Tuesday, February 26, 2008

My 15 minutes of fame

Last week I was a guest on "The View From The Bay", a local afternoon talk show which includes cooking tips, interviews with a movie star plugging his latest release, and hints on how to defuzz your old sweaters. I was on as a 'mom comic' promoting an upcoming one-woman show, and it was a wonderful taste of celebrity on a minor, mixed level. On the one hand, it was a real thrill to be asked; lots of my friends saw it (especially the ones I asked to watch!), and people who didn't even know me saw it and came to the performance - wow, TV exposure works! And it was really fun to be in 'the green room', where the producers offered me an array of snacks and water bottles, and to chat with talk show hosts who really are as personable as they appear on camera. On the other hand, the hair and makeup people were only there for the woman who was the 'After' in the makeover segment, so there I crouched trying to make myself look 10 lbs. thinner, while a crowd of experts ignored me. Plus it turned out the hosts & crew had a location shoot immediately afterwards - since I was the last guest, that meant that 10 seconds after I was done, the studio was completely empty until a production assistant remembered he'd forgotten to show me out.

But the weirdest part was realizing what that kind of exposure must be like for people who are out there every day, given the range of people we all deal with. I mean, huge celebrities probably have a coterie of attendants who follow them around, but there have got to be some B-listers who buy their own groceries and drive themselves to the mall. So there are salespeople, accountants, and aestheticians out there, seeing someone on TV and thinking, Hey, I just did his taxes! I just talked her into a brazilian bikini wax! I kept thinking, if my hairdresser sees this, she's going to yell at me, I know I didn't do it the way she does!

My 15 minutes may be over, or just starting - but it's fun to have kids in one of my classes say, Hey, I saw you on TV! You're famous!, or to email my mom a link to the website with clips, saying, Okay, NOW do you understand why I didn't go to law school?

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Maternal Schizophrenia

Sometimes I am overwhelmed by the combination of feelings I get for my kids. They drive me nuts AND I love them intensely. Over the past couple of weeks they both had bouts of flu, and nothing tugs at your maternal heartstrings like a wan, feverish 11-year-old looking up at you with big puppy eyes saying, “Mommy, I’m sorry I puked on the rug!” Or a 14-year-old with a horrible racking cough, worrying that he’s being babyish by asking you to sit with him and rub his back til the cough subsides. And nothing is more frustrating than having two siblings who are too sick to go to school, but healthy enough to be bored, to be cranky, and to pick fights with each other.

When I was a single mom and dating Scott (otherwise known as Husband 2.0), after a long spell of no overnight visitation, the kids finally started spending Wednesday nights with their dad. On the first weeknight, I was out of town on a gig and flew back just in time to plunge in and pick the kids up. I called 2.0 from the airport while I was waiting to board my flight, and ended up sobbing, saying, “My first weeknight off from kids, and I didn’t get a break, and I’m going right back into kidland!” The following Wednesday night, I had no gig, so I dropped the kids off and went over to Scott’s apartment, where I had a huge bout of maternal angst, worrying about how the kids were doing, how weird it was to be without them. Scott gave me a puzzled look – “Last week you were sobbing because you weren’t getting a break from your kids. This week you’re sobbing because you GET a break – which is it?” And as any mom can tell you – it’s both! They drive you crazy AND you love them intensely and I guess that’s what keeps us dealing with their fights, rubbing their backs, and cleaning up their puke.

On a less disgusting note – one night I came upstairs to find Ben, my 11-year-old, cuddled up with Scott in our bed, reading. The sight was so touching, I burst into tears, and then had to explain that I was crying because I was happy, a concept which made no sense to Ben. However, it apparently made an impression, because the next night, as I approached the bedroom, I heard Ben saying, “Quick, get over here, let’s make mom cry again!” (Like the scene in Annie Hall where Woody Allen tries to recreate the escaped lobster hilarity with an unimpressed date – it just doesn’t work a second time!)