Friday, August 24, 2007

"Remember the Sabbath day, and keep it holy. For six days you shall labour and do all your work. But the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, your son or your daughter, your male or female slave, your livestock, or the alien resident in your towns. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but rested the seventh day; therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and consecrated it." That's the Fourth Commandment as it appears in Exodus rather than Deuteronomy. I went with the old school version. I'm an old school kind of guy. I'm so old school, that I remember when even middle class Americans used to lounge around. Now, through the miracle of technology, work can, and does, follow us everywhere. Work can come home, appear at the grocery store, pop at the mall, surface on vacation, and even follow us into the bathroom. If you're not busy with your PDA, cell phone, laptop, or headset, it might just be a safe assumption that you're unemployed. Even unemployment isn't any guarantee of rest. I'm unemployed, and I'm doing my best to put my sleeping time to good use. Now all I can do is try to train my brain to keep working when I'm asleep. I'm sure, however, that I don't have long to wait for a blackberry (or blueberry as my wife's mother has labeled it), that can be plugged into a person's head and set-up with a list of tasks to perform while said person snoozes. I hope we'll also be able to program in good dreams, good quick dreams that even parents have time for.
I had a quaint faux 50's vision of stay at home parenting when I embarked on the experience almost a year ago: not quite bon-bons and soap operas, but certainly the Price is Right and time with Betty Crocker and Bon Appetit. It's not like that. There's no roast beef in our house. Now we don't eat red meat, so that may explain that, but at least one day I'd like to greet my wife at the door in a nice clean house dress, an oven mit on one hand, and some fragrant faux meat and potatoes (the potatoes can be real) dish in the oven. We live in Levittown for crying out loud. The name alone conjures up forced 50's suburban bliss. I wanted to be a Stepford wife, but our Internet age has blown apart my dream. I'm sure mothers have never rested, but now I'm convinced they don't even think about it. A good mother isn't allowed to leave their kid alone for more than a second, even if the child is playing by themselves. Every moment is a teachable one, and every IQ point and hobby which will make them fuller and more dateable people is a mom's personal responsibility. A child is always at risk of shriveling up into a reclusive bitter un-bonded person. God forbid you send your child to day care. And, mom's now often have to contribute more than roast beef. Try fitting a job search into nap time. Plus, we're expected to be interesting, clued in, and, it turns out, women. The conundrum of gendered expectations is a topic for another blog, but it is a source of some stress producing angst. I can make roast beef if I have to, but a vagina is a little beyond my capabilities.
Anyway, all of this is my way of saying I'm busy. We're all busy. Too busy. That's why the fourth commandment may be the most important one. Forget all of the arguing about what day it should be on (yes, believe it or not some people spend time arguing over that), rest should be mandated. I mean, if God wanted us to rest, who am I to question the fucker, regardless of which of the fuckers he is and what statue I choose to worship him through. We all deserve, no need, a rest, even the aliens resident in our towns, provided we let them stay.

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