I’m writing this under duress.
I don’t write well under duress. I don’t write well under much of anything, but I particularly don’t write well under duress.
I once read (or made up) that Leo Tolstoy wrote at least half of “War and Peace” underneath a large pot of borscht.
Again, I either read that or made that up, but I’m not sure because I wrote it under duress.
The duress I am writing under is being caused by my wife, who is under the impression that we need to be at the town where our 20-year-old daughter, Emma, is attending college by 1 p.m. today. Because the town where Emma attends to college is two and a half hours away, that means in order to get there by 1 p.m., we need to leave our house — let’s see here, let me do the math — an hour ago.
I think we’re going to be late.
Ironically, the last time I remember writing under duress, the duress was caused by Emma.
It was probably 14 years ago. Emma was about 6 years old and for some reason was with me at the newspaper while I was trying to write a column. I don’t remember why Emma was with me at the newspaper, but I do remember that she didn’t want to be there. She wanted to be somewhere else, and she wanted to be there immediately. So to help me write my column faster, as I recall, she stood right next to me and yelled “FOCUS, DADDY. FOCUS.”
She made it hard to focus is what she did.
Now, 14 years later, it is my wife placing me under duress in order to get to Emma’s college town by 1 p.m. today.
I think (although this just could be the duress talking here) that is the perfect definition of irony.
When I woke up this morning, I wasn’t under the impression that we needed to be at Emma’s college town at any certain time. I was under the impression that we would get to Emma’s college town when we got there.
So when my wife asked me what time I thought we should be at Emma’s college town, I made a rookie husband mistake: I said I didn’t care.
“I think we should be there at 1 p.m.,” my wife said.
I should point out that I think it’s senseless for my wife to ask me what time we need to be anywhere. The reason I think it’s senseless is because my wife knows that I have no control over what time we get anywhere.
Yet she still asks me as if my opinion matters.
It’s like Trump asking for advice from anyone on anything.
Trump: Does my hair look silly?
Aide: (Stealing brunch invitation from Kim-Jong-un off desk) WHY NO. WHY WOULD YOU ASK SUCH A QUESTION?)
So now that my wife has decided that we need to be at Emma’s college town by 1 p.m., I am under a bit of duress.
Actually, when it comes to writing, there aren’t degrees of duress. There is just duress.
The reason we are going to Emma’s college town is that this is Parents Weekend. I don’t think they had Parents Weekend when I went to college, but I don’t remember.
It was a long time ago. They didn’t have a lot of things when I went to college. When I went to college, they didn’t have small phones that cost more than a TV, for example.
Even if they had Parents Weekend when I went to college, I’m pretty sure my parents wouldn’t have come what with there still be four kids living at home with them at the time.
I’m pretty sure my parents would have figured that it made no sense at all to drive two hours to see one kid when they already had four kids living with them at home.
Now, if you will excuse me, I must stop now.
My wife just yelled “FOCUS.”
Sigh. It’s like a large pot of borscht.