Why Don’t I The Shrimp?

This morning, I was staring at my bulging envelope of writing rejections and my current royalties statement ($0.63.  Envy my success.)  It’s been a horrible year for writing for me, both in publication and productivity.  Babies will do that to you.  My husband, A, came over and said, “What’s wrong?”

Me: Well, basically, it’s that writing, for me, is apparently a gigantic fucking waste of time.  (mumble mumble profanity)

A: Quit reading other people’s blogs, and let’s go somewhere.

I did not want to run errands.  I wanted to mope around the house and kick things.  But we organized the girls and headed out.  We started at a local mall to get some stuff I needed, and stopped at a sporting goods store, because M loves to wander through them and play with stuff.  The highlight was when A put on a straw golf hat, leaned into the mirror, and said in his best Walter White impression, “Do you think you know who I am?  You know exactly who I am…”

Me: I think he wore a different hat, but yes, you are The Danger.

A: The Danger wants shrimp for the New Year’s noodles.

We were at Costco a few days before, and had rejected buying a bag of shrimp because it was twenty dollars, and money is ridiculously tight.  We talked for a couple of days about where to get a few cheap shrimp for tempura, and suddenly A says, “Let’s go to Boulder and go to that seafood market we always drive by.”  I decided I’d much rather be out driving around than go home, so off we went.

We have a love-hate relationship with Boulder.  It was many fun stores, great parks, and shops that our town does not.  It also was designed by a lunatic; roads loop around each other like spilled pasta and deranged college students lunge across the road at random.  We found the seafood market, which while it was in fact a market, did not sell seafood.  We bought some mochi and went on to look for Whole Foods.  There are several, but we, despite driving around for an hour, found none of them.  We eventually wandered back to the highway, laughed about it, and decided to go back to the fish market in our own town.  In frustration, A yelled, “Why don’t I the shrimp?”

When realized what he’d said, he started laughing.  “I meant, why didn’t I buy the shrimp at Costco?”  We all agreed the previous statement was funnier, and would work well as a generic declaration of frustration.  I know a lot of families for whom driving aimlessly all afternoon hopelessly lost would dissolve into a fight, but we just laughed.  We laughed all the way home.  M was sitting in the back, singing along with Pink on the radio: “Give me just a reason, and just a little bit of nuts…”  and we joined in with her.

When we got to the fish market, A ran inside and came back out with what looked like a Ziploc bag.  There were three shrimp inside.  “They’re huge–came out to half a pound, so it was only fourteen dollars!”

Fourteen dollars for three shrimp?  Was he insane?  And, let’s face it, after driving around all day and expending gasoline, they were way for than that.  Somehow, though, it did seem wrong to go home empty handed after all of that.

To A’s credit, they were giant prawns, and once turned into tempura, they were really good.  The dinner was delicious: udon noodles with kamaboko (pressed fish cake,) vegetable and prawn tempura, tea and strawberry mochi ice cream (ice cream wrapped in a thin sweet rice dough)  Baby A rubbed tofu in her hair and fun was had by all.

In the end, the writing doesn’t matter.  Maybe it’ll happen, maybe it won’t.  I’ll keep doing what I like, and if other people like it, cool.  But I can’t let my life hinge on something that I ultimately have no control over.  A, M and Baby A are worth more than any writing contract, which is just a bunch of paper anyway.

But just in case, if I do become wildly famous for this someday, you can point me back to this blog post.

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