This last week has been a buzz with the Boston bombings. While it is of concern to me, I feel as though sometimes I have to turn off the radio. On the day of the Marathon, I worked from 5am to 6pm, with a meeting in the afternoon. In a rare turn, I was not online for the entire day. I heard vague details, and a customer at my shop-girl job mentioned it. But unfortunately, I wasn’t quite struck by the impact, it’s like ubiquitous random mass shootings, it’s just another terrorist attack. Sometimes you kind of have to turn your eyes and ears away. It’s self-preservation really, for the thought of random violence makes my chest swell with helplessness. Why is this necessary, how can this happen? When frustration, alienation, hatred, disillusionment are mixed with weaponry or scientific know-how it can become a weapon in itself. And of course, this incident engulfs all other newsworthy ideas; it consumes the media, horror mingled with the American will to rise above as the undercurrent to every report.
Now nearly a week ago, moments after the bombing occurred, my friend gave birth to a little girl. Now Trish would be the first to tell you…she was pregnant for a very long time, far longer than the usual nine months. (Not really…it just felt like that). This woman is one of my dearest friends, I’ve known her for nearly a decade. She’s tough, but sweet, serious as a cop on the beat, but then she will make you a darling snowman tree ornament made entirely out of Popsicle sticks for Christmas. I call her ‘Trish the Dish’, and she is like this human equivalent to the mullet–(not Joe Dirt, think Carol Brady)
When I met her in my twenties during my English degree, I thought she was so grown up. She had a proper career–in insurance no less, and she also had a boyfriend in his 30’s (so cosmopolitan!). She was polished and adult–‘the business in the front’ but she was someone you’d want at your soiree–this would be ‘the party in the back’ of this metaphorical mullet. She was social and enthusiastic, but also savvy, and totally non-judgmental, so while she may not help you bury the body, she’d definitely post your bail. I remember being roughed up by some guy in a bar, he had me by the elbow, and I was extremely nervous. The crowd parted to accommodate none other than Trish the Dish, in a one piece striped romper suit–with a drink in hand. “Is this man bothering you?”, her expression deadly serious. The guy backed off, and Trish took me to the bar, made sure I was alright, bought me a shot and and then just disappeared back into the crowd. What a woman.
When I returned to Canada last summer, she was newly pregnant. I think the whole experience was difficult because she found the whole period a bit alienating, like her body didn’t belong to her. There is such an expectation that with pregnancy comes this Mother Earth gooey-ness, of almost-parents lovingly tracking every step of the pregnancy before giving birth and then dressing them up like a daisy and popping them in a flower pot, Anne Geddes style. And that is a perfectly fine practices for others, but Trish the Dish is just not that kind of gal. And I really love her for that and I found her cynicism so funny and refreshing. But it was challenging for her, being such an independent woman to have sudden limitations, to have her wings clipped a wee bit. I could only imagine how she felt, but of course it reminded me of a movie, “Waitress” about a woman who does not enjoy her pregnancy: “I’m having the baby and that’s that. It’s not a party thought”. Adrienne Shelly wrote the film while she was pregnant, and it became a love letter to her baby. I thought Trish would respond to was the fact that while this character’s pregnancy was difficult, uncomfortable and frustrating, in the end she had a beautiful baby girl and all of that pain didn’t matter anymore.
“Why did you make me watch that?”, she asked. “Oh…did you not like it?” “Oh my god, no! Her husband was such an asshole and then she has an affair with her doctor?” Oh I forgot about that–I’m not crazy about infidelity, but Jenna Hunterson’s affair with Dr. Pommater is so cute…you almost forget she’s cheating while working on her full-term pregnancy. To me the film is visual comfort food and main character deals with baked goods, mostly pies, so even better. There is so much delicious food photography, snappy dialogue and a soft-hearted curmudgeon played by Andy Griffith, its like an adorable feast. Nonetheless, I felt terrible that she didn’t love the movie, and definitely didn’t mention that poor Adrienne Shelly was senselessly murdered before the movie’s cinematic release making this film her swan song about motherhood.
When I went to visit Trish and her new daughter Melody, I sprinted up the stairs with coffees and bakery sweets, so eager to drop everything and give her a big hug. Her husband left to run errands and we stood together, looking over her sleeping baby. There was this brief moment where we looked at each other, and giggled like dopey teenaged babysitters “Dude, you just had a baby...they just let you take her home?” (God–I can barely keep plants alive and all my friends are having babies).
We had a lovely visit and she shared all the details, and her feelings, and we had a discussion about the days ahead. Now freed from pregnancy, the baby now sleeping in her arms, she looked happy and relaxed and totally comfortable. Now as the days pass, as they dissect the harrowing details of the Boston bombings on the radio, I think about that little baby instead. This fresh breath amid all the hot air of tragedy and violence, sensationalism and speculation. Yes, this world can be a rather deafening place, but sometimes you hear a lovely little melody, and you know that things are not always quite that bad.