When I Don’t Have Rehearsal

by Esther Emery

Today, I…

Click through to a comments thread knowing full well that it will make me see red. 

Become deeply discouraged by the ability of the American middle class to divorce our politics from a global context.  From any context.  

Consider installing parental controls on my own computer.

Compose a 3.5 page (single spaced) letter asking American women to consider the global context of anti-feminist economics, particularly the causal association of the Women’s Movement and the current struggle of the middle class, aka Two Income Trap.  It begins, “Women have always worked.”

Disagree with my own main points.  Throw it away.  Return to the news and bring myself to tears reading about starvation in Congo.

Play with my son, who is 97th percentile in weight by American standards.

Enjoy radio coverage of the toilet on the International Space Station.  This, for some reason, makes me feel better.

Visit the Peace Corps site.  I’m not eligible to volunteer because I have a child.  Draft some points for a future post called “Why I Bring My Baby to Work.”  

Make a small donation to the United Nations Population Fund, the international development agency that links sustainable development to reproductive health and gender equality.  I am satisfied with the small amount.  My 25 dollars can buy more for them than it can for me.

Think of the lessons on cultural insensitivity and imperialism that are present in The Listener, and pray that my money travels without strings attached.

Money never travels without strings attached.

Check in with Jen Lemen, who just returned from carrying several boxes of love and art to Rwanda.  I don’t make a donation to her because it is not in my budget to go around making two spontaneous donations every day, even at $25.  But I soak up her faith.  I budget her into the month of June and imagine bundles of money wrapped in beautiful, brightly-colored strings of hope.  Strings that bring us together.  Strings that empower and do not bind.

Get my son ready for bed.  He is learning language.  Sounds. “Buh buh buh.”

Go to work.  Work tonight is the Cygnet Theatre forum on A Number, Caryl Churchill’s play about human cloning.  The first commenter compares it to Genesis.  “The sons are like Cain and Abel,” she says.  I nod.  That thought is too big for my words.  Mostly, we talk about process.

Come home and look in on my sleeping baby.  I am haunted by the shadows of the emaciated, the bitter, the hopeless and the smug.  He is full of peace.

I borrow his ignorance.