Have you ever noticed that on any given day when you are running late, you suddenly cannot find your car keys, your pantyhose has a run right up the front shin, and all the dogs escape out the front door and you have to spend 30 sweaty minutes chasing after them in high heels? My Dad used to claim there was a committee that arranged these circumstances for us — custom-orchestrated them, in fact. This would be the same committee that sends you an astronomical fuel bill just after you’ve gotten your tax refund money.
I’ve just had a committee-run day, and it’s not even noon yet. School is not in session this week, and I thought this morning to try to get a little extra shut-eye. But the phone rang at 7:30 am, after which, in my fitful and pathetic attempts to sleep a little longer, I began having bizarre and unpleasant dreams punctuated by the dogs announcing that there were goats at the front door. The farrier then arrived to trim horses’ feet and catch up on all the horsey gossip, and on his way out, the “terrible two” lambs + Mr. Newman Goat escaped out the gate, and while I was trying to round them up, the neighbor drove by and cheerily informed me that one of my steers had gotten out into the neighborhood over the weekend while I was out of town.
Chewing over that disturbing piece of news, I trudged back up the hill to fetch a can of corn with which to bribe the errant ruminants back inside the gates. Inside the house, Derry the Dog presented me with a decomposing deer foot, and I happened to notice that the trash can had been overturned and rummaged through, coffee grinds liberally spread over the kitchen floor.
Right around this time the phone rang and it was my client needing something urgently, which sent me running to the computer, but all the dogs decided it was time to go outside so I had to jump right back up to act as canine doorman.
I’ve long maintained that being an adult isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Have you ever noticed that the older you get, the more things seem to be invented explicitly to annoy you? Just for example, I don’t remember getting junk mail when I was in college. No one offered me twenty thousand dollars in lines of credit on a regular basis, and I rarely had to deal with people wearing grey suits. Saint-Exupéry in “The Little Prince” has the problem of adulthood pretty well nailed down (“adults just want to talk about ties and golf”), but he forgot to address the problem of the men in grey suits.
Michael Ende who, about 20 years ago, wrote a little-known German book called “Momo” knows all about these men. They are the time-stealers. They convince you to invest your all your time in their accounts, but they never let on that you’ll never get that time back. “Momo” would be on the best-seller list, but I quietly suspect that the men in grey suits worked their grey magic to prevent that from ever happening.
As I further contemplate the chains of being “responsible” and a “good citizen” and a “person who pays her bills on time” and rail against letting the grey men rob me of all cheerful rebellion and creativity,as I trudge back down the hill with my can of corn to fetch my animals, preventing them from escaping out into the unprotected, sometimes evil outside world, I realize that there is another aspect of adulthood that is quite OK. If I have to hustle to get enough jobs to pay the farm bills, if I have to clean up foul-smelling animal offerings, and if I have to spend my last bit of energy shoring up the fences, at least I know that inside the gates here, there are some of the happiest, most carefree animals you’ll ever meet.
I guess it’s just my karma and my honor to serve out my adulthood as their handmaiden.
Till next time,
Star Gazing Farm
A haven for retired farm animals and wayward goats