Sunday, November 8, 2009
Patience of a Saint? Me? Not so much.
Even at my advanced age, I'm probably too old to be a curmudgeon. I don't even know if girls can be curmudgeons. It seems a male kind of category to me, but I don't want to be a crone or a hag. So I think I want to be curmudgeon.
Or maybe I'm just cranky lately.
I took Alison to a birthday party today at Chuck E. Cheese. I don't mind the place; it's actually kind of fun, and the amount of fun it brings Ali makes it all worth it.
But I didn't stick around for the 2-hour treat the oversized rodent can bring. Instead I went for a quick shopping spree. I didn't see any dresses I liked, and I didn't find any boots that fit, so I went to Half-Priced Books. Size doesn't really matter there, and everything's a bargain.
I found a bunch of paperbacks and still had an hour to kill. Instead of parking myself at Borders, I just went back to the Mouse House, parked with the windows down, unbuckled, leaned back and grabbed a book.
Before I was two chapters in, the occupants of the car next door came back. The kid wanted to extend the day's events with a jaunt over to the movie theater. Her companions were loudly annoyed. To the extent that I wanted to put the windows back up. They didn't notice me but set about berating the kid, who yeah, was a bit of a brat, but geeze; who hasn't wanted a little bit more of paradise? I wondered how they treated each other at home behind closed doors.
Finally, they left; the elder two still talking at high volume about the lack of gratitude their shorter friend was displaying. "After she done spent $40 on you, you want to go to the movies, too?! Shii-iit. You didn't even say thank you yet. You'd better be saying thank you. blah, blah, blah..."
I settled back into my book only to be interrupted again. This time by a screamer. The kid did not want to go home. And she didn't care who knew. Just seemed to think if she wailed loud enough someone one would take pity on her and save her from the mean parents she'd been cursed with.
A little before the appointed hour, I went in to get Ali. I was afraid of who would be parking next, and I didn't know if I'd be able to hold myself back from smacking the kids or the parents, or both.
Happily, Alison was wrapping it up, didn't whine for quarters or tokens or cry that she'd hand't gotten enough plastic crap for her two hours of video gaming. She even used her good manners to thank her host before we left. Maybe some of her St. Elizabeth Seton acting from school sunk in deeper than I'd thought.
She'd spent the weekend playing with the Ogdens and a new little friend who we've just met. Her father lives across the street and she's informed us that she'll be coming over every Wednesday and every other weekend.
She's sweet and about a year younger than Ali. At one point Alison asked about her parents.
"Are they divorced?
"Well, they never actually got around to getting married," I think I heard her say.
"Oh. Well. How does that work?" she asked.
I cringed, thinking we were going to have to have that sex talk early after all.
"Like, do you have to pack up all your stuff every time you move from one house to the other?" she asked.
"Yeah. Kind of," Maddie replied.
"Huh. I think they could make it easier. What if you had two sets of all your stuff at both places and you didn't have to pack so much stuff around."
"Yeah. Maybe we'll do that," Maddie said.
I'm not sure how long the parents have been apart. Seems like either it's recent or Maddie's presence in her father's life is new. I don't really want to know too much. I have enough friends and can't keep up well enough with them to qualify as a good friend half the time.
Plus, two of the closest neighbors are already fueding, and one of them is mad at Ricky (Maddie's dad) whose girlfriend was mowing the yard last week around 9 p.m. Debbie (the other neighbor) was pacing the edge of her lawn, glaring through the darkness at the woman (Chris)as she went back and forth across the lawn. I don't know if Debbie ever approached Chris or if she thought glaring would short out the mower. She tried to drag me into her outrage of this after-hours activity but I resisted.
There's an adults-only neighborhood party sometime this month. We haven't RSVP'd. I'm really thinking that I'd rather stay in.
Does that make me a curmudgeon? A recluse? Or smartly discriminating?