Heater, Mother of Lance

A post about Paris unlike any I have ever written

Today’s post is brought to you by Tangents Unlimited®, a production of Heather B. Armstrong’s mind that you’re gonna wanna diagnose after reading this manic rambling spiral into HEATHER HAS MANIC DEPRESSIVE DISORDER AND YOU KNOW THIS BECAUSE YOUR AUTHORITY IS THE DIPLOMA YOU POSSESS FROM COMMENTING ANONYMOUSLY ON THE INTERNET. All caps, motherfuckers. This is a long one because it demands to be—I haven’t written a word in almost four weeks—and those of you who like to diagnose me, do stick around. You specifically are going to have a field day with this and your field day will not be chaperoned.

If I sound a little hmm… shrill? Is that the word? I think it is. Screechy is also shooting out of my fingers right now, so you might want to turn down the volume or instead go listen to some Air Supply while your parents get divorced, did I just say that out loud? I’m in a slightly agitated mood BECAUSE I AM MANIC, SEE! No. I’m agitated because I broke my foot and have been unable to experience Paris the way I wanted to experience Paris. So, FIRST TANGENT AHOY: I am in Paris.

How easy was that?! That’s the shortest tangent I’ve ever been on! Who am I? However, it is not a harbinger of what’s ahead. And I know this makes you so excited. There are forums of people on the Internet right now who are so hard and erect they are about to explode. I wonder how long they can last.

A few days before I hopped on that flight to CDG, the worst airport in the world—although it may have to share that Game of Thrones with LAX and LGA and Bran Stark—I stepped in a hole and rolled my ankle while trying to find our car in the dark with Cowboy. SECOND TANGENT, BEHOLD: Should I continue to call him Cowboy or do I just call him by his name? Do I say, “My boyfriend, Lamar Alexander.” ?? (some of you will have no clue who I am talking about, the others who do? WINK!) Or do I continue to refer to him as Cowboy? Some of you prefer I continue with Cowboy—yes, he did wear his Cowboy hat while he was here in Paris, in front of Parisians, in front of people who know the atrocities our current President continues to commit, while I was locked in his arm wearing inappropriate clothing choices, WAIT!

THIRD TANGENT THAT IS WITHIN THE SECOND TANGENT (we’re going to get locked inside some matrix, SHIT! MANIC!): I’ve been wearing a certain brand of clothing out of Los Angeles that my friend forced me into trying on one day (damn you, Lisa! you made me upset the Internet!), and it’s very lacy and revealing and shows back muscles and very frequently a side boob. Yep. Sometimes (all the time?) it shows side boob from the inside. Inside-side boob. And I do not give an Ikea storage tub full of meowing kittens worth of fucks about it. Because never in my life have I felt this confident enough to pull something like this off. And lo, I am pulling it off. Hire me for your heist, CLOONEY. Here in the days leading up to my 44th birthday, I am wearing lace bodysuits that I’m certain many people think The Mother of Two Young Daughters should be ashamed to consider clothing. Shame! SHAME. Put on this bonnet, Heather, and hide your face. No talking to the other maids.

And you know, since men don’t ever have to think about this shit, neither do I. Nope. Ain’t nobody got time for that. Just the other night we went to my favorite restaurant in the city OH GOD OH NO.

TANGENT NUMBER FOUR INSIDE TANGENT THREE INSIDE TANGENT TWO WE ARE SO FUCKED (but before we get there, I don’t want to lose my train of thought in this manic, bisexual state…) DID I JUST DO THAT I DID.

TANGENT NUMBER FIVE INSIDE TANGENT NUMBER FOUR INSIDE TANGENT THREE INSIDE TANGENT TWO: Some of you think I’m bisexual. Isn’t that interesting? Dare I say, intriguing? I’m going to go smoke a cigarette as you consider this given the limited information you have. Go on.

