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June 25, 2008

The Procrastination Gene.

Cory_tattoo After a lovely morning with my friend Lisa where we (somewhat guiltily) snuck off to breakfast and then to Sex and the City, I came home. The sun was shining, the birdies were tweeting in the trees and I'd just picked up a fro-yo with blueberries. Could life be any sweeter?

Then, I saw her. On my front porch sat my beautiful daughter who is home from college, making a pit-stop between San Francisco and Ecuador (from whence I shall will her to return malaria-free). She was reading the paper with that characteristic squinty expression that says so much about the night before.

"Hi, sweetie," I said breezily. When her pained eyes shifted upwards, then refocused on my face, I knew she wasn't feeling particularly swell. But did that stop me? No.

"Cory, you are going to take the car to the carwash today, aren't you?" No answer, just a grimace.

"Well, aren't you? You promised to yesterday and that didn't happen. The car is filthy. You -"

"Alright, alright. Just, not right this second, okay? Let me... I have to... process something."

"Like what?"

"Like a hellish hangover, okay?"

Did I envision this conversation taking place the day she was born? I had held her tiny body in my arms  and whispered tenderly, "Just promise me one thing. Promise you'll never tattoo your face." Well, she kept that promise - but only barely.

When she was in Thailand last summer, working at an orphanage, her group took a day trip to Chiang Mai and she had "Live the playful life" in Thai tattooed along the base of her skull. In a Thai tattoo shop. That her Thai companions assured her was the safest tattoo parlour in Chiang Mai. And if I gave this more emotional bandwidth than the amount of time it takes to say it, you wouldn't see me for a week, I'd have a migraine that bad.

The thing is, she's going to be 22 in August. And I had her when I was 30. Yeah, go on. Do the math. That's not me being coy. It's just me being lazy. Because I know the answer is that I'm fifty-something. Not "going to be" fifty. Not "just turned" fifty. Not "on the bubble." No. I'm WELL INTO my fifties, and for reasons I shan't go into here and now, having a cocktail (or a string of them) to deaden the attendant horror is no longer an option. Let's just say I used up all my drink tickets. Many of them when I was 21 waiting to turn 22.

I will say I had a hell of a time in my twenties. Living in both NYC and L.A. And doing many things that, should she have known of them, would have turned my mother's hair white. Terrifying stuff. But that's just it. I never shared my adventures with my mother. And, good, bad or indifferent, it's a different story with my daughter and me. I may be smoking crack, but I'm under the impression that we have a very open pipeline when it comes to communication. She tells me what's up. I tell her what's down. We share some things in common, but mostly we're very different women. She's a social butterfly, I've developed into something this side of a hermit. I'm a neat freak, she drives a car that's a rolling dirt-mobile. But somehow, somehow, we always manage to meet in the middle.

It's now 4:35pm. The carwash closes at 5pm, and she's still sitting in her room, typing away on her computer. I'm in mine, blogging this - even though I should be working on a freelance gig that's so boring it induces paralysis. I'd much rather catch up on the last three episodes of "The Tudors." Or try, once again, to apply a nearly human shade to my hair. Or order a pizza. A big gooey, not-on-Weight Watchers cheesy masterpiece. Anything but buckle down to business.

I stop to consider. Perhaps Cory and I aren't that different after all. Even with all the should's, supposed to's, must's and need to's in life, once in a while, ya gotta flip off the world. All those face-the-music-cut-the-mustard-get-it-done's will still be there on Monday morning. For now, I think I'll choose to live life playfully.

Lucia Davies blogs about her big fat L.A. life at TheNew30.typepad.com

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