When I created Uptown Girl all those years ago, I saw a lot of myself in each of the three characters, but in another sense, they were all different versions of myself.
Rocketman is who I would be if I did what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it. Like forgetting all my responsibilities and playing video games. He lives in the moment, impulsive and doesn’t think about anything besides what is happening right now.
And Uptown Girl has the traits that I would LIKE to have. She is patient, kind, diligent, smart, cheerful, optimistic and friendly. She’s a good person. I’m not evil, but she is better than I could ever be.
These characters are pretty easy to write since they are all aspects of myself. I never have to think too hard about what their reactions to situations will be. And I can also live a little vicariously through them, especially when they have stuff happen to them that I will likely never experience. Because of the them, I have a fairly good idea as to how I would react to a robot destroying the city.
I guess what I am saying is that it’s a weird experience seeing an aspect of myself do things. They are personifications of my characteristics.
Just like children are. This weekend I realized that my five year old daughter, Sophie, is exactly me.
She’s had a hectic September so far. She just started kindergarten so it’s been a whole new world for her. We have a pretty stable, routine-filled life, but she is not used to this kind of rigid, set schedule. Not being able to have a snack, or watch ‘Arthur’ or play Legos anytime she wants is pretty weird for her. She gets on the bus, goes to school and plays and does crafts and gets taught how to read and participate in gym and returns home 7 hours later.
And she comes home just fried. She is exhausted, hungry, happy, wired and whiny.
When I want something, it’s all I can think about. The 14th season of ‘The Simpsons’ is out on DVD? It’s all I can think about. I want it. I want it now. I might have the funds to purchase it. but as I grow older I become smarter with money, or cheaper if you want to call it that. No way I am paying full price for it. So I keep an eye on sales and pick it up on the cheap. And when I purchase it, it might sit unwatched for weeks. That’s how I roll.
This is how Sophie is like me. Well, one of the ways.
I ducked out of work a little early on Friday so I could see Sophie get off the bus. As soon as she saw me, she said “Hi Daddy, did you go to Target and get my goggles?” It took me a second to remember the conversation the night before when she asked if I could get her new goggles for swimming at the Y. I said I would, and that was that. I am sure she thought the goggles ALL DAY LONG. I told her I forgot aaaaand MELTDOWN. The disappointment mixed in with being tired and hungry from all day away from home brought her to tears. She bounced back and was fine and then another meltdown. Sophie is not usually this way, she is like most five year-old kids, I suppose. But man, this was a rough weekend. She is getting used to her new life and doesn’t deal with change well. Like me, I guess. She was exhausted from the week, and didn’t get enough rest this weekend. I love being a dad, and there are some days that will really test you where you are driven up the wall. This weekend she needed a lot of attention and wanted to do EVERYTHING. So she and I did EVERYTHING. We did get the goggles.
The weekend is winding down as I write this. Sophie is bouncing off the walls while Amy is making dinner. I am looking forward to her going to bed so I can draw for a bit, as time to myself this weekend was pretty impossible to find. But kids have a way of making up for the craziness/frustration/stress with a funny comment, a hug or a drawing like the one she left on my drawing table:
Okay, Sophie, you’re off the hook.