I thought of this, as I jockeyed for position, for 23 minutes, in my pajamas and rain coat, in the freezing drizzle, waiting for the Little Bastard to emerge from a community based recreation centre that clearly gave no thought whatsoever to weather, traffic flow, or the concept of drop off and pick up.
By the time the Little Bastard sauntered out to the truck, I was frothing at the mouth. As the passenger door opened, I heard, "We're driving *Bruce home." (*Name has been changed to protect the innocent.)
Please note he said, "We're driving *Bruce home," not, "Hi Mom, sorry I'm late, Wow! that housecoat really accentuates the gray in your hair, is it okay if we drive *Bruce home?"
My head spun around and I said, "No! We are not driving anybody anywhere!" I went on. "*Bruce has two perfectly capable and sober parents with a minivan, and I already feel like a brainwashed fucking chauffeur listening to John Tesh and the windshield wipers going back and forth for over 23 minutes. Get in the goddamn car!!"
Just then, the back door opened and I heard *Bruce say, "Thanks for driving me home."
Bruce wasn't getting off that easy. I asked him if his Dad's cell phone was still working, and suggested maybe his parents could possibly call me when he needed a ride home, if for no other reason than to make me feel less of a worthless chump, placed on Earth to shuttle smelly teenagers from venue to venue, because I had nothing better to do. Nowhere else to be. No plans.
"Like my new track suit?" the Little Bastard said to break up the ice now forming on my moustache. "They couldn't get blue pants crested until Christmas, so the pants are black."
That's when I really lost it. "You mean, I just paid $120 dollars, that I don't have right now, for a hideous tracksuit, that you do not need.... and the pants don't even match!"
"It's really nice" he said, "It has our logo on it."
There are at least 15 hideous jackets and numerous nylon pants at our house with a variety of team logos on them. Many were awarded as trophies. Many, he had to have because the entire team had them, and as a stupid parent, you don't want your kid to be the only loser wearing last year's coat. So you buckle and break, and fork out another $120 bucks – never letting go of the reality that you have been wearing the same hideous, coffee-stained hillbilly rink coat for as many years as you can remember.
So, there I was, in the greasy darkness, having an invite-only pity party, driving like a maniac over the bridge and out of my way to drop off *Bruce. When we arrived at his house, it was all warmly lit with a minivan all snug in the driveway. There was likely a Rockwell roast in the self-cleaning oven, and a family curled up in front of the TV. I barely stopped long enough for him to grab his bag out of the back. I wanted out of there. Here. Anywhere.
I wanted out.
Bedtime rituals were a sombre event that night. I took my pity party to bed, mad at myself for being an emotional whack job; for being so bloody broke at this stage in my life; and for losing it in front of a kid who just needed a lift home. I was pissed off at spending $120 bucks, before Christmas, on a tracksuit that I needed more than he did. I'd look good walking the dogs in the filthy monsoons of March, sporting a $120 dollar tracksuit. I lay there thinking, I've never had a $120 dollar tracksuit. I've never even had a track suit. And to be perfectly honest, I've never wanted a stupid tracksuit. I just wanted someone to shelter me from the rain, tuck me in, or pick me up from just about anything – even a fall from grace.
The Adsum House Mystery Art Auction is happening tonight at the always playful house of Fred on Agricola. The concept is rather fun, and all proceeds go to support programs at Adsum House for Women and Children. Women and children who don't have jackshit, let alone a warm bed and a $120 tracksuit. The art, all valued at $100, will be auctioned off from 6 to 8:30pm this evening. The mystery? Everyone is in the dark as to who created each piece – the artist is revealed only after purchase.
With dawn came hints of blue, in a vomit coloured sky. As I dragged my morning frumpiness past the new tracksuit lying on the sofa, I saw something I hadn't noticed in the darkness of night. There – below the team logo he worked so hard to be a part of – was a band of black in the navy blue tracksuit.
In the light of a new day, there was hope, and heat, and coffee, and a happy boy. My life was good. And the pants did match.
Maybe I could squeeze my ass into his old pair.
Tickets $25 available from Adsum House by calling 423-5049.