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  • Writer's pictureKelly Marks

Work vs. Play

Some babies are colicky, and after hearing the horror stories from the parents, it sounds like a complete nightmare. I’m not sure how parents live through that. Madi was not colicky, for which I will be forever grateful, but teething was super hard on her, and in turn, hard on us.

My mom said that she didn’t remember me having trouble with teething when I was an infant. I reminded her that parents during that time had a little something called paregoric to rub on painful gums. It contained opium. Yeah, I’m pretty sure that teething didn’t give me much trouble at all.

When Madi was an infant, Paul and I would be sitting on the couch in the evening, and Paul would comment in surprise that Madi wasn’t crying. Sure enough, less than a minute later, she would be bawling. It didn’t matter how much we “knocked on wood,“ he always jinxed us with those words.

I did a version of that on Wednesday. I jinxed myself. I wrote a blogpost about staying on task, not getting distracted, getting things done. I was on fire. I actually listened to myself and was being very efficient. Of course something came along that made me rethink it all.

Paul left town on business, and I got to actually hold the TV remote. I think I understand why I never get to use it; I take forever and look at everything available. That night I stumbled on a movie that felt familiar: Paris Can Wait, starring Diane Lane, one of my favorite actresses. I felt sure I had seen it, but I watched for a few minutes to make sure (probably another reason I'm not in charge of the remote).

Yes! I had seen it in the theater at a matinee years ago. I love matinees. There’s something so decadent about playing hooky. All the rest of the world is hard at work, fighting that dreaded midday slump, and you slip into the cool darkness of a movie theater and are carried away. Something about seeing this particular movie while playing hooky was apropos.

I remembered there had been some ambiguity about the ending, and that was reason enough for me to continue re-watching it.

The plot line was so simple I can’t believe it was even made into a movie. An American woman is in France with her workaholic husband. Needing to get back to Paris, he flew, and she was relegated to riding back in a car with a Frenchman.

As an American, Lane was ready to drive straight through, and make the best possible time: reach the destination. The Frenchman insisted on stopping for exquisite meals and various experiences: enjoy the journey.

The long and short of it was the dichotomy between the Puritan work ethic of Americans and the way the French take time to actually enjoy life.

This had me rethinking my last blog about efficiency and being organized and getting things done. Maybe that wasn’t the better way after all, but I don’t think I could handle complete joie de vivre. Could there possibly be a happy medium between the two?

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