Saturday, November 21, 2009

Winged Victory of Inmyface

Page, Vance, moi & Paris

Eight years ago when my sister Page was 31 and I was 24 we went to Paris together.
On the plane ride over I crowded her with a map of the metropolitan area and started pointing out landmarks we'd be visiting. I think my finger was somewhere between La Défense and the Bois de Boulogne when she flopped her body limp in her seat.

"I don't want to do any of those things." She whined in my ear as I wrestled with the map.

"I am sorry. What did you just say?" I asked with squinted eyes.

"I don't want to do anything but sleep on this trip."

"We aren't going tropical here Page, we're going to Paris."

"I know. But I am tired."

"But it's Paris."

I couldn't believe what I was hearing. When Page's husband Vance broke the news to his wife that he'd be in Paris for Valentines Day on business she insisted on going with him. Then she called me up and told me to pack my bags as I was chosen to navigate her around the city with my sharp Quebecois French. I assumed this meant we'd be sight seeing and crepe tasting and art viewing, but now? Sleep walking? What is this?

"I don't really care. I just want to sleep on this trip." She reiterated while adjusting her neck pillow and closing her eyes.

I dropped my head in defeat.

Granted the woman had five children, and lived an incredibly busy lifestyle. For this slight set back, I could allow her a day or two for jet lag, but by day three we needed to be up early spending the morning admiring the Winged Victory of Samothrace, followed by a brisk walk in the Tuileries over to have tea on Rue de Rivoli.

When I lifted my head to finish our conversation she was asleep.

Last week Lucy came to my house.

"What are we going to do when we go to New York?" She asked me while bouncing her baby Betsy.

The Today Show asked our sister Stephanie to fly back to the NBC studios for an interview, and we were in invited to come with our husbands and babies. When we first heard about the offer, I considered not going because I was still quite sick with my pregnancy-inducing fetus. It also sounded like a lot of work to wrangle an eighteen-month-old while keeping up with husband who travels for a living. But then I thought about eating a New York City Reuben sandwich and changed my mind.

"I don't really wanted to do anything but sleep. And eat a Reuben." I said to Lucy as I reclined on the couch.

"What?" She replied with squinty eyes.

"I am so tired." I said, "I just want to use this vacation time to rest."

"We are going to New York City. Don't you want to ride the subway?"

"I don't care, I'll take cabs."

Something about this conversation sounded familiar. Then I did some analysis in my head--because I have talent for that sort of thing--and realized that I am 32 and Lucy is 24 and I am tired and she isn't.

Granted, I am pregnant and my life has quickly gone from bare minimum to maximum in a few short weeks. For this you'd think I could be sanctioned a week of pure lazy endeavors. A week to enjoy maid service, room service and a grandpa willing to take The Chief for walks in Central Park. Just let me have mornings until noon and naptime until dinner. The Statue of Liberty will be there the next time around, besides I've already seen it.

Unfortunately, I now feel Page's weariness. No sight seeing in the nation's greatest city could compare with a morning to snuggle with sleep. It was a full circle, out of body, retro fitting empathetic moment.

But Lucy who has a world class title in eye rolling, did her best to ignore the apathy seated cozy and comfortable on my lap. Which is what I did to my older sister eight years ago when she was my age, and I was Lucy's age.

And when we were eating baguettes
in the mosaic recesses of the metro station after an arousing day at the Musee d'Orsay I turned to Page and said,

"Remember when you wanted to just sleep?"

And we laughed so hard one of us lost bladder control.

(The older one, who had five babies.)

Hello New York, here I honk shoo.