One thing I never thought about while I was selling my company-- typical technology startup, we made WAPs that statically randomized BIPs for IIPs-- was, what the hell was I going to do all day once it was sold?
I worked out in the morning, and I found a favorite little coffee place where I could shoot the shit with perky little blonde chicks with nose rings. But I didn't want to hang out there more than an hour or so, turn into the old guy (all of 42) who keeps bothering the perky blonde chicks.
So then I found a park in the neighborhood which I'd never paid much attention to because it seemed to mainly be for kids. Now, though, it was kind of pleasant to kill an hour or so before lunch, listening to my iPod and watching the little buggers running around, laughing and yelling and burning off enough energy to power a skyscraper. (Note: idea for new startup-- harness kid energy)
It wasn't long before I realized that there were a lot of other people coming there every day, too-- by which I mean moms, with a few Caribbean nannies thrown in. Pretty soon I was nodding to a few of them as I arrived each day, and sometimes turning off my iPod and eavesdropping on their conversations.
The moms were all pretty much in the same place in life. They'd dropped out of their jobs to raise their kids, and they weren't exactly sorry they'd done it. But at the same time, their lives had gone from managing global marketing to managing full diapers and the equitable distribution of Cheetos, and they were often bored and desperate to have a conversation about something other than sparkly rainbow elves or who hit who.
I was just contemplating all this when one of the moms, standing a few feet away, turned to me and said "Isn't it amazing, how at this age they can just walk up to anybody and make friends?"
I pulled my earbuds out and saw who she was talking about-- a couple of two-year-olds who had just met and were now deeply engrossed in a game of making pizzas. "Yeah, it'd be great if they can keep that skill growing up," I said, somewhat inanely, but then I'd been caught a little off guard.
"I'm Julie," the woman said, offering her hand. She was typical of the moms here, the manner of a formerly buttoned-up business person but now she was dressed in a spaghetti strap top and gray sweats which neither showed off nor hid her broad, dumpy butt and the large mammaries smashed down in a jog bra. As I looked at her, though, I kind of thought the extra pounds softened her face-- once it might have been kind of harsh and angular, framed by blonde hair as straight as a ruler, but now, rounded out, she had a nice smile and even a dimple or two. A Mom face.
"Steve," I said, taking her hand. "Nice to meet you."
"Which one's yours?" she asked.
Aha. She might be striking up a pleasant conversation but there was also a little Mom recon in action, making sure the guy hanging out in the park wasn't a threat. Well, I didn't build a company without knowing how to bullshit past a gotcha question.
"The little guy-- over there-- in the Gap Kids outfit-- the one who's playing with the other kid--" I said.
She seemed to pick out one who she thought I meant from that description, and nodded. "He's cute," she said.
"Thanks. Yeah, he's my little tiger." We chatted about kids, and a little about our past work lives, and this and that-- you know, the stuff Moms talk about at the park. Eventually she and her kids had to go, so I said goodbye, and walked over toward the jungle gym as if I were going over to my kid, making sure she and hers were gone before I got there and had to pick one.
Julie and I chatted a couple of times over the next week or so, and I often got drawn into the broader conversations between several of the moms as well. As they talked about kids, and shopping, and their busy husbands, I began to pick up on a certain amount of personal frustration with their home life as well. I mean, with their life in the bedroom.
That got me thinking, in an idle sort of way. I'd usually dated younger gals, smart up-and-comers in my company who had, shall we say, No Problem with sleeping with the boss-- but now that avenue was cut off to me. And frankly, being of a certain age myself, well, I'm not saying that a pretty young thing with the legs of a giraffe didn't turn my head and stir my loins when she went by, especially in this day where they liked to show off half their pelvis, but I've always been ecumenical in my tastes, and hey, even if these moms had gotten a little chunky, well, some of them looked damn fine to me. I had nothing against big floppy post-baby tits, or a squishy round ass big enough to knead bread on.
I started finding ways to turn the conversation toward sex without bringing up sex as such. When Julie said something about not having any time with her husband as a couple any more, I jumped in. "I know, that's so important," I said. "You have to find that time together. I think that's maybe one of the reasons why we..." I trailed off, not wanting to invent too many details about my fictitious tiger's equally fictitious mom, from whom I was fictitiously divorced, apparently. But I bit my lip to show sadness and guilt. "Maybe you should get a babysitter and then go get a hotel room, so you're completely out of the house and the two of you..."
"Yeah, well, I don't know how much interest there is," she said ruefully.
"Really? My, er, hmm-hrm's libido really went up after he was born," I said. "I mean, sure, we were too tired a lot of the time, but she--"
"I'm interested," she said. "Sometimes I'm REALLY interested. But he..."
"Oh," I said. There was silence for a minute.
"Maybe if I can get rid of a few pounds--"
"Why?" I said sharply.
"Why?" She seemed surprised that the question even needed to be asked.
"Yeah, why? You look great. If you don't mind my saying so."
"No, I don't mind a bit," she said. "But you don't think..."
"Hell no," I said. "You look like who you are. There's no reason to try to shrink down to who you were in high school. You're the woman you ought to be. Don't think guys don't notice you and admire you, either. And if your husband can't see that and love it, he's a damned fool who's forgotten how he used to look at the moms when he was in high school."
"Really," she said, thoughtfully. And then she switched the conversation to storytime sessions at the local bookstore.
We talked about that kind of stuff for a few more minutes, and then she said she had to go. But before she did she paused, and I looked up at her, and she hesitated, and then she finally said:
"Maybe we could have a play date sometime-- our kids, I mean..."
I called up my former office manager, now a mom herself. We stayed in contact regularly because she got me weed. "Brenda, I need a kid."
"Well, first you got to find a nice girl, and then you got to get down with her--"
"No, I need to borrow yours for an afternoon. Wouldn't you like a break some afternoon?"
"Hell, take him for the week if you want. He's about to drive me-- Terrell, put the cordless drill down. No, it does not tickle the cat, it stops him from living. Don't make me come over there! Yeah, sure, no problem. You can have him as long as you want."
We rang the doorbell. Julie opened the door, with her daughter Courtney at her side, and then she looked down and her face clouded over. Of course, one thing I hadn't thought about until I picked Terrell up was the fact that he was black. Pretty light, his dad's Latino, but still, black.
"This is Terrell," I said to Courtney, and pushed him toward her. They immediately disappeared into the house to play.
"Funny, I remembered him being... Caucasian," she said, confused.
"I think it's wrong to impose rigid racial roles on children this early," I said. "Let them explore the different possibilities at their own speed, don't you agree?"
.... There is more of this story ...