I haven’t been able to shake my crappy mood lately.
This Saturday I stood in front of a plastic card table, next a chubby old clown with blue frizzy hair, glitter on her cheeks, and bright pink lipstick on her teeth.
On second thought, maybe she wasn’t a clown, but rather, a disoriented old lady prostitute with really large, squeaky feet.
I can do a peace sign, a smiley face, a frowny face, a baseball, a balloon…
Her eyes were glazed over, and I could tell she had recited this list for at least her entire life. In fact, I would not at all be surprised if it was chiseled on some missing tablet Moses left on top of the mountain.
(In my Charlton Heston voice…XI Totally cool if gay people marry. XII Real Housewives of Miami? Super bad idea. XIII Non-Blasphemous facial painting strictly limited to peace signs, emoticons, athletic balls, onion rings, clocks and globes*
*That last one will totally make sense after 1492, pinky swear.
But, four year olds don’t want peace signs or smiley faces. They want tigers, or dragons, or light sabers, or those weird Japanese animal creatures they keep putting in the Happy Meals at McDonald’s.
Every time she reached in her mouth to fish out a stray blue hair from her tongue, her armpit honked like a VW beetle. It was supposed to be funny, and I am sure it was back when she began her clown game, you know, when little boys in short pants chased giant wheels down the road with a stick.
Excuse, um, Miss LuLu Giggle Pants, can you paint a tiger? He really wants a tiger on his face, and next to the rhino, it’s his most favorite animal.
I don’t do tigers. I can do a sand dollar, a full moon, Saturn, a snowman-
So basically you can only paint, like, circles?
Well if you look at the sheet on the table, I can also do a couple triangles.
Right, that’s the Star of David?
I closed my eyes and massaged my left temple with my finger. My head pounded. Was it hot in here? I felt hot. I was definitely sweating and immediately regretted not wearing underwear with my jeans. I hope LuLu Giggle Pants had underwear on. That jumpsuit was entirely polyester. And, while I might come out of this with a little chaffing, there was be no way she’d escape this humid Indoor Sports Dome without needing a fungal cream.
I squatted down beside Wyatt, because everybody knows, when it comes to children, it’s way more effective to speak to them at eye level.
Ok buddy, looks like today they aren’t painting tigers on faces. What about a really cool ball or something?
Um, maybe a soccer ball, I guess.
As I stood up, my knees cracked. This day was awesome.
How about a soccer ball, Miss LuLu? Can you do a soccer ball, it’s totally all round and circle-y?
I can do the white part, but I can’t do the-
Pentagons, yes of course. You know what, totally fine, just paint what you can.
I leaned up against the wall and watched Gigi and Jude run around in the giant room of inflatable bounce houses. There was supposed to be supervised childcare, but the two teen girls left in charge were busy being melancholy and texting on their phones, so I was stuck keeping watch. If there is one thing I learned from America’s Funniest Home Videos, if you can bounce in it, you can die in it.
Sigh, I wonder if when she finishes with Wyatt, she can’t paint me a dime bag. Crap. Those aren’t even really circles. When I get home I’m finding my Nirvana CD.
Mom! Look at my soccer ball!
That’s awesome, little man!
Can I get a balloon animal?
Absolutely, what animal do you want?
Giggle Pants cleared her throat.
For boys, I do a sword or a snake.
What’s the difference?
I draw eyes on the snake with a Sharpie.
We stared at each other for what must have been two straight minutes, in a mental game of I am 2 seconds from fist fighting you in the parking lot chicken.
We’ll take a blue snake, please.
Alrighty, tighty. So, you work at this company here today, then?
No, this is my husband’s family work picnic.
Ah, so you’re a homemaker, now that’s a respectful decision for a woman.
No, I mean, I work from home, I’m a writer.
A writer? Well, how fancy. Do you write children books, or for academic publications? That’s what my son does, he’s even had stuff published in the Reader’s Digest and The Catholic Chronicle.
