In Which I Behave Badly

I was supposed to work in the office all day, so we were ready to go, but the babysitter was five minutes late, then ten, fifteen. She usually calls me from the road if she’s going to be a mere two minutes early instead of her usual ten, so I was worried. You know, worried that she might be dead. When my husband, to whom I somewhat tearily explained this concern on the phone, expressed slightly irritated surprise that my thoughts had so quickly turned so far toward the morbid, I replied, Well, we have to think about these things. His response: No. We do not. Food for thought.

I finally reached the babysitter on the phone. She had forgotten she was supposed to come today, which isn’t surprising, as we’d re-arranged three weeks’ worth of scheduling because of the holiday, her vacation, the other babysitter’s vacation, my gyn appointment, etc. etc. She said she was on her way.

But by the time I reached her I needed to be leaving pronto for a meeting a couple of miles away, and had already determined I’d bring M along. But first M needed a diaper change, something that she’s lately developed a serious distaste for. And then she was sad and cranky in the car, and I took one detour to avoid road construction and accidentally got into some weird-ass one-way neighborhood streets with dead ends and diagonal roads right and left, and thought I was finding my way out of that but instead came upon a school bus parked in the middle of the street, blocking anyone from passing.

For what I did next there is no good excuse. Let’s just say I was experiencing, um, a lack of mindfulness. A lack so great that I stopped the car, got out, ran up to the bus door and, um, kind of yelled at the bus driver.

Well, I am from quiet, WASP-y stock and probably some people would argue that I don’t actually have a clue how to yell. Call it what you want: I ran up to the door of the bus and made the bitchy arm movements you might have seen people making in cars if you once accidentally pulled out in front of them, and said, loudly, to the driver, “You’re blocking the road! I can’t get through!” And the driver seemed maybe confused or possibly a little slow, and said, “I’m waiting for the kids to…” and pointed at the park building next to the road. And I interrupted him and said again, “I can’t get through!” And, without waiting for any sort of response, stomped back to the car, reversed rather quickly for several yards, and turned around. And, um, noticed a guy I sort of know from a play group standing on the sidewalk probably within earshot of the whole awful scene.

And then I took another, more major road toward my destination, only to come upon a train where I have never seen a train before, a train at least 35 cars long moving at about zero miles per hour. A train that first went very very slowly all the way to the right and then—just as the last car was finally beginning to clear the road on which I was hoping to continue travelling—stopped and began moving very very slowly in the other direction.

In the car—with no unsuspecting bus driver in the crossfire, no potential new friends watching from the sidewalk, and the impressionable Monkey beginning to doze off in the back seat—I was all full of equanimity. There is nothing to be done about this. I will get there when I get there.

There’s got to be a way I can be more selective about my moments of mean childishness. I hope the bus driver was feeling good enough to shrug me off as some kind of lunatic.

By my watch I was almost 15 minutes late for my meeting, and apparently by the watch of the people I was supposed to meet I was 20 minutes late, because they’d already given up and left by the time I showed up. M slept all the way home and for 15 minutes in the car while I chatted with the babysitter, who had arrived while we were gone.

At work I finished eight things on my to do list and until three o’clock forgot to eat anything but those malt balls with chocolate over them. Do you know those things? I have a little bit of a problem with them because the food co-op I frequent sells them in the bulk bins right next to the pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries so I sometimes forget that they are candy and not a fruit or legume.

And after work I came home and fed M beet greens and eggs. I gave her a bath and demonstrated bubble blowing about 47 times, leaning over into the water and getting my face covered with bubbles. And I read her her new favorite book. She signed more more more almost the whole time I was reading, and we went through all the pages at least three times, and she gave goodnight kisses to the duck, the frog, the bug, the snake, and the narrating mouse with the guitar before putting the book down and being nursed to sleep.

It felt in every way like a Monday. The beauty of my crazy part-time work schedule is that tomorrow’s already Friday.

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