Saturday, May 1, 2010

12 Hugs

I'm going through a hugging phase.

Last week I was home for 6 WHOLE DAYS and took the girls to a gymnastics class where their teacher explained that children needed 12 hugs per day for 'growth'. This seemed oddly specific. 10 hugs would shrink them? 14 would get them in the WNBA? She wasn't clear what the consequences for missing the mark were, just that 12 was the magic number.

Personally, little rules like this hold a lot of attraction for me. When I was in high school I read that keeping your hands in your pockets made you look weak and shifty. Since I felt like I looked extremely weak and very shifty it was a revelation to think that this might all just be the fault of my POCKETS! So I started pinning them closed to keep me from getting my hands in there. But it turned out that if I couldn't pocket my hands they just tended to flop around so that it looked like I was doing a little dog paddle as I roamed the halls. Weak and shifty or groping at the air like an escaped mental patient. Those were my choices for navigating high school. It was very difficult to find a prom date.

Anyway, I've taken up the challenge of 12 hugs per day to maintain my own 'growth'. This was super easy at home as the girls will hug anything upon request. "Nixie? Can you hug the remote control? Good. Now can you hug it while you walk to dad? Great."

Now that I'm back in LA it's way more difficult. I'm not really a hugger by nature. I'm more of a 'can't I just send you an email?' type. As the end of a day rolls around and I realize I've only bagged 10 hugs I have to start figuring out which of the people left it's going to be least awkward to hug. Will the sound mixer think it's odd if we hug goodbye? Will the security guard report me? Last night I only made it to 11 and I just couldn't find anyone else to hug. Three days ago I'd never heard of this rule, and now I'm laying in bed thinking of calling the front desk for a hug just to put me over the top.

Then this morning I was walking through an underpass (despite the lyrics, some people do walk in LA; the ones who are so cheap they'd rather walk than have to tip the valet to get their car back) and I passed a box with two buttons. One marked ACKNOWLEDGE and the other marked RESET. It was like an existential control panel. ACKNOWLEDGE, RESET. So I pushed the first one and then the second one, and then I felt like I probably shouldn't have pushed either and I ran for several blocks before the authorities could show up.

The point is, life is so complicated and messy that I love the idea you can somehow navigate it by just repeating a series of simple tasks. 8 glasses of water, 12 hugs, pin your pockets closed, mash some buttons under the freeway, and you're all set. Or reset according to the buttons.

As of today, we're done with the pilot. It's been an amazing experience, and no matter which way things go, the next few months are going to get complicated. Amy and I have been worrying about how we'd deal with the various eventualities. Now, I plan to just focus on hugging my way through it. If we see each other it would be great if you could spare one. Or twelve.


itstartedwithawindmill said...

12 hugs? Not sure about that one. Do dogs count? There are way too many old ladies in my neighborhood, and that could get out of hand. My neighbor's autistic daughter gives a rare hug and then puts her forehead against my forehead. I'd sure like to understand what that all means to her. It's like her ultimate show of respect and fondness.

I can't carry $13.00 in my wallet. Someday I'll manage to always have more than that. Until then, it's always a great excuse to buy candy.

Dawn Farias said...

I enjoy your writing! I'd hug you and your whole family with great earnestness. Since high school, I've discovered that I AM a hugger.

AB said...

Sending 2.5 Wisconsin-Style hugs your way.

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