Hell of a Day
The cashier asked me how my day had been and I lied, “Good,” right to his face.
I’m sure he gets it all the time. No one wants to say, “Well actually, since you asked, one of my kids has been struggling with her Reactive Airway Disease today, so I’ve pretty much had all 23 pounds of her lumped on my hip while I’ve tried failingly to chase after and assist her exuberant twin with her myriad toddler activities.”
“I’ve loaded, unloaded, reloaded, and re-unloaded them in their carseats fully five times today so that I can drive to appointments, schools, activities, and errands in a minivan that, despite having twice been in the shop to ‘check engine,’ persists in blaring a ‘check engine light’ and that rattles with poor alignment at every slowing because I don’t have the luxury of time to hand it over to mechanics who take endless hours to do a shoddy job of realigning it, forcing me to return every few months until my emergency savings are wholly wrung out.”
“I’ve battled a hell beast wearing the visage of my eight-year-old daughter, who selected a perfectly acceptable gift for her friend’s birthday and then promptly felt overwhelmed with buyer’s remorse. I have retrieved the gift from the soggy grass and wiped it off only to have the hell beast rip off the manufacturer’s tags and throw it once again, this time on the dirt-and-leaf-strewn walkway, so that it now appears we are the sort of people who consider it good form to rummage garage sales to find gifts for our friends.”
“With twin toddlers tripping me in my own kitchen with their obstacle course of board books, fake food, and sippy cups– and one still whining with malaise– I have baked from scratch my Thousand Dollar Sugar Cookies so that I can break away from my normal daily madness to spend two desperately coveted hours with the ladies of my church at this year’s only coffee house evening. But somehow, if you can imagine, the day has gotten away from me, and I have been late to get dinner going, so my evening plans have been irretrievably fucked.”
“Which brings me to the grocery store an hour and a half before closing, my shirt and pants dusted with flour and spackled with snot, to buy this lone bottle of wine and the obligatory fruit for the children who have necessitated it.”
And as he ran the bottle across the scanner, he said to me in all seriousness, “Can I please see your I.D.?”
Incredulity came out as laughter and I asked him whether he had really just asked me for my license. I handed it over and he did some quick math, then he looked back at me and uttered a genuine, “Wow.”
And with that one syllable, my lie was transformed into truth. Whatever else happened, not looking 30 made for a hell of a good day.