The first time I heard this song, I told myself I’d one day name my daughter Veronica.
I held a baby this week. I don’t usually ask to hold people’s babies. I don’t rub pregnant tummies, I don’t touch stranger babies in strollers. I don’t ask a bunch of questions about their daily lives. I cannot tell a one-year old from a three-year old. I don’t know what a six-year old looks like that makes him different from a four-year old. I really don’t. I haven’t delved much into the world of children, and I haven’t babysat one by myself since I was seventeen. I’m just a little baby deficient, and it’s not that I’m selfish (although it’s probably that I’m selfish), but I figure parents have enough women grabbing at their kids all day — what good is one more?
But the other day someone shoved a baby into my arms, to make a joke, but then he walked off and I was left holding what can only be described as one of those perfect babies — you know the ones that just keep on smiling with big, huge eyes and for the first time I smelled that baby smell people are always talking about (which I think has something to do with onesies, and not necessarily babies), and then the baby did that squirming thing and I dropped her back off with someone else.
Tim stood in my office doorway a few minutes later. “Pam? Can I ask you something? When you were holding the baby? Did it make you want a baby?”
“Here’s all I think when I hold a baby: ‘I hope to God I don’t drop this thing.’”
“Yeah, that’s what I think, too. Maybe you just have to hold more babies.”
“I’m sure that’s part of it. But also, maybe I’m just not a baby person. I like other people’s babies. I really do. They’re great.”
“You don’t mean that, do you?”
“Did you ever read Running With Scissors?”
“He had the best line, and it’s exactly how I feel. It’s horrible, so I’m going to whisper it, but it wasn’t until I read it that I knew that’s exactly how I feel when I’m around kids or babies.”
“I can’t wait to hear this.”
“I’m afraid I’m accidentally going to fuck the baby.”
“Jesus Christ! That is the worst thing! And you’d do it on accident and… oh, I get it. I get it. That’s a perfect way to describe it.”
“I know. I wish I wrote that line, it’s so perfect. And you know, I once dropped a baby, so that’s part of it. I was six, and I dropped that baby on her head and I’ll never forget that and I shouldn’t go near anyone’s baby. Ever.”
“But you didn’t look like you were going to drop that baby.”
“But I looked like I wanted to drop the baby off?
“”I don’t know. I just thought I’d ask.”
When I hear “Veronica” these days, I think about that baby I don’t have, that I don’t plan on having anytime soon, that little girl I’m supposed to want these days because other women my age are off trying to have their Veronicas and there are days when I can imagine spending the day driving around with my little girl — going to the library and then maybe the museum before we go home to color — and then there are days when I imagine Veronica standing in the living room, having just peed herself because she’s crying so hard asking me, “Why aren’t you ever home, Mommy?”
And that’s why Veronica isn’t around yet.
So when someone asks me, “Hey, isn’t it time you popped one out?” I just want to shake him and scream –JUST BECAUSE I GOT MARRIED RECENTLY, THAT DOESN’T MEAN I HAVE TO START HAVING KIDS!
I swear, the question comes up all the time, from strangers and friends and friends of stee. And always with the words “squirting” or “baking” or other verbs I don’t yet associate with my pretty, pretty pussy.
[Whoa, I just wrote three words there that crack me up, but I realize are way more blue than I normally do here at pamie.com. Fuck it; I’m leaving them.]
When someone asks me if I’m getting ready to have kids, I always have that image in my head of Veronica, sad and damp, dangling a teddy bear in one hand, and my feet ache from standing all day and I’ve literally spent the day cracking jokes about genitals, and I’m just not ready to have someone so completely dependent on me.
It’s such a personal question. Why does everybody feel entitled to ask? How can “Are you ready to bring another life into this world?” be considered small talk?
I just want to counter with, “I’m not sure. Hey, do you ever worry that you won’t leave this world having made a significant contribution? I mean, I know you have a job and all, and maybe even a family. But do you ever worry that maybe it’s all for nothing, and in thirty years you’ll look back on everything and realize you wasted every single second of your life and now you’ve got nothing and nobody and your entire existence was bullshit and there’s nothing you can do to change it and right when you vow to do something to make a difference you’ll get cancer and die? Do you ever worry about that? Just curious.”
………. I think I’m a little angry today. Sorry.