For my Christmas list, I wish to do a great deal of good deeds that don't go unpunished, like backing out farther into a bright yellow post that left a huge paint transfer on my car so a nice person leaving See's Candies can leave a primo parking spot for me. Or writing letters to manufacturers asking them to create the "Beta Parent." The Beta Parent comes custom made to look just like you or Dad, and plays ping pong with six year olds (great hit son!) and three year olds (oops, I dropped the ball, hahaha. oops I dropped the ball, hahaha!) and comes with automatic, positive dialogue like "Fingers belong in your lap instead of your nose," and "I'd buy that for you but it's not on the list," and "How would you feel if..." And responds to every answer with "tell me why" and "you guessed it." Kids would listen to the Beta Parent, because they know that, just like the nanny, the Beta Parent doesn't really care that they eat three meals a day of protein, good carbs, veggies, and fruits, and that they get enough sleep, but the Beta Parent can even lie in a child's bed and has a light snore function, perhaps even a nightlight and a built in library of classics such as Good Night Gorilla, Hot Rod Hamster, and Once Upon A Potty. The Beta Parent's slogan would be: "Hey Parents! Buy Yourself Some Time!"
"Ho ho ho," Santa would respond. "That sounds like a really self serving Christmas list, Liz. "
In that case, I would humbly nod my head and admit to my selfish desires and ask instead for everyone to get along and love each other, and Santa would say, "But how will you write historical fiction twenty years from now?"
"You've got a point there, Santa. Perhaps a housekeeper and cook for a day?"
"Now you're back to self serving."
"All right, I'll take the motorized Godzilla action figurine then." (I have a friend who is a urologist and would let forth a litany of crass jokes at this point.)
The other day, while I was on my way to see The Nutcracker (doctor friend, insert crass jokes here) I was driving one of those roads adjacent to the sidewalk where no one in their right mind walks unless they've got one of those complexes where they truly believe they will never be run over by a wayward car while swaying back out of the bike lane on their mountain bike or jogging halfway down the middle of the road. I came up behind an Acura, and the driver stopped in the middle of the road with no stoplight or stop sign in sight, and began texting. Now unless they received a text that said LCL SWGE PLANT EXPLD GIANT CLOUD CMNG UR WAY there's really no excuse to stop like that. Slamming on the brakes, I swerved past muttering unintelligible words as the driver of the Acura stared out the window at me, trying to decipher what I was mouthing. Since I have kids in the car, and I am a lady, after all, what came out of my mouth was "Hey you!" with a pointed finger like an old school marm and off I went to the ballet. I began to ponder the concept of time, and whether the Beta Parent was such a great idea after all. Texting is an amazing concept, and a great way to keep in touch socially. Professionally nowadays, there's no excuse not to stay connected, so texting saves a lot of trips for parents who work in an office.
So it appears we have a paradox between what makes things easier, and what can make life harder in the long run. Beta Parent, off the list (although I might consider a day rental someday). Defensive Driving, on the list. Texting on demand, off the list. Texting while waiting in response to important subject matter other than "Hey, what r u doing?", on the list. So, this Christmas and from henceforth, I'm going to buy myself some time with some extra care. It costs a lot less than careless mistakes.