It’s really tempting for me to type this whole thing as a CAPSLOCK extravaganza, but I am going to try to write like an adult. (Well, my version of “adult,” anyway. The XXX kind.)
“So then stop chaperoning these field trips if it sucks so bad, dumb ass.” Right, that’s what you’re thinking isn’t it? But there are a couple reasons I keep grudgingly raising my hand.
- I live right across the street from the school and pretty much do fuck all during the day. There is no good reason for me to say no. Stating that I “hate kids” wouldn’t fly, I don’t think. And I kind of like that the teachers think I’m all sweet and naive. Besides, my bonbons and “Gossip Girl” will still be there tomorrow. (Because Henry doesn’t delete my DVR’d shows like I do to his.)
- I want to experience these things with my fucking kid, OK? Even if it means having my blood pressure skyrocket to the point that it sounds like high school marching band bass in my ears. Also, if my kid’s being a dick, I want to know about it.
- This particular field trip destination was Heinz Hall for some kid symphony bullshit, which inspired some kind of angel/devil round table in my head and in the end the devil was all, “Look bitch, I want to see the goddamn symphony.” Especially when it’s FREE.
I got to the school yesterday at 10. Before I even got to start the kid-hating telethon in my head, I had to first recognize my disdain for other parents by being sequestered in a room with the other chaperones. There were only four other moms there when I arrived, two from Chooch’s class, and two from the 1st grade class, but they were all involved in some momish discussion about being active in their children’s education and I have nothing to contribute to that so I slid quietly into a seat that was far enough away that I couldn’t contract any domestic viruses, but not too far away that it looked like I was being an elitist.
Even though I’m clearly an elitist.
There ended up being thirteen of us in the end. Three were for the other class, and this time there were two dad chaperones for Kindergarten, as well. I immediately hated one of them, but considering I got busted for my last field trip post (it ended up not being bad, but still), I am going to try this new thing called “Name Withheld,” but if Henry were here reading this he would make crumbs cascade from his twitching moustache and bark something akin to, “HOW ABOUT YOU JUST NOT WRITE IT ALL?”
But seriously, this dad had a tiny nose and was wearing a sweater from the IMMAPRICK catalgue. That is all I needed to see to know that he is a rich, entitled financial manager who drinks scotch at night while wearing $100 slippers and watching Fox News and then masturbates in the morning to one of those fucking gratuitous motorized neck tie carousels from Sharper Image. He also has some kind of small, yippy dog that he kicks when the kids aren’t looking.
I know all of this based on his creepy nose, I’m not kidding.
Soon, everyone was talking to each other except for me and a mom wearing a baseball cap tugged low over her eyes.
“I hate this shit,” I said to her.
“Oh, me too!” she agreed, and then OMG I HAD A SHORT, SELF-INITIATED CONVERSATION WITH A PARENT. And like me, she had no idea what the fuck was going on.
“I mean, what are these people even talking about?” I laughed, and then she laughed, and I think this is how normal people do that “small talk” thing. I made sure to tell my Diary later that night.
Then we went back to looking at our phones and never spoke again during the field trip.
II. My Charge
For this field trip, I was responsible for Chooch and this girl who Chooch told a few weeks ago, “My mom hates you” which is just really fantastic and I hoped that maybe she wouldn’t remember that. I mean, he wasn’t too far off base, but I’m kind of like, “Bro, what mommy says to you after drinking 3/4 of a bottle of tequila stays between you, me and the fucking commode, OK?”
This girl, who will henceforth be known as Luna because she reminded me of Luna Lovegood from Harry Potter with her endless strings of flighty non sequiturs, took my hand in her pink mitten and never stopped talking from that point on. She had this real lackadaisical inflection that made her (thankfully) hard to hear over the roar of traffic as we paraded 20 kids down the street and to the trolley station, a walk that would take me about 5 minutes on my own but with my arms being wishboned by two gabby children who refuse to walk in a straight line and have to treat every fucking curb like a balance beam, I swear it took nearly 20. Every now and then I would just bear down and drag them because I was so afraid of losing the group ahead of us and being responsible for crossing the street with two kids ON MY OWN.
