Thursday, April 24, 2008

once I was a micro-celebrity

The other night there was a reception at our school for the parents of the incoming kindergarten class. The Sober Husband and I went to a great deal of logistical trouble to attend (now here's a logic problem much worse than anything I faced on the LSAT: A quasi-important reception both parents should attend begins at School A at 5:00, and no children may attend. At 4:30, Child A's fencing class ends at School A. Coincidentally at 4:30 Child B needs to be picked up from School B, a few miles away. Additionally, the babysitter obtained by the husband of the logician has been told to show up at the children's home at 4:30. Therefore the logician needs to be in three places at 4:30 on the dot. Additionally, the logician and Children A and B live halfway across San Francisco from Schools A and B, and traffic is slow and ornery after 4:30, meaning that it will take 30 minutes to travel between the schools and the home one way. I spent an entire cranky, cranky day solving this little puzzle).

As the reception was winding down, I was explaining to the Head of Lower School why I was informing them, after they're been so careful to use "Lola", that in fact my child is now named "Lucy." This explanation was quite embarrassing to me as a parent as it involved various epiphanies had by my child while vegetating before the worst sorts of children's pop culture, "Barney" and that wretched film, "Shark Tales." (Irritatingly enough "Lucy" is practically the "Jennifer" of her kindergarten class. There will be three Lucys and three Olivias, no Lolas. I hear one Lucy goes exclusively by "Goose", though).

While we were having that conversation, a parent charged up with a big head of steam and a huge grin. I assumed he wanted an audience with the Head of Lower School, so I angled my body at an inviting and modest angle, so he'd get the message that I wasn't hogging the Head and he could join our conversation. Instead, he blurted out loudly, "YOU'RE FAMOUS! YOU FOUNDED BURNING MAN!" to me. The Head, who knows me as an eccentric stay-at-home mom, gave me a double take and faded away. I said modestly, "Oh, no, I wasn't the founder. I was the lawyer. I came along later. I just put the LLC in 'Burning Man, LLC.'"

It's been a long time since this has happened. I used to be extensively involved in Burning Man and its organization, and people who attend that event tend to live their lives around it. Accordingly many have a hero worship for any of the top organizers, and as San Francisco is the epicenter for Burning Man, it used to be that I was accosted quite frequently by admirers, who often called me "The Lawyer." As I'd be walking, people would shout out, "Carole! Carole!" from cars, really wanting to get my attention for a second. If I were downtown, I'd overhear someone pointing me out: "That's her; she's THE LAWYER" in tones of awe. At parties, there'd be a little circle of sycophants. It's a shame my children will never experience When Mommy Was Cool, but then again, they wouldn't like it. They strongly prefer the spotlight to be directed unwaveringly at them.

After this reception, we drove downtown to a nightclub, where the Sober Husband's employer, Doggyo, was holding an event. The husband had a wristband to get him in, some drinks tickets (only good for beer and wine; the shame, Doggyo, the shame. Do not cheap out on the drinks!), and an official Doggyo name tag. I looked around upon entering. Everyone was filling out nametags, putting on their web or media affiliation. "Do you want one?" asked the Sober Husband, probably imagining that I'd write "Doggyo Spouse." "Oh, yes," I said, and I wrote "Carole" on mine. The husband laughed. (Later in the evening, someone asked me seriously, "Is hiring?")

And here's how the coin has flipped: back in the day when the Sober Husband and I were dating, he came along as my arm candy to a variety of Burning Man events, where I was a Big Important Drunk. Nowadays I tag along with the husband, and my once massive ego has a hard time with my nonentity status. I've noticed in particular that my husband's female coworkers have exactly zero interest in getting to know me, which I assume is because they know I'm a stay-at-home mother, which means I'm some sort of braindead throwback to the fifties, something to be shuddered at and avoided lest, like a zombie, I devour their feminist brains. If a male colleague actually gets into a conversation with me, he'll usually enjoy talking to me, but a female coworker won't go there.

At this second event, the crowd of Web 2.0 enthusiasts was salivating when the youthful founder and the youthful CEO took the stage. These are pin-up boys for Silicon Valley: multi-millionaires before they turned thirty, with messy hair and untucked pinstriped shirts over their jeans. It was just like the hipsters used to react when we Burning Man board members spoke. At least I'd had the tiny thrill of a little hero worship from a stranger earlier in the day, a tiny residue from the Time When the Drunken Housewife Was A Cool Demi-celebrity.


Amy said...

No worries, you're still cool. You're just an internet celebrity now.

hughman said...

you should have written "Level 70, WOW" on your nametag.

Silliyak said...

Still better than one's social acme being Mr. Drunken Househusband, (not that it wasn't a wonderful honor)

Epiphany said...

These days, I'm much happier to be a nobody than a person who works for Burning Man or its spinoff event. I like not spending months on end organizing a big party. Much more time for the really important things - like living every day, not just a few days out of the year.

I'd like to apply for a job with, please. Can I be your official taster, like queens of olde used to have? I figure with that honor, I'd get to sample lots of the dreamy creations that come out of your kitchen! I promise to be nice to Sober Husband, chilluns and all household animals!

Missy said...

You outdid yourself writing this piece, I hope you put it under "best of DH." Really great.

Anonymous said...

Tomorrow I am going with my teenage daughters to the 30th anniversary of the Rock Against Racism gig in London. A week or so back she showed me the flyer and asked if she could go to it - I spotted the logo immediately and said 'that's the Rock Against Racism' logo. She said 'I know, it's the 30th anniversary'. I said, 'I was at the original, the Clash played'. She looked at me with total awe and said 'That is soooooo cool!'

Anonymous said...

I don't know if anybody considers me as someone who works on the If I do, maybe I'm an editor of some kind.

Also, one of the non permanent household cats no longer is socalled "Robin" any more. He is now "Birthday Cat" since he will soon be a birthday present to an unknown person. He now a companies his friend "Christmas Cat" Who is a past Christmas present to a member of the family.

hughman said...

*still scared by iris commenting^

hi iris! glad to see you are here! HA HA HA!!\\

Trouble said...

You know, it's funny. I was thinking about this the other day. I saw black flag and bad brains back in the days, and when I took my son to his first punk rock show this year, I'm sure that the foolish boys in the audience believed that I was just another suburban soccer mom.

As if.

Kim said...

I'm the girl that asked if you were hiring. :-)

Your blog is awesome. I hope we run into each other again soon.

the Drunken Housewife said...

Thank you, Kim! I'm glad you found your way here! I hope to see you soon (actually I think I may see you tomorrow night, which should be fun).

Unknown said...

CLM---we **were** young and fabulous and able to drink our weight in pink fuzzy's back in those old BurningMan days were't we?!?!?!?!

Can I be the official DesDriver if you ever hire????