There are few things that test my patience more than standing in line for ice cream with a screaming toddler. But much to my (and everyone else’s) general dismay around me that was the exact cone-undrum I found myself in one very long Saturday.
In fairness I guess, Saturdays are always a little long for me and, while I’m reasonably convinced the primary reason Jon and I are still married is that we rarely see each other (clearly the secret to many a healthy relationship), I’d be lying if I said being “on” from 5:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on that day between Friday and Sunday hasn’t started to take its toll. In short, if patience is a virtue, bless me, Father, for I have sinned and used it all up, mostly on Saturdays and mostly on the small stuff. I’m sweating it, baby.
Like, for example, just hypothetically if you were standing in line on a fine spring day with your brood of 12 (I kid you not) children and there happened to be a quite obviously exasperated looking woman behind you with her screaming toddler who really just wanted his effing ice cream sandwich like forever ago, that maybe you might, I don’t know, let her go ahead of you, do the right thing, pay it forward? I mean, by the time little Nancy number Nine ordered her hot fudge sundae with a cherry on top, I was ready to tell Miss Blissfully Unaware where she could…
“Shove over,” one of her kids whined, bumping into Tiny Tim Number 10 and I wanted to feel sorry for this woman, really I did. I mean, 12. Children. But somehow, I just couldn’t get there. Somehow I just couldn’t bring myself to sympathize or empathize or not roll my eyes begrudgingly when she realized she’d forgotten her purse in the car, leaving us all to stand there and wait some more because she parked out where Jesus left his sandals.
And I’m guilty of this. I know I am. I knew it while I was standing there in line, glaring at this gal and her gaggle of geese… I mean children. I knew it every time I made a point of telling my own son, (not at all subtly, mind you) that he was being “so very patient while all of these children” went ahead of him and I know it now, sitting with my hazards on in the Middlebrook pickup line while my daughter lives it up like it’s spring break in Punta Cana and all she has is time on her hands and a midriff to sport.
“Get in the car!” I shout, but she’s in the middle of a very important conversation with just 30 of her closest friends and so is there anyone more helpful in these situations than Mrs. Nobles? Someone please double her pay and send her off to Punta Cana with a big straw hat and some spending cash because somehow she manages to corral my cruise director of a daughter over to curbside quicker than that mom in the maroon sedan (the one waving her arms frantically, motioning for me to move over already) careens past me, going well over the speed limit, using what little restraint she probably has left not to lean on the horn after sitting for what seems like the time it takes to fly to the Dominican Republic but was really more like under two minutes.
Listen, we all have days like that. I mean, maybe not in Punta Cana with all that sun and sand and straw hat-wearing but here in the land of layovers in the pickup line. So I’m not faulting Miss Maroon Sedan or judging her or memorizing her license plate number along with the make and model of her vehicle so I can remember it for next time because that would just be wrong on so many levels and quite frankly, I’m above such petty nonsense.
Actually, I live for such petty nonsense like I live for lattes, and I’m sorry, really I am, to anyone who has the sheer misfortune to be standing behind me at Starbucks while I order my “latte with oat milk and could you use a different pitcher because I have a severe, severe dairy allergy so if you could just label it… which I know you always do of course because I watch you. I mean, not like watch you, not in a creepy way or anything but… oh crap, hold on… my daughter’s texting me and she wants a… mango dragon fruit refresher with lemonade, and you… don’t have that? Okay… um… I wonder. You know what, let me just call her and see what she wants because last time I think I got her this strawberry something-something and it was something. I mean, I thought it was anyway but she wasn’t a fan… right, there’s people behind me… got it,” which is why the whole mobile order thing has not only saved me but the rest of the town from having to listen to me, because if you think you’ve got problems? Um, get in line. And thank you for your patience.
Columnist Lesley Kirschner grew up quiet, in the woods, and devoid of siblings so her hobbies quickly became reading, writing, and talking to inanimate objects. She also spent a considerable amount of time doing voice-overs for her dolls and watching too much daytime television–channel 3, sometimes channel 8, if the weather was good and the antenna wasn’t acting up. She was in attendance at school, graduated from a very much not notable college not worth mentioning, and was transplanted to Wilton with her husband, Ambler Farm‘s Farmer Jonathan and their (baby makes) three children almost a decade ago. Although she never quite found her calling in life, other than perhaps the doll voice-overs, which in hindsight were eerily convincing, she’s happy to try her hand at writing and is thankful for the support and community she found on Facebook’s Buy Nothing Wilton. Lesley realizes while this is all very exciting, she’s not winning a Pulitzer so she’ll wrap it up and be quiet. She’s had a lot of practice.