Ever wonder what a day in the life of a freelance writer is like? Well, as much as I’d like to say that it is filled with unbeliveable amounts of alcohol broken up by bouts of creative genius, it’s really not like that at all. One of my favorite writers, Ernest Hemingway, would write on a strict schedule that produced an average of 500 to 1,000 words a day. He’d start at 7 am, work for a few hours and stop just as he was hitting his stride. Then he’d start drinking.
My schedule is a lot like that. Only I start writing at around noon, pound out 200-300 words if I’m lucky, and drink two to three cups of coffee spiked with hazel nut coffee mate. Don’t get me wrong, I tried out Hemingway’s plan of action once before with mixed results. Under the influence of Hemingway’s regimen though, I tend to write about how painful my hangover is and little else. While writing like Bukowski is something I aspire to, feeling like him is another thing altogether.
Today though there was something new. As usual, I began with a cup of coffee. The first cup is always the best cup and I tried to make sure it lasted. Somewhere between cups 2 and 3 though, the Red Queen asked if I’d be willing to watch her friend’s baby, Makana, for a few hours while they went to the gym. Being the perfect boyfriend that I am, I agreed.
I practically raised my younger brother and I’ve learned a thing or two about keeping babies amused and too busy to realize they’ve been left behind. Makana is one of those rare babies that is pretty mellow and makes watching him easy. Of course, I have a secret game plan when it comes to babysitting. Many first time sitters make the mistake of rewarding good behavior with candy, but a child hopped up on sugar is likely to cause you much suffering. Its ok to hop the kid up just before his parents return, but it’s not the best way to start the experience. Today I chose a few cheerios, a half a banana, a few grapes and a cup of water to begin my dirty work.
The next step is to wear ’em out until they beg to rest. After the cheerios and fruit, we went swimming, then took a walk down to the beach, and finally crawled around the grass for a few hours. Then we returned to chateau de ed and enjoyed a nice bottle of milk. I thought I might need to lace it with cold medicine or a shot of brandy, but the rigorous exercise seems to have done the trick. Makana was no match for my surefire plan of action.
Need a qualified babysitter? So long as you don’t mind if I feed your child something that has plenty of triptophan, I’m your man. I once had a get rich quick scheme in which I would rent out an abandoned airplane hangar filled with baby harnesses on bungy cords hanging from the rafters. For just 10 dollars each per day, I’d watch a whole army of babies. Really I’d just hang ’em from the ceiling, walking among the rows of bungy baby harnesses and giving them a bounce or two before wandering into the next row. Feeding time would consist of a turkey on rye sandwich and a bottle of warm milk.
I could be the McDonald’s of daycare… a baby burgermeister so to speak. Well, I can dream can’t I?