The Bean Blog (currently on hiatus)

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

The Long Goodnight

Last August, when I started the "Middle Aged Women Like to Confide in Me" series, I knew it would be three parts because, well, there are three interesting stories of middle aged women confiding in me. My devotion to blogging had already been shifting from this blog to the Baby Bean Blog. It wasn't so much that I had more to say about my pregnancy. It was more that I wanted to preserve what I had to say for the actual baby bean. My ramblings here are (I hope) interesting and all that. Perhaps my offspring will also be interested in what I had to say here. But I know that I would love to have a window into my mother's head as she was carrying me. What she thought about, worried about, hoped for herself and me. We're all basically self-centered, and I would like to read something centered around me. I think that Ella will, too.

I thought I could keep both blogs going, but I wasn't having a lot of success. June 2005 featured exactly one post. July featured two. When August rolled around, I decided that if I was going to do this, I needed to do it. I fancy myself something of a writer, and when other people tell me they "want to be a writer," I always say the same thing to them: "Then write!" A writer writes, by definition. People who "want to be writers" but are afraid to write anything confuse me. So I said to myself, "I want to write on the Bean Blog, so dammit, I'm going to write on it." And so I came up with this three part series about these interesting/bizarre conversations I'd had, and I set to writing about it. It seemed that if I could get something out there once a week, that would be good enough.

I wrote Part 1 on a Monday. The next week, Part 2 came in on a Wednesday. I was going to write Part 3 when my daughter arrived. I got home from the hospital after 4 days, and I didn't have the energy for anything except figuring out how to recover from surgery (a c-section) and take care of my baby at the same time. When I did finally have a moment, two weeks later, I wanted to create a record of what had happened for this new being who was now the center of my world.

In other words, yes, I became that kind of woman. You know, the kind of woman who is first and foremost a mother and everything else falls by the wayside. In that wayside was this blog.

I wasn't sure I wouldn't pick it up again. Maybe I'd have some time for it. It wasn't that Bean Blog post ideas didn't pop up in my head. They did. But who has the time to sit down and write them? Not me. Or when I did have time, what was I going to write about? The mispronounciation of the word "hyperbole" by pop star Natasha Bedingfield or my partner adopting Ella? It was hard to leave my thoughts unwritten about Natasha's inability to hide behind some energetic bowl, but I had choices to make, and I made them.

Months went by without a post here on the Bean Blog.

I knew it was time to throw in the towel. At least for now.

But I had one bit of unfinished business to do, and that was Part 3 of my middle aged women posts. It was hanging over my head, and I had to write it before I could put the Bean Blog to rest. I did that this past weekend, and now I've gotten the time to write this, a goodbye to this blog.... No, not a goodbye. Rather a goodnight. I hope to waken this blog one day, probably years from now.

It will be fresh from a long slumbler. Hopefully, some old friends will find it again. If not, perhaps it will find a new audience. I want to thank all of you who've stopped by over the year or so that I've been here. I've enjoyed you and your blogs. But I'm putting my energy somewhere else now. First to my daughter, then to creating a record for her and for our next child already on the way.

I am one of those women. A mother. And I don't feel bad about it.

Goodnight, Bean Blog. Sleep tight. I'll be back for you....

Friday, November 18, 2005

Middle Aged Women Like to Confide in Me, Part 3: My Hairdresser

I had been using the same hairdresser for almost 10 years. When I started going to her, she was young, about my age, and had just moved to a fancy-schmancy salon. She was expensive but reasonable, and the haircuts were so good that I could go for 4-6 months without getting another haircut, so it seemed worthwhile to pay a little extra but to pay it less often. But as the years wore on, her prices went up and up and up, and eventually, she was out of my price range.

I was hanging out with my friend Beth Marie one day when she mentioned that her hairdresser had recently moved out on her own to start her own salon. I thought, What the heck? I made an appointment there--not with the owner/hairdresser but one of the hairdressers who worked there, Lydia.

I was five months pregnant at the time, and as I sat in Lydia's chair, we got to talking. She was middle-aged, probably in her late 40s or early 50s. She was very excited about my pregnancy and wanted to hear all about it. We also talked about her life, too. This salon was down in Delaware where my friend lives. Lydia grew up in Delaware but then moved out to California and lived in San Francisco for most of her adult life before recently moving back to Delaware. Perhaps we got to talking about that because the sperm donor we used currently lives in the San Francisco area. Anyway, we got to talking about her life there, and that was all wrapped up in my life and my pregnancy.

"I don't have any children myself," she told me," and I regret that. I got pregnant once, but I was with this guy, and I knew the relationship wasn't going anywhere. I wanted to have children, but I thought that he wasn't the right guy, and I could always do it later."

I sat there with my chin to my chest as she worked on the hair on the back of my head, and my brain began to calculate what she was saying without saying it. And then she actually said it.

"If I knew then what I know now--that was my chance to have a child--I would have kept it." She paused what she was doing, and her eyes caught mine in the mirror. "I don't know why I'm telling you this. This isn't something I tell people."

I wasn't sure what to say. Honestly, no one had ever told me that they'd had an abortion before. I'm pro-choice, and I don't judge her for what she did. I tried to get that out--my political leanings, my views on the abstract concept of abortion, and also some reassurance that I was okay with what she was saying, with the reality of abortion. I remember stuttering through that varied landscape of ideas, finally ending by saying, "We all have to try to make the best decisions that we can with the information that we have. I know that's what you did, but I'm sorry that you feel regret now."

There was a bit of silence between us, and then I noticed a mug with a Siamese cat on it sitting on her table. I had Siamese cats when I was growing up, and soon we were talking about cats and dogs and what our pets have meant to us.

I've been back to her twice since that first haircut. The haircuts aren't as good as my super-expensive hairdresser, but at half the price, I'm not complaining. We haven't broached such heavy topics on our recent encounters. We both seem happy to keep the conversation to pets and vacations.