My mom is my best friend, but we have vastly different ideas of fun. She always wants to go on these grand family outings (theme parks, bowling, movies), and I prefer not to take my children in public because there are three of them and it always turns out to be a stress fest. And yes, I said “fest” instead of “test.” Because if it were a test, I would fail every time. I inevitably end up irritated beyond measure, struggling to keep myself from breaking into tears and/or spontaneously cussing at a children’s museum or miniature golf course or similar venue inappropriate for mental breakdowns and cussing. I prefer to call it a stress fest. It makes it sounds less stressful. Almost fun.
Anyway, today her grand idea is to go to the zoo. I almost broke out in hives just thinking about it, so I managed to par it down to lunch at my house and a trip to the ice cream store. I should have known that mom’s idea of a trip to the ice cream store would involve going to a special, world-renowned ice cream store more than a half-hour away that people flock to in order to try every one of their 100 types of sundaes. It’s apparently a destination ice cream store. Guess what. That was everyone else’s idea too.
We waited in line for a life sentence. Without parole. Waiting in line forever with kids always sucks for the usual reasons, but it was especially bad at this particular place because, as I mentioned, they have 100 types of sundaes. I’m not sure if you’ve ever tried to get a seven-year-old to decide between vanilla, chocolate, or chocolate swirl, but even that decision is a whole process. This was that scenario times 33 1/3, for over an hour before we finally made it to the register. They changed their minds thousands of times, and the only thing that Boy One knew for sure that he wanted was a banana split, which only came in a size bigger than his head and I would have had to sell one of the other children to purchase it. I refused at first, but after standing in line for most of my adult life, I decided I no longer wanted ice cream so I bought him the stupid banana split with the money I saved.
By the time I finally placed our order, Mom could tell I was getting stressed so she told me to go wait outside and she would bring the ice cream out.
Thank you. Since it’s your fault we’re in this mess.
The boys and I went outside to wait and I realized that it wasn’t just me. The fellow ice cream masochists seemed to be on edge and very touchy. If you bumped into someone, they glared at you. No one returned a friendly smile if you made eye contact. Boy Two was jumping up around near a parked car and I reminded him to be careful not to touch others’ cars. Then a nearby man snarled and pressed the lock button on his key fob to “re-lock” his car, causing it to honk.
“This ice cream hell is really doing a number on everyone’s nerves,” I thought to myself. “I’m right there with ya, folks.”
Our group enjoyed the ice cream and we headed home. It wasn’t until later that I learned that the others at the store were not actually on edge because of the chaotic atmosphere, like I was. They were angry because we had apparently accidentally cut in front of an entire loop of the waiting line. It really wasn’t marked very well. I had no idea, and I felt bad when Mom told me…..but, really though, thank God we did or I wouldn’t be writing this post right now because I would be in a padded cell and straight jacket waiting for the Ativan to kick in.
So if you are one of the people we cut in front of at the ice cream store today (and there’s bound to be at least one of them reading this since everyone in Indiana was there), I’m sorry, but you did a great service by allowing me to preserve one small shred of my sanity.