugged my daughter. everyone was alive and healthy and alive and together and alive. there have been moments in my life when i thought i knew what it meant to feel relieved. i was wrong. this is what relief -- pure, gluttonous relief -- feels like. relief is delicious. i could eat it all day. my baby was just fine. hallelujah, or however you spell it.
ok, so it's a week later and i still can't really walk without limping and my knee is quite possibly an official goner, but you know what the best part of it all was? i got to go home from work early. all in all, parenthood is awesome.