BACK TO TANGENT FOUR, god this whole thing is diagnosable: Didn’t want to lose my train of thought. Are you with me? Yeah? You considered my bisexuality? Back from that? Good. Let’s roll. When I say “we” went to my favorite restaurant the other night I mean Lamar Alexander, me, and my friend Marshall. How confused are you? I hope it feels good.

I hosted my friend Marshall for 10 days. I KNOW. If I’m bisexual, why did I host another man? Who slept on the couch? UGH. Keep your sexuality straight, Heather, no pun intended. I’ve known Marshall for over 13 years, and he spent several years in Paris back in the 70s. I wanted some company and who better than someone with stories galore, the perfect eye for photography, and a knowledge of the French language. BACK TO THE STORY BEFORE I EVEN VEERED INTO THE FIRST TANGENT WHAT IS HAPPENING WHY AM I KEEPING THINGS ORDERLY?

I thought, perhaps, I had just sprained my ankle and that if I wrapped it tightly with medical tape I’d be fine. But then I got to Paris and, hmm, I was not fine. Blah blah blah, fast forward, stupid details here you don’t need to hear except that I went on a “date” with a woman before Marshall got here. EVIDENCE EXHIBIT A: When you say you’ve been on a “date” with someone of the same sex, all hell breaks loose. Especially when you’re wearing The Third Tangent.

Marshall, through “think-about-your-finances-and-fear-of-dying-homeless” scare tactics (damn you, Marshall!) convinced me to see the first Hot Doctor WHO WAS A MAN—I am doing this bisexuality thing all wrong. I have screwed this shit up. Even it out a bit, Heather. More women! See? Talking to myself in the third person is making you all more erect. How are you going to make it through the next two paragraphs without making a mess? Calm down.

And then off we went to a clinic where Marshall talked to the receptionist in French, and then not 20 minutes later a HOT HOT HOT radiologist technician WHO WAS A WOMAN (are the all caps turning you on?) took X-rays of my foot. She was so fast and precise that she was done in less than four minutes, and I was like WAIT! I AM BISEXUAL ACCORDING TO PEOPLE WHO DO NOT KNOW ME! I need to ogle you for at least another two minutes! Come back! But she didn’t! And so I cried because I want to be the valedictorian of being bisexual.

Fast forward, I’m waiting in the hallway for the results when the HOT HOT HOT radiologist calls me in, another woman! I just sang that as I wrote that. Sing it with me:

Another woman! Another woman!

I hobbled in and in she had a certain concerned look on her face. And in case you didn’t know, French people don’t show a lot of emotion in the “I’m Really Sad and My Lower Lip is Going to Tremble Like a Stupid Fucking Baby” category. But there I stood, silent tears streaming out of the side of my eyes before she even pointed to the X-ray and gave me the news I already knew: “Your foot there, that is fracture.”

I pursed my lips to throttle a sob as tears dramatically and very American-ly communicated I Am A Dumb Baby. I nodded and didn’t say a word as she continued, “You see doctor at ER, there, and he tell you what happen next.” She pointed toward a certain part of the building. And then she broke the French Stoic Code and asked, “You OK?”

I nodded-shrugged-shook my head, all of those movements, all at once, and said, “Non, mais merci.” Which, in French, means I AM BISEXUAL.

And then I forgot to ogle her. Not even a second of ogling. Goddammit. I am failing bisexuality. Totally flunking it. Should have studied for the test, Heather. I need a guidance counselor. (opens Tinder)

Fast forward: it was very muggy in that clinic so Marshall headed out to find us fresh, cold water while I found the ER. It was not easy to find and because I am 50 and like to kick I randomly opened a door that I thought was the entrance to the ER because I thought it said so. Hi, I’m American! Immediately a head poked out of the door and since I have not used all caps in a few paragraphs this is where I “Jesus Coldplay Chris Martin Christ” this whole thing up: FRANCE!

