Timing is everything, as we used to say in the animation business.
But that wasn’t entirely true. Animation is a lot of things. It’s timing, and staging, and anticipation, and solid drawing, and squash and stretch, and exaggeration, and pose to pose or straight ahead, and overlapping action, and appeal, and arcs, and deceleration and acceleration (which we called, confusingly, slo-in and slo-out). And plenty of other stuff to, especially plenty of hard work, for we also had another saying, more true than all the rest, “It ain’t easy.”
Perhaps that’s true where you work, or in what you do?
Yes, timing is everything. Even when one is born. Of course, we have no control over that. I don’t remember anything before I was born. I’m not that clever. But I do know this, that if I knew what was coming in this life I would have been a little afraid of being born.
More afraid than I am of dying, that’s for sure.
Not that I want to die, or disdain this life. I love this spark of earthly existence! In fact, for a writer, I’m remarkably un-depressed. Maybe it’s all the sunshine in Florida, or the fresh air and exercise I get working in my garden, or the books I’ve read and have have yet to read, or the beers I drink and have yet to drink with friends.
A friend of mine in New Zealand used to say, “It’s a beautiful life, if you don’t weaken.” I couldn’t agree more. But then, beauty is in the eye of the beer holder, isn’t it?
Yes, I love this life. Maybe not every minute of it, but who does?
Lately, the moments I don’t enjoy are when I’m fighting with my wife. To be more precise, I don’t enjoy the silent treatment we give each other after the fight.
I’ll bet it sounds pretty funny to an outsider, each of us in our room with the door shut, trying our best to ignore the other. When we do happen to meet (usually in the kitchen because one must eat, mustn’t they?) we still continue to ignore each other. Make our own food without talking, reaching for the salt without seeing, baking our own potatoes without sharing. It’s so silly. I feel like such a fool at those times.
This is when I realize how stubborn my wife and I can be.
“You can’t be this angry just at me,” I tell her, finally breaking the silence. “What are you really angry about?”
“You!” she insists. “You haven’t spoken to me for days!”
“Me? What about yourself? You haven’t spoken either. Why is it always my fault?”
“Because it IS your fault!” she accuses. “I’m right here! But you ignore me and hide in your hole!”
My wife calls my office my hole. She thinks I’m in here to get away from her, to spitefully ignore her. She cannot understand, no matter how many times I try to explain it, that I’m in here working.
“I’m in here working!” I insist. “Working hard on my next blog!” But she’s not falling for it.
“I know you! You’re in there ignoring me and goofing off!” she answered. “Or worse!” She’s never actually said what ‘worse’ things I could be doing all alone in my hole.
Knowing me as she does, she’s too afraid.
“Why is it me,” I ask, “that’s doing the ignoring? What about yourself? Why don’t you come out of your bedroom and down off your high horse? What frightens you so much about saying you’re sorry?”
“I’m not frightened of anything!” she boasts. “Especially of you!”
“Why is it always my fault?” I repeat. “Why can’t you accept some of the blame sometimes?”
“Because it always IS your fault!” she repeats. She hurled some oaths at me before adding, “You’re a stubborn old so-and-so!”
Only she didn’t say so-and-so. Then she added, “I can’t jump high enough for you!”
“What are you talking about?” I say. I’m completely perplexed by her statement. By this time I can’t even remember what we’re fighting about.
“Nothing I ever do is good enough for you!” she says. Just to prove it, she begins to hop up and down, her thumbs tucked into her armpits and flapping her arms as if she would fly. “Look at me! I’m jumping! See? But I can’t jump high enough for you, can I?”
I do my best to suppress my laughter, because she looks rather like Big Bird from Sesame Street flapping that way. Only not so yellow.
“I don’t want you to jump anywhere,” I say. “That’s what a frog does.” Yes, my mind was going. It went totally blank except because I’d been thinking about Big Bird, for the image of Kermit the Frog.
“You calling me a frog?” she asked me threateningly.
“No-oooh! Of course not!” I answered. “You don’t have to jump for me. I’m not asking for that! I just want you to say please and thank you now and then. Like a human being does. Is that asking so much? To talk to me as you would to a friend.”
“You? A friend?” Now it’s her turn to be perplexed. “Don’t be an idiot! You’re my husband!”