And we all know that shirking responsibility is what I’m best at in life. That and giving Henry gray hairs. I’m good at writing my name, too. God, I just have so much going for me, it’s hard to pick which one I’m best at.
Meanwhile, Luna is going on and on about Hello Kitty.
“And I have Hello Kitty tights but I can only wear my Hello Kitty tights if I’m wearing my Hello Kitty barrette but I’m wearing my Hello Kitty barrette today so I also put on my Hello Kitty tights which is good because I’m also wearing a Hello Kitty dress and sometimes I like to drink the rain.”
It was all of this and more. For hours. And then she and Chooch would argue about things, really stupid shit that I didn’t care about, and then they would both look at me to play judge and I’m like, “I don’t fucking care, I’m trying to tweet, you assholes.”
At one point they argued because we have a frog named FRANCIS! which can’t be, because she has a cousin named Francis, and I was about to ask, “Francis, or FRANCIS!?” but that would require me getting involved and other than murmuring a few “Wow”s and “Oh really”s here and there, I try to stay low-key as far as “doing shit” goes.
I also learned that Justin Bieber is her biggest fan. I was about to correct her, but who the fuck cares. Let her mommy do that. There were a few other times too when she would say that something was her biggest fan, like Sleeping Beauty. Sleeping Beauty is her biggest fan, you guys! That is how awesome she is!
Back to Bieber: She was horrified to learn that Chooch was zombie Bieber for Halloween. HORRIFIED and REPULSED.
“Justin Bieber is not a zombie,” she stated firmly.
“Well, he was on Halloween, kid,” I muttered dryly.
And then something alarming happened: She’s droning on and on about Bieber, about how he is the best singer in the world and like, so dreamy and shit, and I’m thinking to myself, “Fuck, this sounds familiar. Why does this sound familiar? WHY DOES THAT DOPEY SMILE ON HER FACE LOOK FAMILIAR??!!” And then I took a step back and realized, “Holy shit, this is me, talking about Jonny Craig. I AM THE EMOTIONAL EQUIVALENT OF A SIX-YEAR-OLD GIRL.”
And it makes sense too because I would totally wear that Hello Kitty barrette.
III. Chooch’s Mouth
We finally make it to the trolley platform and I’m having heart palpitations from all the kids rough-housing so close to the yellow line and NO ONE IS STOPPING THEM from toppling over and onto the tracks. Chooch kept trying to join them, but I’d grab him by the nape of his pea coat and pull him back to the bench I was forcing him to share with Luna. Some of his little buddies came over and sat with them.
One of the boys, a kid who used to cry every morning last year and it was supremely awkward for me because he and Chooch were always the first kids to arrive and we’d have to stand there stupidly pretending like we weren’t watching his dad or grandma yell at him for crying, which is always how you want to get a kid to stop crying, by yelling in his face. So I would try to be sensitive (no, really) around him and I’d make it a point to say hello and remark on his Agent P shirt or whatever other stupid cartoon character he was boasting on his chest that would make me whisper, “Who the hell is that again?” to Chooch before saying anything. This year seems to be going a lot better for him, and he always (often solemnly) says good morning to me.
We’ll call him Sad Baby.
On this day, however, he’s sitting on the bench and I’m standing in front of him shooting daggers into my kid who looks like he’s about to bust out some parkour action, when I feel Sad Baby’s eyes on me. I make contact with them and he kind of gulps and says, “You’re really—”
Now, time kind of froze for me as I braced myself for him to say something degrading because you know, everyone is trying to turn me into a cutter.
But instead, Sad Baby says, “—-pretty” and then sheepishly ducks out. So I’m standing there, having this really great heart-swelling moment, my ego is just about ready for blast off, when my asshole child rolls his eyes and chimes in with, in the exact tone Henry would have used, “Yeah well, she always says she’s FAT.” And pretty much every chaperone on the trip is standing right there, pretending they hadn’t heard and trying not to laugh. So my moment of hair-flipping, angels-humming-from-Heaven vanity-stroke quickly ended with a slow-fade into me protectively hugging my big gut and burying my double chin behind my hair-scarf.
Thanks for bringing me back to earth, son.
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