It’s 10.34pm and I’m hunched over the PC’s keyboard. I have a hand raised with the intent of smacking the monitor into Computer Hell – a place where it will be eternally recycled into cliché-shaped Tupperware or beige-coloured feminine hygiene bins – when Reservoir Mum bursts into the study fresh from a workout in our home gym.
‘How’s it going?’ she says.
I Wanna Be A Wolf!
‘If I had claws instead of fingers I’d have no eyeballs to see you right now.’
‘Oh, so you’re a psycho?’ she says, with eyebrows raised.
‘The new website is awesome,’ I say. ‘I love it. And all the attention it’s getting is cool. But I’ve been sleeping a maximum four hours a night for two weeks and I am so fricken over reformatting articles and replying to emails and sending out website stats and answering the same questions… I just want to write some new content…’
RM shrugs. ‘It’s all pretty exciting though…’
‘And do you know I haven’t spontaneously danced in days?’
‘That’s a not a good sign,’ she admits.
‘No Nutbush, no Cabbage Patch, no Electric Wave…’
‘You can’t even do the Electric Wave,’ she says, jealously.
‘I haven’t even been possessed with the desire to try,’ I say. ‘I put MC Hammer’s “You Can’t Touch This” on this morning. And I played it loud, okay? But I felt nothing, RM. Nothing.’
‘Were you wearing the pants?’ she asks.
‘No… good point. But still, I’m getting a tad concerned… do you think I might need Viagra?’
When I turn away from the bastard computer monitor to look at her she’s smiling and looking all sweaty and hot and it forces me to raise my wolf-ish snout to the air to search for her scent. When I catch it things begin to stir. ‘It’s okay, I don’t need Viagra’ I say, as I breathe out, eyes still closed. ‘How was your workout?’
‘Great. Pauline was here and I was spotting her while she was squatting and I said, so, our new Ford Territory’s being delivered on Tuesday… because I thought I’d already told her about it… but then she just about killed herself trying to turn around to look at me with the barbell on her back and I realised I hadn’t.’
I laugh. ‘What did she say?’
‘She was just shaking her head. She couldn’t believe Ford just chased you down to see if you’d like to drive two of their cars for two months…’
‘It’s simply insane,’ I say.
Just as excitement and wonder is beginning to bubble through the fatigue and frustration I turn back to the monitor and suppress it. There is so much monotonous work to do and I just want to do the work I love – writing. When I drum my fingers on the arm of the computer chair I imagine them growing into long sharp claws and the temptation to scratch out my own eyeballs is almost overwhelming.
‘I’ve opened my life to certain forces, RM. They’re circling my website as we speak, and even though there’s the potential for mutual benefit, I feel a beastly wariness. The hair is bristling with a need to protect…’
‘Stop being dramatic,’ RM says. ‘You’re not a wolf.’
‘Yeah, but…’ I say, my enthusiasm shunted. ‘… I wanna be a wolf.’
‘This is what you’ve always done when there’s the chance to make money,’ she continues. ‘You find an excuse to pull out or to put things on hold. You’ve always said you want to get paid doing what you love. I don’t get why you’re seeing negatives in this.’
For a minute I sit there, slumped, wanting to counter her argument but knowing she’s just about spot on. ‘It’s requiring more of my time… and the house is pretty messy,’ I say. ‘I feel bad about that.’
‘We can live with the house being a little messy for a while. The kids and I don’t care,’ she says. ‘In the past few weeks you’ve won a blogging award, got a new website, been interviewed on radio and TV, been offered two brand new cars to drive, signed with a blogging agency, interviewed celebrities, been hunted by an Italian newspaper…’
My bottom lip wobbles a bit as I interrupt her to say, ‘And don’t forget last night’s phone call.’
‘Exactly.The thing what you’ve always wanted,’ she says. ‘This is just fun. The boys love it. You’ve got to remember to enjoy it. Get all the technical stuff out of the way and get back to writing.’
All of a sudden I’m a little chipper and RM’s smile is always a winner and the fact that she’s loving this crazy ride is a great reward. ‘You’re right,’ I say, as I click through my selection of 80s classics and hover over “You Can’t Touch This”.
‘Plus,’ RM says. ‘If you get busier and start making some money we might just have to look at changing things around a little.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘Well, maybe I do a little less work so you can work from home. We can share the home stuff more.’
Even though RM and I have always maintained we’d be flexible in our approach to how we structured our life, her nonchalantly delivered comment has almost struck me dumb with awe. ‘But you love your work,’ I say.
‘Most of it. There’s some of it I just do because it’s good money. But if you were earning around the same amount I could maybe have another day at home, do some more of the kids stuff like canteen duty and excursions.’
RM giggles a bit and shrugs and heads towards the hallway and as I watch her recently exerted buttocks rising and falling hypnotically I see a vision of myself riding a wave of rainbow-coloured magic and it’s as I’m ‘hanging ten’ and laughing hysterically at the weirdness crashing with force around me that RM looks back to leave with a wink and these words, ‘And remember, you’re not a wolf.’
‘Oh but I am, sweet princess,’ I whisper to the empty doorway.
Strangely, the emotion I have experienced during this small exchang has sharpened my mental focus. I turn to the computer and close down the website admin and the half written email to Dana from Creative Jack Management and when I open up Microsoft Word my top lip curls to reveal a nice set of flesh-tearers. A guttural growl comes as I paw at the earth.
For me, the real thing in all of this is taking life as it unfolds – from one day to the next – and committing it to a fresh white page. I’ve done this forever and I never want it to end.
When MC Hammer repeats ‘You Can’t Touch This’ through the computer’s speakers the Electric Wave takes a hold of my left hand, unannounced, and transfers its funky rhythm through wrist and shoulder, flesh and muscle and by the time its currant passes through my right hand my fingers are tapping at the keyboard…
and I’m away!
*Main photo by Alan Moyle – Photobat