Sunday, February 21, 2010

What Exactly Is "Free Time"?

Free Time, in my world, is an elusive beast that needs to be attacked and wrangled with strategic foresight and, if possible, leather restraints.

With my husband and son out for a couple of hours, I have the entire apartment to myself. This is rare. My husband works from home and my four-year old isn't in a school program. He seemed too young to be in school all day. I thought this was a good idea. At the time.

But "Now" is what is important. There are many options and I must pick carefully. I will not clean a thing. I will not lift even one Lego. The strategy is to do something that I absolutely can not do while they’re home. My husband could've at least given me a little heads up so I could plan. Dali's Persistence of Memory actually means something to me now. Which is completely unintended. I just needed a clock picture. But now I'm drawn in. Free Time is slipping. And drooping.

I could read a magazine. It’s so hard these days to just zone out with a good decorating or fashion mag without my son interrupting. “Mommy, I’m hungry. Can I have a snack.”

It’s already 1:28 p.m. My husband said they’d be back around 3 p.m. What was that? A threat?

I decide to watch “Singin’ In The Rain." My husband hates musicals and doesn't buy my "but, it's so existential" argument. This is a good time to watch. I really just want to see the dance scenes, so I also mend a sweater and my favorite double-breasted opera coat, a real show-stopper that I bought in New York City from a costume shop. It’s winter white with white embossed swirls. And I'm feeling theatrical. But I’m wasting time. I can always sew on my next visit to the Building Museum while my son plays.

Tap dancing. I haven’t been able to tap dance in a very long time. But I don't feel well. And tap dancing may not be the best thing for the onset of flu. It feels good to cross something off the list. Though, I bet a few head and body aches never stopped Debbie Reynolds.

Anyway, Chinese is more important. I think. I’ll listen to the news in Chinese. Or write some characters. I need to keep up my fluency so I can get a job after my son fires me (which he threatens when we butt heads). Something to fall back on in case this mothering thing doesn’t work out.

I know. I can work on my Chinese classes for children or that bilingual children's theater piece that is slowly brewing in my head. A surreal dream-scene from a British mystery I watched very late the other night gave me a great idea. All ideas seem great at 2 a.m.

Was that a key in the front door? Perhaps I'll make a cup of tea.

With my camera-phone, I take a picture of my mended opera coat and send it to my husband so that he can email it back to me. I haven't really worked out all the technicalities of this blogging thing. Another project.

He's disappointed that it wasn't a naked picture of me. He's joking. Or is he? My thoughts turn carnal. Dirty. With the image of the one sure thing I definitely can not do by myself right now firmly implanted in my brain, I hope that Free Time isn't the only thing that gets wrangled with leather restraints ends soon.