Thursday, January 3, 2008

Getting out of Barnes and Noble

I took the two smallest ones to the Park Slope Barnes & Noble today to use their christmas gift certificates from their grandfather. It was going really well. We saw a pal from my daughter's class there and they were really cute chatting and reading together. The mom told me she had just had double diaper duty in the bathroom. Which brought to mind a picture of that decayed jaw fragment Ms. Heather left on the changing table there over the summer, but I said nothing about that. A watchful police officer strolled through the childrens' section looking for thieves. I used her presence to intimidate my kids into leaving the price tag on a book they hoped to get.

Somehow my daughter disappeared just as I went to pick up our coats before leaving. She does this from time to time and for this reason I really should go around with her strapped into a stroller or on a harness or something. Since she was very young she seemed to gravitate towards danger, for instance, the door to the kitchen in a restaurant. The top of a flight of stairs. In this case, I found her calling for me at the bottom of the escalator. To add to my humiliation, she was discovered there simultaneously by a nanny we know, from a family who seems to take great pleasure in our mishaps. One time the dad was practically euphoric because his daughter told him I had driven away from their apartment after dropping their daughter off, leaving my own daughter, who had accompanied her friend into the vestibule, standing on the sidewalk. Wouldn't that just be the funniest thing, to drive away leaving your own child standing there on the curb?

But I didn't drive away. I had just pulled up a few feet because I was blocking traffic. Why his daughter seemed to see me drive away I can't explain. But I'm glad he enjoyed the anecdote so much.

So this is what I'm reminded of as I meet this nanny at the bottom of the escalator, in my annoyance with my daughter for disappearing and reappearing in the most worrisome place in the building. With difficulty I haul the 2 kids over to the elevator to find it out of service.

I carry our coats and a pile of books plus my daughter up the escalator, all the time insisting that my son face forward. On the way to check out I manage to knock a bunch of stuff off the shelf because the heap of coats I'm carrying blocks my view. My son kindly puts them back on the shelf for me while I stand there trying not to drop anything else, wondering what has happened to my sense of shame.

As we arrive at the cashier my son is deciding that he doesn't want the item he picked out and I'm really starting to lose it. As I start to walk away I manage to brush against the POP shelf overstuffed with sudoko books and one falls on the floor. When I put it back, 3 more fall down. I manage to get 2 back on the shelf before another falls down. I start to complain in exasperation, "these books just aren't staying on the shelf !!" but I don't think anyone noticed me. I wonder if they have a security camera trained on that spot because if so I bet someone would have a hoot watching it. I'm sure several people a day are assaulted by the sudoku avalanche. Or maybe I carry a larger amount of chaos factor than most. Oops, what was this little pin doing in that grenade?

My son was still whining about his choice. I let him go back downstairs by himself to get the thing he has decided he wanted. He came back and we went through checkout again. It went better this time. No sudoko books fell. There were no more merchandise collisions. It's hard to believe I haven't been banned from the store.

It's also hard to believe the amount of parking places I saw today. What' s going on? Did half of Park Slope donate their cars to charity? I can imagine that.


Anonymous said...

"Did half of Park Slope donate their cars to charity? I can imagine that."

Well, there *are* those "donate your car" cartoon billboards all over the BQE!

amarilla said...

I know. When my daughter sees the ones that say "Cars for Kids" she gets confused, she wonders why you'd give a car to a kid. More fun with cognitive dissonance! It never ends...