In a spectacular showing of bad luck, I locked the baby in my car today at the grocery store parking lot. Along with my purse, car keys, wallet and cell phone. I have a coupe so I have to crawl into the backseat to wrangle my daughter in and out of her reverse-facing car seat; it’s a fantastic pain in my ass that consistently makes me think “if someone wanted to steal my car and rape and murder me and the baby, now would be the time.” It’s dangerous and annoying. So while trying to perform this dangerous and annoying task, the woman in the ginormous SUV parked next to me was freaking out because she couldn’t back out of the parking spot while my door was open and I’m sure she was a surgeon, running late for a life-saving procedure so I stepped back, closed my door and waved her on. When I turned around I realized what had happened.
There are very few moments in my life that have required lightning fast reactions on my part. Once I was at a bar when a woman collapsed and started having a seizure and that was one of those times I went into Supergirl mode; holding her hands and talking to her, moving her out of the hallway while barking at someone to call the police. Or slamming on the brakes to avoid getting hit by a woman who ran a red light while talking on her phone- that one was near epic. We slammed on our brakes at the same time and she came to a stop about twelve inches away.
Things I am not: quick to process, likely to ask for help. In a blink I decided I couldn’t leave my daughter in the car, my daughter who was now screaming her head off, so I grabbed a woman in the parking lot and asked her hysterically if she had a phone. She said “yes of course” and handed it to me before I could even say “I locked my baby in the car.” That was remarkable. So I called the police who showed up to wait with me until the two truck guys could come and open the door. It was all over in a matter of ten minutes but I think I aged about ten years. My daughter was fine (though mad) and I was a mess. The tow truck guys didn’t charge me a thing; when I turned around with my daughter in my arms, they were gone. If found them in the grocery store minutes later, buying lunch.
I put my hand on the arm of one of the guys and said, “I want to buy your lunch.” He was so flustered. It was actually kind of charming. His partner graciously allowed me to guide them to the self checkout line where I rang up their lunch items. The flustered guy had tears in his eyes.
“We were just doing our job,” he said. I said I understood, but because they didn’t charge me, I wanted to pay for lunch. He said, “I can’t remember the last time someone offered to buy me something.”
One of those things people say that breaks your heart in ten ways. “God bless you,” he said as they walked away.
Later, as I was putting the groceries into my trunk, an elderly woman ran across the parking lot and yelled I HAVE TO SEE YOUR BABY!!! Then she proceeded to talk to me about her 27 year old daughter who is expecting her third, a girl, and her son’s girlfriend who is also expecting. It was bizarre and I was so emotionally exhausted but I kept up the semblance of politeness before steering myself away from her physically.
Then I came home and dropped a piece of china that has been in my husband’s family for almost one hundred years. I had been (ironically) super-gluing the handle which broke during our move (I had to go to the store for super glue and eggs – is this a comedy or a tragedy? I didn’t drop the eggs…) so there must be a metaphor in here somewhere.
I am still processing the events of today but I’m grateful for the help of those people that helped me today. It wasn’t hugely traumatic or life-endangering or anything like that- it was a reminder that people can be genuinely kind-hearted and willing to help if you ask. It was also a reminder that I am capable of fucking up and inevitably will fuck up.
Now, bring on the wine.