No, I’m a humorist. So, I write dick jokes. Thanks for the snake.
It’s not that I don’t like clowns, or even that I am afraid them. Honestly, I never understood that whole phobia. That’s like being afraid of my uncle Den when he drinks too much, wears tinted lip gloss, and reenacts famous scenes from old black and white movies with his tube socks. Clowns just aren’t my thing.
Snake in hand, Wyatt took off toward the inflatable slide, and I plopped down next to the other spouses on the bench. I really wanted to go over and take pictures of Andy playing indoor soccer with his co-workers, so he could remember how hot he looked when he couldn’t walk or move his arms the next morning, but the kids weren’t having it. Bounce houses were like crack.
About half an hour later, Andy wandered over exhausted, soaked with sweat, and apparently, pheromones, because honestly, all I could think of was doing it right there in one of those bouncey houses until I remembered those things are riddled with pink eye and fecal matter.
He could tell I was at my corralling our children in public tolerance limit, and started saying his goodbyes and collecting our things. He told everyone we had plans with my parents, and we had to take off.
Which wasn’t entirely a lie.
We did have plans at my parents, they just didn’t know it. I’ve been making up excuses to hang out at their house for days after last Wednesday’s critical 2am mistake of not changing the PayPal shipping address on my order of adult toys. They were due at my parents yesterday, but never came, and from the looks of the tracking information I had vigorously been refreshing on my phone, today was the day.
And of course, in line with my overall shitty mood, by the time we dragged our screaming children to the car, it was pouring. Not raining. Pouring. With thunder and lightening and wind and apocalypse.
The entire car ride was tense. The kids had fallen almost immediately asleep, and I spent 30 minutes pushing my foot into the invisible passenger side break pedal as leaves and stray branches flew across the highway.
Can you just go to sleep or take a Xanax or something, you’re really annoying me while I’m trying to concentrate.
We can’t die in a car crash before we get that box, Andy. The last thing I need is my distraught parents opening the last piece of mail I ever got, only to have their final memory of me muddied by a vibrating rabbit shaped dildo.
As we pulled into my parent’s driveway, I saw my grandpa’s Lincoln parked next to the basketball hoop.
Stop! We can’t pull up to the house, let’s just wait at the end of the drive for the UPS truck to come, and I will just run up and grab it from him there.
You are going to run outside in this downpour? It’s lightening!
What choice do I have?
You know, I always hated the fact that my drive way was a mile long and wooded when I was younger. Probably because at night it was haunted, and getting off the bus in the rain or snow sucked. But today, as we sat parked next to a line of pine trees, I was grateful.
Three games of Angry Birds later, the truck arrived.
I jumped out of the car waving my hands for it to stop before it drove up to the house.
You alright, ma’am?
Yes, I just figured since I was up here, I could get that box from you. It’s raining and you shouldn’t have to get out.
He looked at me like I was either mentally ill or a possible terrorist. I was soaked. My hair was all stuck to my face. Do UPS people carry guns, because I think he was totally wishing he had a gun with him.
Hmm, how about I just drive up to the house and you get it from me there.
Yeah listen, I know there is probably some sort of rule in place about giving boxes to crazy people in thunderstorms, but trust me, that box is mine, and this is my parents house, and that’s my grandpa’s Lincoln, and he just recently became a Republican, and I just really can’t have you giving them my box of sex toys right now. I had a really sucky day today, sir.
Mmmm….you’re Brittany Gibbons?
Yes, I am Brittany Gibbons.
And this package from…um…Web Merchant…is for you?
Yes, Web Merchant is a dead giveaway it’s porn, you should see how they bill it on your credit card.
I don’t look at porn.
Right, I mean….that was a rhetorical statement.
Alright, I don’t like this one bit, do you have your license on you so I can check your ID at least.
Yes, oh my God yes.
I handed him my wet drivers license and he handed me my box.
I guess that whole threat about God eventually striking me down with lightening one day didn’t quite play out the way you said it would, did it, Sister Mary Ellen?