Life gets away with coincidences that no writer could write convincingly. Say you had two young characters going through infertility treatment — “that’s not likely. Young people conceive more easily and–” Right. Tell it to real life — for six years. All six years they had no clue what to name a girl, but they knew for an absolute fact that the boy would be named Robert Anson.
So imagine our surprise, 7/7/91. Yeah, well, I was surprised I was alive. So was the doctor who told Dan she couldn’t guarantee twenty minutes more, let alone survival. But that’s not important right now. The kid was born at just after two am — I think he was making sure it would still be 7/7 on Colorado time and didn’t realize we were in NC. (What? No crazier than the next writer, who, admittedly is in an I-love-me jacket.) As soon as he was born, my adrenaline levels must have dropped and the three anesthesias they’d pumped into me with no effect plus the spinal block, plus three days hard labor without eating ALL hit me at once, and I woke up 24 hours later. All of the kid’s birthdays have been more fun than THAT.
When I woke up, I found Dan had called my brother in Portugal (Alvarim is the only one who speaks English fluently enough to be a point of contact in this situations) and told him poundage, name and that we were both miraculously alive.
And Alvarim told him, “Oh, born on Heinlein’s birthday, too.”
Which is how we figured it out, because frankly we had been kind of busy to pay attention.
Dan took advantage of my being out of my mind still — uh… if it weren’t for modern medicine I’d have gone the way of Queen Jane Seymour. Massive uterine infection because of protracted labor. It cost me almost two weeks in hospital and massive morphine, still, at home. Which is why/how I wrote Thirst, but that’s not important right now — two weeks later, to make me send a birth announcement to Mrs. Heinlein. This initiated a correspondence, which I would not have given up even to spare the embarrassment. Eventually we talked on AIM, which allowed me to run in ten minutes late to pick up Robert from swimming, forget I was in Col. Springs, and say “I’m sorry Robert, I was on AIM with Mrs. Heinlein.” Which… made the entire pool reception area go silent and then one squeaky voice ask, “Not, THE Mrs. Heinlein?” Which caused ME mortal embarrassment.
Real life doesn’t have to avoid coincidences. I didn’t know that Heinlein had had a “thing” for elephants. Not beyond “The man who traveled in elephants.”
Robert — my Robert — has had a “thing” for elephants since he was three at least — perhaps we only discovered it when he could express it — he has elephant statues, elephant stuffed animals, elephant calendars and elephant … everything he can find.
Yesterday, mindful of the fact that if things go well and his life goes as he wants it to, this will be his last birthday at home, we as a family took a trip down the memory lane and went off to Denver to paint the town a mild pink. (Red is more expensive.)
We went to the art museum, because desecrating art is one of our main amusements — but actually spent most of the time in the Western Art wing, where we saw a painting Long Jakes, which looks exactly like Dave Freer (even the eyes. Dave, did one of your ancestors get sent out here?) We also saw a lot of … well… western-life paintings. Robert said “Science fiction needs to have more this feel” and I said “Welcome to human wave.”
We also went to Pete’s for dinner and, oh, yeah, we went to the zoo for Robert to “soak up” elephants. Because he can never be depressed around elephants. We even devoted fifteen minutes to Marshall seeing monkeys, which he likes almost as much as Robert likes elephants. (Marshall’s voice goes up two octaves and he goes “aw, look at the cute little…”
Then we got caught in a sudden downpour and drank a lot to warm up (that’s our story and we’re sticking to it.) So, today I’m still pushing caffeine, and my brain is only SUPPOSEDLY working.
So, in the end a good time was had by all. Now excuse me while I go install a oven hood.
And I hope everyone had a good Heinlein Birthday. We had a pretty good time celebrating the 21st of the abridged edition.