About me: I'm 42 and added another gherkin to our pickle party of a family. My husband Chuck, our 9-year-old Junior, our 6-year-old Everett, our toddler and I live in a town in Connecticut I affectionately call Mulletville Lite (aka my childhood hometown). My friends call me Nutjob, and they're right. In my husband's spare time he dresses up as a Viking and chases ghosts (and I'm the nutjob?). When I'm not busy working as a graphic designer, I lie in a ball in the corner.
Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Could've been so beautiful...could've been so right...
I brought Junior to the park this morning because I took the day off and it was 45 degrees out, which felt like 80 after the cold spell we had last week.
The park in Mulletville is a nice enough place. There are some swings and a duck-laden pond. The local high school track team practices there so sometimes we get to watch skinny, out-of-breath pimpleheads run by (Where’s Waldo? always seem to come to mind).
There’s also a fountain by which moms congregate.
I don’t like the fountain. There’s something intimidating about moms who clump together and pass around Cheerios. For a group that’s supposed to be so nurturing and supportive (I’m grossly generalizing here), they can be downright snarky. They size you up, size your kid up, whisper, etc. It’s enough to make you feel like you’re back in your fifth grade cafeteria.
Needless to say, I’m not an infiltrator; I’m more of a fringe hanger.
I’m also a heckler. As Junior and I made our way to the path so we could avoid the bustling matriarchal fountain, we passed a chain of four moms doing lunges and Mountain Poses as they pushed their strollers. Ick. Blech. Stroller yoga? I don’t want to watch anyone’s spandex creep up her ass as she reaches for the rising sun. Don’t pretend you live in California; accept the fact that you live in a gray, barren state and do your muscle communing indoors.
So back we headed to the fountain.
And that’s when I saw her. Pale skin. Long, black hair. No rat tail. Fit, but not neurotically so. Standing away from the crowd, watching the ducks with her toddler son. Quiet or anti-social? It was hard to tell. The sunbeams reflecting off the fecal-encrusted pond caught her earrings and I thought Would you be miiiine? Could you be miiiiine? Won’t you be…my neighbor?
Ever notice how trying to befriend a fellow mom can feel like you’re picking someone up at a bar? I mean, you both have kids but so what? You both have arms and yet you don’t go out in public and strike up conversations about that.
“Hi, I, uh, noticed you also have a limb with a hand attached to it. How’s that, uh, going for you?”
Nonetheless, she had a smokin’ rack so I pushed Junior’s stroller closer. Junior, in his social vomiting way, yelled, “Hiyeah. Moon. Uh-oh. Illy. Dada. Hiyeah. Mama. Happy. Nose. Juice. Eye. Oh no. Hiyeah.”
Her son, who was sitting on the ground eating Cheetohs straight from the bag, gave me a blank look. That should have been my first clue, but the woman kind of nodded, so I did that thing where you wear a perma-smile so as to convey the fact that you’re sunny, approachable, sketchy. She smiled back.
“The ducks look cold,” I offered.
Idiot! A) It was practically warm out and b) how about, “Hi, my name is Mrs. Mullet and we both have kids so why don’t we talk about the one thing we have in common in that sardonic, fatigued way moms do?”
I can’t understand why the mothers at the park aren’t begging me to join their elite Cheerio circles.
She snickered and picked up her kid. “If I was a duck, I’d only fly back to Connecticut to take a shit.”
Well, there you have it. Clearly we would not be sipping hot chocolate together as we discussed our children—or our appendages. Though as I walked back to the car I did realize our mutual disdain for this state could have been our saving grace.