Of Munchkins and Wafflemakers

A few weeks ago my closest coworker defended his dissertation. Proud of him and happy for him, I called on the way in to work to double check what his favorite donut was before I stopped and got treats for everyone at the donut shop.

The night before I had joked “any time I decide to bring in munchkins, somebody else brings in a wafflemaker”. I can’t keep up with the thoughtfulness of most people. I consider myself pretty thoughtful (I think about people all the time!) but that doesn’t always translate into homebaked cookies or holiday scavenger hunts or (as I found when I got into work with the pitiful but heartfelt munchkins) highly decorated offices and desks.

Luckily for me, people like munchkins. I’ve written before about how I wish I were one of those pulled together people who did all the things women are “supposed” to do. Those people have it easier, right? The ones who bake and make sure everyone is taken care of and the bathroom mirror gets cleaned more than twice a year?

I am not those people. And I am in the slow process of ceasing to care.

Standing on a train platform a few days ago I plowed through the latest issue of the Atlantic, pausing for a long while on an hysterical, girl power,  four page riff on women’s hormones. The following paragraph may have changed my life:

It’s intriguing to ponder this suggested reversal of what has traditionally been thought to be the woman’s hormonal cloud. A sudden influx of hormones is not what causes 50-year-old Aunt Carol to throw the leg of lamb out the window. Improperly balanced hormones were probably the culprit. Fertility’s amped-up reproductive hormones helped Aunt Carol 30 years ago to begin her mysterious automatic weekly ritual of roasting lamb just so and laying out 12 settings of silverware with an OCD-like attention to detail while cheerfully washing and folding and ironing the family laundry. No normal person would do that—look at the rest of the family: they are reading the paper and lazing about like rational, sensible people. And now that Aunt Carol’s hormonal cloud is finally wearing off, it’s not a tragedy, or an abnormality, or her going crazy—it just means she can rejoin the rest of the human race: she can be the same selfish, non-nurturing, non-bonding type of person everyone else is. (And so what if get-well casseroles won’t get baked, PTAs will collapse, and in-laws will go for decades without being sent a single greeting card? Paging Aunt Carol! The old Aunt Carol!)

I’m not missing out on a certain type of womanhood! I’m just skipping it!

So seriously, the world will keep turning if I never learn how to squeeze frosting from a pastry bag or, for that matter, how to cut in a straight line. Munchkins are better than nothing.

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