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There she is at the bus stop kissing that adorable towhead! (Where did the blonde hair come from?) There she is laughing with a friend, both of them drinking macchiatos and sharing a zucchini muffin! (So healthy!) Oh, look, there's her crazy cute dog with the "biggest ears anyone has ever seen on a little dog." (Found in a box in Koreatown!) Those must be both her sons, and it looks like a husband in the background, everyone on skis! There they are again, making homemade pretzels (so creative, so ambitious). There's a shot of the kids holding an empty popcorn bucket over their heads after a movie with Daddy. Sad face, she's boarding a plane somewhere, looking haggard, but still well lit.
Her life is just so full and interesting and, gosh darn, fun. I should know: I'm curating it.
O, the glorious life of the Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/Snapchat/Next Cool Thing mother and wife. Is there anything I love more than creating the perfect woman through the use of single frame shots and the occasional funny, inspirational quote?
I hesitate to admit it but yes, my friends, there is. Even more entertaining than the carefully chosen moments are the ones no one sees. Shhh. Like at the end of the day, after the nebulizer has been used to wrestle the blond one's asthma down so he can finally sleep, and the older boy's eyes have finally shut from the 114th text he's received in the previous hour while pretending to practice his guitar, and the husband has dragged himself to bed after spending a week getting up at 5 a.m. to fight off middle age with a morning run before an early start at work.
Then my aspirational, put together woman I present to the world would be tossed right out the social media window with yesterday's TMZ headlines.
Finally, alone, I sit in the dark on the couch covered in black dog hair that, fortunately, blends in with the worn out fabric and watch "The Voice," eating square after square of 83% cocoa dark chocolate.
"This is the last one," I think to myself, breaking off each piece until only the foil wrapper is left in my hand. Sometimes I'm sneaky about my chocolate fix and chop it into my own bucket of popcorn. Shards of it end up melted all over my face when the husband finds me an hour later, woken up by the sing-shouting of the "battle rounds."
Something else that would be much more fun than twisting dough and throwing it into hot water—an overachieving attempt to limit the complaining my sons do about me in therapy in 20 years or less—would be screeching up to my 7th-grader's school, barging into his history teacher's classroom and telling her what I think about educators who grade homework based on the use of the special fonts she likes, landing my point about her ineptitude by tossing a couple of chairs around the room.
But stills of that on the interweb would tarnish my well-adjusted image.
Super, duper extra fun would be opening a full-throttle attack on the woman at the Post Office the other day, ahead of me in line at the DIY postal machine with her multiple packages of assorted shapes going to different ZIP codes and responding when I asked, "Hey I just need a book of stamps, can I go ahead of you?" with a terse and put out, "No. No. Sigh. No."
I've never been fabulous in that Dwell magazine, Real Simple, Cosmo way, but thanks to the genius of social media wizards, I am now.
On Facebook, I could have unleashed my lifetime of rage for all the indignities of life on this woman with loud, lacerating questions like, "How do you get to be so entitled with your tank top and Chanel aviators and your thumb ring? How does one create a person like you, because I would love to know, so I could replicate it with my children, because I do think entitled people do better in the world? Do you have a second to share some of your deep thoughts with me, you know, while you weigh and measure your boxes?"
Now that would have been truly fun.
But I couldn't do that, couldn't risk it. That kind of confrontation might have exploded into something that a "chronicler of urban life" standing behind us might have decided to shoot and post and tag and then what? Then my aspirational, put together woman I present to the world would be tossed right out the social media window with yesterday's TMZ headlines. Instagram shots of me drooling chocolate, reclining on my couch, screaming at a well-meaning, dedicated public school teacher with a fetish for "Apple Chancery," or berating some hipster trying to get important packages out to launch her brand, or worse, sending gifts to a cancer-ridden friend—these do not present as fabulous.
I've never been fabulous in that Dwell magazine, Real Simple, Cosmo way, but thanks to the genius of social media wizards, I am now. So even though I'm curled up in the fetal position in my office, buried under stacks of bills and ignored solicitations for volunteer work, my back gripped in pain because I keep trying to exercise like I'm 25, don't scroll for these shots. You won't find them.