word on the street #2: no one ever is to blame

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music from across the alley. howard jones from the 80s: no one ever is to blame. at first i think, blech. and wonder why someone would advertise that kind of musical bad taste so loudly. but then, of course, i find myself singing along. you want her. and she wants you.

and i suddenly i remember it being one of my favorite songs back in the day. it couldn’t have been because of the lyrics; at the time i had no idea what it was about (a relationship that couldn’t be). it couldn’t have been because of howard jones’ hair (oh, my). i think it was the tenderness in the song: that it seemed to slow down and grieve something. i was just as intense as a teen as i am now and had already figured out most people were full of shit. that they weren’t honest about their feelings. that they weren’t really present.

it’s so easy to “check out,” right? i do my share of it. but i think i’m doing far less of it than i used to. everything around me is vibrant. plastic bowls air-drying on my counter: turquoise, orange, yellow. the coffee i pour into my cup: brown so dark it’s easy to see where the phrase “i take mine black” comes from.

yesterday, i had a chance to spend a few hours with my middle son, just the two of us. one of the things we did was make our entire lunch out of my CSA veggies. we grilled the squashes and ate them with oregano, garlic and goat cheese. we made a salad from the greens, the cukes and the purple basil. while we ate, we played a board game. every few mouthfuls, he said, “this is the best lunch i’ve had in a long time. holy crap!” (he’s 10, and it probably won’t shock you to know i’m loosey goosey with their choice of words as long as they learn when *not* to speak so freely).

it was the best lunch i’d had in a long time, too. we were right there. sitting on the floor munching our salads and answering trivia questions. it didn’t matter how we ended up in this apartment downtown. it didn’t matter who was to blame (no one ever is to blame, of course). it didn’t matter that it was 90 degrees. it didn’t matter that i’d be taking him back to his father’s house later in the afternoon.

we almost didn’t care who got the last piece of zucchini or whose move it was in the game, either. but of course we always knew whose turn it was. we’re a competitive bunch. the stinker ended up beating me by one point, and i *almost* didn’t care.


  1. I had one of those days with my middle son yesterday too. In fact, so much fun that he just came out and asked if we could do it again!

  2. I love that song & I refuse to be embarrassed. Also, Vincent, age 6, says “holy crap” as much as he can. And spending time with our boys one-on-one is the total best, and hard to manage. Which is to say, you rock.

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