From only a few dozen episodes of Dora The Explorer my toddler has learned how to say “muy bien” and “gracias”, and I’ve had a major life epiphany the likes of which shall forever change my soul. A dumb cartoon is a powerful thing, eh?
The premise of the show is that Dora is a Spanish-speaking explorer. I know. You wouldn’t have guessed as much. There is her little monkey friend, Boots (a monkey… who wears boots), a sing-songing map named Map (whose most noteworthy lyrics are “I’m a map. I’m a map. I’m a map. I’m a map. I’m a MAP!”), and a whole of brightly colored vista in which your child can save a baby mountain león, dance with a shooting estrella, and find the sacred corona of a struggling, half-submerged mermaid kingdom all in a tidy 20-minute episode.
My son is clawing his hands through the air because when Dora says “subir” you subir, sucker. I’m contemplating cleaning the bathroom again because by the fifth chorus of “I’m a MAP!” dousing my hands in bleach and going elbow-deep into a dirty toilet sounds like a pleasant distraction. Instead I sit tight, listen to the map’s celebration about being a map, and lose time by the most dangerous thinking.
In the time since I’ve last written on this blog: Syria got in a bar fight with the world, I got a dog, some teams played football, some teams played baseball, Miley Cyrus lost her manners , her pants, and her damn mind, my sister found out she was pregnant, I threw a baby shower, she went past her due date, my new nephew is a solid month old, I forgot to jog but never forgot a meal or snack or fourth meal, my pants shrank, the whole government went on vacation, we went to the zoo, Thomas watched two monkeys do unspeakable things to one another, the local weather girl got highlights, I almost burned my face off with some “gentle” ‘stache removal cream, and seven months of silence passed in the blink of a blogless eye.
I was noodling over how this fall off the face of Blog Earth took place, how I’ve spent much time doing nothing at all, how I haven’t been able to reconcile being a writer who doesn’t write when my son’s hollering broke through. “SWIPER, NO SWIPING! SWIPER, NO SWIPING! I HATE SWIPERS, MOM. I JUST HATE HIM.”
The clueless cartoon viewer should note that a highlight (or low point) of every Dora episode is when some Mexican wiener dog/ raccoon/fox creature attempts to steal something from Dora or Boots or even the map named Map. The aptly named Swiper just needs to swipe. In turn, your child is encouraged to verbally assault the poor bastard thief with a few hefty screams of “SWIPER, NO SWIPING!” until said weinerfox finally gives up, fleeing with only a measly “Aww, man”.
I snap at my kid to cut it out. I am embarrassed at my own bark but- like most of my parental shortcomings- decide just to go with it. I pass this defensiveness off as good parenting. “We don’t hate anything or anyone” I say. “Hate is a harsh word”, I tell him like the grand Mother Manners I am not. But what I truly *think is this: Leave me alone! I am the swiper who es no swiping. I am the writer who es no writing. And what an awful thing to be!
If you don’t “do what you do” then what are you doing? If I am bone for bone and pound for pound made to write and simply don’t, then what happens? If we aren’t actively and everyday and all the time exactly what we’re built to be how do we turn out? Does the Universe just kind of implode? Does the smoke shoot from my ears before my head bursts into flames? Do I just shut up already and pick up knitting?
I have spent many mornings staring at a cobweb in a kitchen corner as the inside of my head races with punny quips and possible posts. I’ve laughed all alone in a grocery aisle to the punch line of a joke I haven’t shared. I’ve felt isolated without a few smart words or outrageous insults from readers coming my way. And it occurs to me that things are desperate when you miss even that one anonymous Extreme Christian’s daily comment reminders of what a godless whore you are.
I stopped writing and stayed stopped for a million little bitty and no big reasons. But it’s about time I got back to myself. As I attempt to crack the knuckles, dust off the old laptop, and get down to the business of being a writer who escribes, I’ll distract you from this rusty post with a bit of encouraging advice: Play on, Player. Swipe on, Swiper. Ramble on, Rambler. Write on, Writer. Map on, you silly little Map named Map.
What’s happened with you while I’ve been hibernación?
*Here are some dangers of thinking/ reasons you shouldn’t really ever take my advice completely/ flaws in my logic: Serial Killer, No Killing. Stripper, No Stripping. Dope Head, No Doping. Drunk, No Drinking. Liar, No Lying. Ke$ha, No… ick just stop. If you’re horrible then absolutely don’t be yourself. All the rest of youse, carry on.