Angels and Demons

Posted: July 17th, 2009 | Author: | Filed under: City Livin', Extended Family, Friends and Strangers, Miss Kate, Paigey Waigey Wiggle Pop, Scary Stuff, Summer | 3 Comments »

Growing up in my family it was like this: Someone would ask someone else, “You want a piece of toast?” And the other person would say, “No, thanks.” “You want some cereal?” The other person, “No.” And—it just turns out I’m using this classic Italian food-forcing example, but really it’d happen with any string of questions that elicited negative responses—then The Asker would say, “Do you want a punch in the nose?”

Now, my husband tells me that his family did not do this. Ask the punch in the nose question that is. And, likely, not force food on the unhungry, although, again, that’s not the point here.

Turns out, according to Mark at least, that asking someone if they want a punch in the nose as a joke isn’t terribly funny. And is even, he claims, somewhat disturbing.

But, that’s what passes for humor in my family. So, say what you will.

That, by the way, has nothing to do with anything that’s happened to me recently, but I was thinking about it yesterday anyway.

Maybe, actually, Kate was all “no-this” and “no-that” and it made me think of it. But if that did happen, I refrained from offering up bodily harm to her, because I’m trying to save room in her dysfunction for some of the weird things Mark’s family did. I don’t want her to get fucked up by my personal family history alone.

Speaking of family issues, such as the second kid getting squat compared to the first, I finally signed up Paige for one of those overpriced kiddie music classes that seem like such a good idea until you’re in one, sitting on a mold-smelling carpet making buzzy bee noises and wishing instead that you were having your armpits waxed.

But Kate attended several of these classes. And to spread the trauma evenly between them, I decided to shell out the excessive amounts of cash to expose Paige similarly.

The good thing is the place is nearby, and it was a sunny, warm morning, so we had a lovely, if not somewhat hurried, jaunt to class on Tuesday. Just listening to birds and admiring flowers and playing a lilting round of the I-put-Paige’s-sun-hat-on-and-she-throws-if-off game.

At one point in our hat toss game, I bend over to snatch the thing off the ground. We’re in a driveway and, as in many of the driveways in our ‘hood, the car in it is parked behind another one and it’s tail end is butted up right next to the sidewalk.

So I whisk up the hat, take one step forward, and the car, which I’d assumed was just parked there, quickly lurches back all fast-like. I mean, just one second of hat-grabbing delay would have left me, Paige, her stroller, and her already somewhat limp hat, flattened FLAT.

It’s kinda like once when an old BF was teaching me to surf in a little deserted lagoony-type area on Hawaii. And after an hour or so when we got out of the water, some local guy walks by and says, “You swam there? No. Do NOT swim there, dudes. That place is packed with sharks.”

Even though we were unscathed—post surfing and post hat-grabbing—I still got all wobbly and dry-mouthed and barfish for a while after.

The driver, an old woman who I’ll guess was Russian, yelped from her car, “I’m sorry!” Unable to speak, I just trudged along the sidewalk pushing the stroller and petting Paige’s blessedly intact head. But Maybe Russian Woman caught up to us, driving slowly and leaning out towards her open passenger-side window to cry out in a maybe-Russian accent, “I am so sorry!”

I didn’t know what to say. So, uncharacteristically, I said nothing. And then, before pulling away, she called out, “The angels! They were with us!”

Well, if they were then, they certainly had abandoned us by later that afternoon, when we were swimming with my still-smokin’-in-her-bikini Mama friend, Mo. We were at her schmancy pool club where Kate was blitzing out with joyous aquamania. You know, staying in the pool until her lips turned blue, like you do when you’re a kid.

By this point in the afternoon, our hostess and her kids had already left the club, encouraging us to stay as long as we wanted.

So, feeling only slightly like crashers, we lingered. Kate continued to work on waterlogging her body.

Paige and I were sitting near the pool, when I looked down at Kate who was clinging to the edge and noticed she had an odd look on her face.

“Do you need to go to the bathroom, Kate?” I inquired, in my most loving honeyed maternal coo.

To which she flatly responded, “I pooped.”

Me: [in a frantic whisper] “Pooped? As in already pooped?”

I know, I know, you might have been expecting some other more devastating angels-weren’t-with-us pool episode. But maybe that’s just because your kid has never taken a dump in your friend’s fancy club pool.

Blessedly, the offending scat had been contained in her suit. We managed to get her out of the pool and up to the restroom without anyone sounding the Poop in the Pool alarm. I even remembered to pick up Paige and take her with us in our haste. (I know, now I’m just showing off.)

Later that day, when any mortal would have taken to their bed exhausted by painful baby music classes, near-death experiences, and acts of public poopery, I forged on. We were out in the front yard, playing some sort of game that no doubt stimulated the girls’ creative and intellectual minds, while simultaneously creating blissful childhood memories they’d cherish forever.

When suddenly some woman down the street starts screaming her head off. Before I even look up I know she got her purse snatched.

She was, as it turns out, exactly where I’d been back when I was waddling down the street—yes, OUR street—pregnant with Paige, and yammering away on my phone, when some urban doofus grabbed my dearly departed big black Kate Spade purse. And did I mention it was the light of day?

Tragically, too, my adored purse—now likely the property of some gangbanger’s girlfriend—had been devoid of cash, since I was just back from the East Coast where I’d left my wallet in my sister’s bag on a little shopping jaunt.

Anyway, so when this guy has my purse, I start screaming my head off—just like this lady down the street was doing—and then some car drives by and I yell, “Hey! STOP THAT KID! He took my purse!” But instead, they slow down and let the kid in. My luck, it was his get-away car.

Now, mind you, I’d really rather live in a ‘hood where none of the cars that are driving around are get-away cars. That would be my preference. I would even welcome bad drivers over get-away drivers (though Mark might disagree with me on that).

And I know what you’re thinking. Why then do I live in Oakland, Fourth Most Dangerous City in our fair country? Generally hearing this statistic makes me offer up my hopes that next year we’ll at least make Third Place. Sassy gal that I am.

I mean, I do say that, but I also get a bit defensive that really, where we live in Oakland is actually quite nice. Charming even.

It’s just that those bad guys from the other parts sometimes find their way over here.

So, just like happened with me, the get-away SUV barrels down the street, driving right past my house. But this time, I’m ready for those fuckers.

I take a step off the curb and peer real intently at the license plate, making sure to mutter it over and over again aloud to not mess it up. I gather up the girls and we make our way to the shaken woman, alongside other neighbors who are offering up phones, consolation, assurances that her company won’t care that her laptop’s gone.

“Anyone have a pen?” I call out, Paigey clamped on my hip like a koala, and Kate likely wondering what warranted being dragged away from the sidewalk chalk. “I got the guy’s license plate number.”

Good thing for that lady, this angel was at the ready.


3 Comments on “Angels and Demons”

  1. 1 Lori said at 6:43 pm on July 18th, 2009:

    So, maybe Mark didn’t say it, or maybe I’ve picked it up from John’s family or something, but I say “how about a punch in the nose” (or if his string of “no’s” is about food, its cousin–the knuckle sandwich) to Gavin all the time. I even used it in the car today. When I asked Gavin if he would like a knuckle sandwich to eat at our picnic, he replied “No, thank you. I don’t like knuckles”.

  2. 2 Maury said at 9:10 am on July 20th, 2009:

    My lord, what a day. And, of course you are invited back to the pool ;) I knew it wasn’t too bad when I didn’t receive the pool members-wide FECAL ALERT email…

  3. 3 becca said at 10:01 am on July 24th, 2009:

    To conjure the look on Mark’s face when you as about a punch in the nose just causes me to giggle audibly….

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