As I left the house I made an extra effort not to slam the door again this time. The slight drizzle in the cool but humid air comforted me slightly as I got into our van. When I arrived at the construction area at the end of the road, I was flagged to stop by a young female worker. "How dare she work in a predominantly men's world and still manage to pull off a sexy look" I thought. It's hard enough for us regular ladies to come across as appealing with our flabby guts and our stretch marks; permanent tokens serving as payment for doing the job only women can do. There she goes, gaining the respect of not only the men she is working amongst but also every male driver she makes wait for her. Is it worth it? This so-called respect? I'm afraid the only way to get the attention I crave is if I look like a Dallas Cowboys cheerleader. I really don't need this kind of pressure or these thoughts right now. And I'm convincing myself that I don't crave that kind of attention anyway. I'm on Free Parking for the time being and I'm not going to waste it pondering the difference between sexy and sexist. Patiently I continue to wait while Johnny Reznick sings "...and I don't want the world to see me..." which thrusts me deeper into a funk.
Once I arrived at the supermarket, I sat in the parking lot just for an extra moment, letting the sprinkling rain encourage my mood. When the weather is like this, I am allowed to feel depressed and sorry for myself. It's the sunny days when I am most frustrated. I'm required to be happy and uplifting then. It's my job. For the kids' sakes. We don't want to expose them to adult emotions like depression and poor self worth. Unfortunately they'll learn that soon enough. But when it's raining, no one expects a person to be happy. If you see someone crying in the rain you think "Oh, well it's raining, they will feel better soon." Funerals and break-ups and terribly bad news only come during inclement weather thus I can hide my sadness easier when it's wet out. Or maybe I'm just living in my own little world of ridiculous self-imposed rules.
I parked somewhat far from the entrance. There's no rush. I am alone and can steal a bit of extra time. No one will know and the worst of it would be that lunch is just a little late. I only have three items on my list but I take my time and even find a couple of extra things we could use. I don't want to hurry back. This brief time is my only respite. Why can't they ask daddy for a drink or a snack or another bowl of cereal? He's right there. Why is it that I get so upset when my kids only want from me what I'm there for? I chose this life remember? "Stay at home, you were made for this job" I told myself seven years ago. I convinced myself that if I could handle ten adults with special needs I could surely handle a baby. I completely underestimated the mental strength needed for this line of work.
I'm disappointed to enter the checkout line because it means the ride's almost up. Do not exit till it has come to a full and complete stop. Time to go back. What if I don't go back? What if I drive away with my bread and shaving gel and $60 and just keep going wherever I want to go? Could I be happier? Of course I know my answer but sometimes when I'm alone I like to wallow in self-pity. Hopefully this is not my strongest personality trait.
The kid at the counter finishes ringing me up and I put on the standard smiley face and "Thanks, you too" spiel. She's so young. She'll go home and turn on the tv, maybe grab a bag of chips (because who thinks about weight at that age?) and call a friend. Maybe go out to a fancy restaurant and shopping later because she has no overdue bills. And she's earning money. Her very own. She's free. The little snot. I briefly allow myself to reminisce the time in my life when I was her but quickly shake it off. "I'm grumpy and I'll stay that way till someone else does something about it" says the little brat inside me.
The walk back to the car is still damp but sweet. I take the construction route home, hoping to be delayed a little longer. I am not let down. I pull into the driveway fighting the wave of dread I know is coming. Instead, I busy myself thinking about lunch prep details. Not that anyone will appreciate what I've made. I am cooking for myself at this point but isn't that what I wanted? As I reach the door I can hear the squeals and screams from the other side. I surprise myself as, (of my own free will) I open the door and enter to my youngest chirping "can't find me mommy!" as she hides obviously under her nite nite. My dismal mood is momentarily lifted but returns as I remember I must provide food for these people.
My "get out of jail free" card has now expired and I can almost hear the metallic clink of the imaginary cell door being shut heavily behind me. Like the game Monopoly, life can start out as fun. But before you know it you find yourself mortgaging all your properties and making frantic deals with the other players just to stay in the game when all you really want to do is quit and go to bed.