WHAT ON EARTH THIRD PLANET FROM THE BURNING STAR WE CALL THE SUN IS GOING ON. I mean. Whaaaaaaa. This man was not a doctor. He was an actor from “Days of Our Lives” back when Jack Deveraux entered the room and you stopped listening to what any other terrible actor was saying (not that you missed anything) because suddenly you had feelings where The Lord and Savior Jesus Christ does not want you to have feelings. I looked immediately at my feet so as not to pass out as he explained to me that the waiting room was directly to my right, I’d need to sit there a bit. I nodded and thanked him, except I may also have added, “And I love you.”

Now, a few things, and none of these things are tangents! Look at me staying focused! BORING. Where’s manic Heather? BRING HER BACK.

First: Why am I writing this when I am in a very loving relationship with Lamar Alexander? Wouldn’t this hurt him? Wouldn’t he wince knowing that I swooned at the mere face of a male doctor through the tiny opening of a door? I KNOW. I’m going to go smoke a cigarette as you consider this given the limited information you have. Go on. I’ll wait.

Second: (points finger at myself) Not The Valedictorian Of Being Bisexual

Marshall got back with giant water bottles in hand, saw the look on my face and said, “You have got to be kidding me. Another one?”

Not 20 minutes later—and mind you, a kid who had a skateboard spread across his lap and was missing every inch of skin from the underside of his right arm (you can probably guess what happened there, like, try some yoga or some meditation instead, dude!) got into that room and got out of that room in less that 10 minutes—Marshall accompanied me into the soap opera. And Marshall sort of follows the French Stoic Code when it comes to expressing emotion upon witnessing human beauty, but hell if he didn’t nearly trip over his own feet when he saw that doctor. He looked at me and I looked at him and I could see deep into his soul that he was thinking, “This shit really does happen to you all the time, doesn’t it?”

He was referring to Lance Armstrong but that is a tangent for another day. I will not go further into the spiral because I am still grappling with my bisexuality and I’m tired. Also, Tinder doesn’t refresh itself.

And yes, this shit really does happen to me all the time.

Blah blah blah, fast forward because all I can remember is staring at my hands and nodding and then being completely paralyzed when he said, “Stand up, walk to me.”

Say what?

Do what?

You want me to what?

Eat a bag of razor blades? Yes! Grab a dog turd and shove it in my eye? Sure! Walk to you?!! I need to consider the risk, Dr. Deveraux.

In the back of my Internet-commenter-diagnosed manic-depressive brain (I know, stop feeding the trolls, except I miss Coco and feeding these people is a lot less complicated, actually, and deconstructing my bisexuality is getting boring), I had heard him say somewhere that if I could walk on it, I should be hopeful. Except… if he wanted me to demonstrate this by walking across the room… to him? Couldn’t I just eat a bag of razor blades? I happened to bring a dog turd with me.

All of this to say: I didn’t even look at his secretary WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME! No one will think I’m bisexual now!

And yes, I am totally objectifying these doctors and nurses and secretaries because saying they are HOT means I want to have sex with all of them, obviously. And they are just objects to be ogled in my manic state of grappling with my bisexuality. They are not, in fact, part of a tapestry of humans whom I encountered, one after another after another, to the point that the whole experience became totally baffling and bewildering and I ended up floating in space. Everyone was kind and caring and treated with me with such humanity, and the kicker? The kicker is that none of them were at all a part of my Bisexual Term Paper.

And now, how does dooce® do baffling? Well now, which tangent do I need to jump to? We’re done with four and five, oh right! THREE!

I wore a very lovely bodysuit (exposed back [gasp] possible side boob [the horror!] [{do I not know I am The Mother of Two Young Daughters?!}]) to dinner the other night, and we showed up early because this restaurant is notorious for its wait time. I’ve never been able to get a table in less than an hour and that is quick. I walked in, asked the bartender how long it would be to get a table for three, and even though I don’t speak French very well he shook his head at me and said in a screaming paragraph of disdain (he was super HOT but guess what? he’s not even a footnote in my research) that there was no room! Not for a very long time! We’d have to wait outside while he figured out just how many hours it would be! I didn’t want to argue with an angry French hot dude that I did not want to have sex with, so I shrugged and gave him a look that said, “I know you think you’ve got so much power but I’m walking out of here to ogle women and you are not invited to watch.”

