Sunday, July 11, 2010

40 days to Bar Mitzvah: tick tick tick tick

Plenty of things can happen in 40 days. The moon will complete 1.4 cycles. I could grow a quite a beard. A home could close escrow.

According to Emcee A.J. Rogers, sent to our home this morning by his bosses at Denon & Doyle, the next forty days could see the release of many new, exciting, danceable songs, so don't make your 25-song "favorites" list until much closer to the 21st.

Two nights ago, as we wrapped up our vacation by sitting, completely ignored by the waitstaff at the Sea Shanty (contrasting explanations as to why: Me: we seated ourselves instead of waiting, so our karma bill has come due; the Jawa: everyone's out to get us; Sandra Bullock: What do you mean we're being ignored? Stop being so negative), it dawned on me that we were only 42 days to Bar Mitzvah. Fully aware that Sandra Bullock had woken up early the day before and created a new "Bar Mitzvah To-Do" list, I knew she'd freak out if she knew it was only 42 days away; so naturally, I had to say it: "Did you know that the Bar Mitzvah is in 42 days?"

The table froze. Temporarily forgotten was the terrible service we were getting at the Sea Shanty. "Forty-two days?" she said.

"Yes."

Do you want to know how to guarantee that you'll spend the entire four-hour drive from San Luis Obispo to San Francisco talking about seating arrangements? Tell you wife there're only 42 days until your Bar Mitzvah.

In 40 days, Noah managed to save several species of living being, cherry-picking the ones he like and inviting them onto his ark, where they'd stay for the duration of the great flood, God's beatdown on man. My belief in the validity of this story always runs into this: why'd he invite the mosquitoes?

Forty days ago, I posted in this blog while sitting in my cubicle, my back facing the newsroom, at The Examiner. At the time, I had no idea whether I'd be employed, freelancing or out on my tail 40 days later. Over the next 40 days, I'll probably go through two new sets of contact lenses.

Forty days is not enough time to lost a bunch of weight.

This morning, on my way out the door to look at houses, I grabbed my golf clubs from their usual spot. Since we have no "spare" rooms or storage space, their ad hoc roost is downstairs, on a chair next to the bed in our "guest alcove." When I came home a few hours later and went to return my sticks to their home, I found that someone had put two boxes of Bar Mitzvah-related stuff on the chair in their place. This left the grand total of downstairs flat surfaces not covered with boxes containing Bar Mitzvah stuff at three. I had to lean my clubs against the wall.

If I were to cut myself this week, the wound would still be healing on August 21. There's not even enough time left between us and the Bar Mitzvah for cuts to heal. The shirt I am wearing today? I might not wear it again before the Bar Mitzvah. The Jawa doesn't know it, but he might be seeing this blue polo shirt through the eyes of a child for the last time. The next time, he will be a man.

Not enough of a man for his parents to enjoy some time in the bar at the Schooner on a Friday night without freaking out because he won't answer his phone, though. Here we are on the last night of our vacation, thinking, "This town has a population of 2,000. Surely it is safe enough for the Jawa to go off on his own, buy some candy and play video games while we're dodging super-tan old guys in tank tops and flip-flops and looking out at the sunset at the Schooner."

This plan lasted the entire time it took us to walk from the candy store, where we'd spied a solo Jawa after our poor reception at the Sea Shanty, to the Schooner, three blocks away. By then I'd already concocted a scenario in which the Jawa is scooped up by some thrillseeking junkie surfers and shoved into the trunk of their 1964 Chevy Impala. Even as we ascend the stairs to the Schooner's outdoor deck, I am imagining my child's kidnappers tearing down Highway 1, our precious cargo terrified, banging on the inside of the trunk, even though no one can hear him over the hip-hop music. Why would they take him? Because we'd left him alone.

Naturally, you buy your child a phone for just this type of situation, or, as in the case of last night, to remind him to do his dishes after eating macaroni and cheese, but the kid never picks up. Three phone calls later, I'm sucking down my beer like Joey Chestnutt in front of a pyramid of hot dogs while simulataneously trying to continue to resemble a relaxed person so my wife won't pick up the vibe.

Too late. My phone suddenly rang once, then stopped. The Jawa's name popped up on my screen. It had to be his kidnappers. "Lets go," I said to Sandra Bullock.

I remember a situation like this several years ago, at the Brandeis Hillel Day School annual walk-a-thon. That time, at least five minutes passed while we frantically looked for our child who, we eventually found, was sitting in the cab of Charley Stern's vintage flatbed truck, along with a bunch of his friends.

For five minutes, though I tried to look cool, lest I end up to be that idiot who overreacted because his kid was out of his sight for 30 seconds, I was an a blind panic. "We're going to be those people," I thought, "whose kid disappeared during a school event."

Cayucos being a very small town, we had only a minute or so of utter hopelessness before reaching the video arcade, where the Jawa was busily playing that game where you try to snag a tiny bag of M & M's with a robotic arm.

"Why didn't you answer your phone!" we semi-shouted at him in unison.

"Huh? Oh, I don't get reception here. My phone sucks."

Forty days. That's one haircut away for the Jawa -- his last as a child, according to Jewish tradition. Over the next 40 days, if he's diligent, he'll change his hamster's bedding at least three times. Because he leaves for two weeks of camp on Saturday and we're going to Stinson Beach the weekend before the Bar Mitzvah, he has only one more weekend to hang out around the house before his Bar Mitzvah.

It also means I'll be posting a maximum of 40 more times. Then comes the difficult part.

1 comment:

Butter Goats said...

NO. Then it becomes "one day post bar mitzvah". And you keep writing.