Sunday, June 3, 2012

Where the Wild Things Are

After seven years away, my husband and I have returned to what had become -- at least in my husband's imagination -- our fabled Santa Monica home.  As I dragged him from England to Berlin to Boston in pursuit of my so-called career, Santa Monica became his Xanadu, a place where the sun always shined and all was well in the world.  Minus the morning marine layer, the former has been true.  The latter a little less so.  This is largely because we had both conveniently forgotten our humble Santa Monica abode is located right next door to an elementary school.  For a parent desperate to get their child into the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District -- as was the case with our reliable renters over the years we were absent -- this location is a real estate boon.  For a childfree couple in their forties, it is a bit of a cruel joke.  Life is like that.

The realities of living adjacent to a schoolyard have been amplified by the fact that I am working from home; when we lived here before I was away at an office for the school day.  Now all that separates me from the savages is a window and a ficus tree-lined chain link fence.  And that has been the most surprising part: six to eleven year-olds are, at least once they get on the playground, complete savages.  The self-consciousness and restraint of adolescence have yet to kick in.  These children shriek and trill and scream with all their might.  They stamp their feet and slam balls with violent force at every available surface, including that ficus-tree lined chain link fence.  On occasion a ball makes its way into our garden.  At first I dutifully returned them.  Then I noticed that my husband had started a collection in the driveway on the other side of the house.  The last time a ball came over, I, with only minimal shame, added it to the driveway collection instead of pitching it back over the fence.  We are well on our way to becoming that house on the street: the one where the mean scary adults live.

Speaking of mean scary adults, last night we attended a Maurice Sendak tribute at a local cinema, a showing of the Where the Wild Things Are.  Despite the fact that the film's protagonist, Max, was an elementary school-aged boy, I loved it.  There was something so poignant and true about seeing adult vulnerabilities and foibles dressed up in monster costumes.  (One of the monsters even shared my husband's name.)  Max ran and screamed and shouted throughout much of the film, but it was over after two hours.  And now I have a whole Sunday of peace and quiet before the savages return to my neighborhood.

1 comment:

  1. "For a childfree couple in their forties, it is a bit of a cruel joke. Life is like that."

    Or...karma ;-)