And I was about to walk out when the manager, someone I recognized from the dinner I had there last year, looked up at me from something he was writing, and then rebuked the bartender. Harshly. And suddenly the manager pointed at a table and said in perfect English, “Right here. This table is for you.”

Now, was he mad that the bartender wasn’t seating patrons? Probably. I’m going to go with that explanation and not the side boob or inside-side boob. But I have not ever once walked into that restaurant and been seated immediately.

Holy shit, this post is going to get me into so much trouble. And you’re loving it.

Back to the SECOND TANGENT: Lamar? Cowboy? Pete? Can I just call him Pete? He could not be with me for the first ten days of the trip. And not that I need to explain myself to anyone but, alas, I’m going to explain myself. Just a few things for those of you who might need to know you are not alone. I TOLD YOU THIS WAS LONG. HANG IN. WE ARE ALMOST TO THE REALLY, REALLY, DIAGNOSABLE PART.

When my children are not with me I do not like being in my home. It does not feel right. It throws off my entire world because they are the center of my world, in that home. Does all of it—the homework and the driving and dance and piano and orthodontist appointments and laundry and the nuclear teenage blasts and 10-year-old tantrum planking—does it often drive me to want to hide under my bed where I hide my bisexual lovers? Yes. Absolutely. However, I think most other mothers feel this exact way about their children. I love them with the fire of a thousand suns is a stupid, shit metaphor. DUMB. And not the good dumb.

That metaphor doesn’t even come close.

So I booked my trip knowing my friend would be here to keep me company until Pete got here. PETE! That’s his name! HE HAS A NAME. I did not know when I booked this trip, however, that I would be arriving with a broken foot. And as the pain got worse, his absence grew bigger and bigger. I wanted his touch and scent and his reassuring words. I wanted his unwavering determination, his hand in mine leading me through crowds and up staircases. And since we had never been apart for so long that absence crushed me. Because of the increasing physical pain his absence became almost unbearable. Yes, only 10 days. I know. BARF. So childish of me. VOMIT UP ALL THE FRUIT LOOPS YOU HAD FOR BREAKFAST NOW!

But how can you quantify love. Ever.

Someone told me that my dependence on him was unhealthy and wrote my agony off as the musings equal to a 14-year-old girl. I would say that this is the most healthy way to love. To yearn when I am in pain for him.

Go ahead, diagnose me, Diane. You will not have been the first.

And oh, look. Back to the main point, how did this ever happen? REALLY? We have to go back? BUT HOW LONG UNTIL WE ARE THERE, MOM. If you ask that again you will endure the next 100 miles in the backseat with your hands over your head, do not make me stop this car.

I am a little screechy because, you know, BROKEN FOOT. I am in no way disabled but trying to navigate this city has been a nightmare. I am pushed and shoved and disregarded while walking as if I am a burden. And I know I have been that asshole who has thought this about someone without realizing that they’re wearing a giant medical boot on their foot. Without taking the time to be human.

And I am so mad at myself.

Forget the massive head cold I got earlier this week and the fact that compensating for the boot has caused all sorts of other problems in my back and knees and shins and ankles. I wake up in a state of physical fire every morning (yes, I know, I need to get that thing for the other shoe, I’m working on it). I’m mad at myself for being that asshole.

And so. Do you still want me to call him Cowboy?

Oh, wait. I can’t end on that note. My bisexuality! Please do speculate. The truth is so much more diabolical than you could imagine.

Also. I turn 44 this week. I will enjoy the fuck out of this city. In a medical boot.

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Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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