345 Degrees (Repost)

I don’t drive to DC.
I drive to the metro, park, and ride.  Rather, I park, figure out how to purchase tickets, ask an attendant or knowledgeable-looking traveler for help, wait for the metro, then, I—we—ride.
 I herd children –three of mine and one friend it always seems like a good idea to invite at the time—on and off trains without bothering to disguise my bewilderment when we reach China Town Gallery and have to remember which track goes the direction I want to go.
 On a good day, we have our choice of seats –theirs facing backwards, mine facing forward—and the only unruly chatter comes from someone I gave birth to.
 This time when we get on the Redline, we are standing.  “We” implies but does not include my four year old (I am holding him), but the older children and I. Just like “standing” does not imply we were not swaying, bumping, pushing, sliding, and teetering along with other people “standing” on the train.
 Yet, I find the train is less stressful than driving to DC.
 “Driving” implies but does not mean, winding roads, green lights, and traffic-free road ways. 
So, I don’t drive to DC.
 This upper 80 degree day finds my children, their friend and I sweating the I don’t know how many blocks to the zoo this hot, summer Saturday. 
 Each time we visit the zoo manages to feel like the first time.  My daughter and I watch the animals watching us in our “natural habitat.”  The boys play, tease, and I’m sure in some ways amuse the animals as much as the animals engage them.
 For a moment, it seems like a good idea to let the children stroll through the outdoor bird house while I rest on a bench.  I imagine the boys rhythmically skipping behind my daughter who points out exotic birds along poppy filled trails as the birds sing a Disneyesque melody.
 I can’t remember the last time I saw my children skip.
 I hurry to catch up.
 Inside, the birds mainly walk and watch as we watch and walk through. Somewhere a bird calls, another responds.
 On the left of us, a male peacock waits.  Eventually, a female peacock saunters across our path, preoccupied by a dish of food next to where the male waits. 
 She ignores him.
 The male displays his feathers, but not for her.  He turns in a 320 degree circle of purple, black and blue glory.  It is a slow, methodical turn.
 On first glance, it is amusing; she is at about degree 345.  She is not impressed by his back.  Yet, if he would put forth a little more effort, she might be impressed by his span of feathers, the color, the effort.
 She continues to ignore him and he continues to what?
 Their dance reminds me of me.
 How often have I put forth just enough effort to not get the object I desire while claiming to desire it?  There is no rejection without effort.  It’s not my lack of confidence that makes me stop between 320 and 345, it’s sometimes the fear of the follow through, the relationships, the ‘I do’s.
 Maybe the female notices him and is just not interested.  Maybe he’s just not her type.  How often do people approach me and rather than saying, I’m just not interested, I claim to not be ready for relationships (no matter how true that is, that’s rarely the only reason).  I sometimes do it to sales people, to family members, to men. 
 Honesty is so 2009.
  Probably, the male is smarter than I give him credit for.  Maybe, he knows if the female is interested, she will poke her head up and see him.  Maybe he knows she will cross his path again and notice him.
 Maybe they both know just what they want and how much effort it’s worth to get it.


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