The more senior of our vehicles (the one I drive) had to go in for some medical attention this week due to the facts that it was making noise, had a water leak, had one of those dashboard alert lights on, and was in general behaving in a busted manner. It also frequently has hissy fits wherein it takes 20 attempts to start and I make a scene in parking lots, and recently I got to live out a lifelong dream of having a tire explode on the highway. It was buckets of fun. The old girl has her issues but we (mostly I) love her, and she has many more miles to go before I drive that Chevy to the proverbial levee.
As I mentioned on Twitter, this was a parental learning experience for me. When I made the appointment, the place asked me if I wanted to drop off the car or wait. They estimated it would take an hour and I elected to wait, because come on, the mini-toddler and I can manage an hour. Anybody can manage an hour. I think I have been watching too much Olympics and believed too strongly in my own capabilities. When in doubt, assume you suck more than you think you do.
I brought a few books and toys, a sippy cup, and the backpack carrier– figuring if all else failed, I would just put him in there and walk him around (which he loves 99/100 times). And you know, we did manage an hour. What we failed to manage was the two and a half hours it actually took to resolve the HIGHLY COMPLEX car diagnosis of: NEEDING AN OIL CHANGE.
We spent that time in the “customer lounge” with a bunch of other adults doing adult things. Playing on phones, reading, having conversations with other adults, watching the TV. I burned with jealousy. Meanwhile I was basically starring in a very humiliating public show of chasing my child around.
Sometimes I would have smug moments before I was a parent when I saw bad toddlers and children running amok in public places. I would always ask the question in my mind: why aren’t you controlling your child’s behavior? PEOPLE, I WILL GIVE YOU THE ANSWER TO THAT QUESTION. You can’t control the child because you are two steps behind the child, cleaning up the last mess they made before sprinting off to get into new trouble.
Here are some things my child did. Peed through his diaper requiring a diaper and outfit change at the dealership bathroom. Undid 14 months of cognitive development by watching Bethenny. Went up to a woman’s office and mouthed her glass wall, as I frantically peeled him off and said “OMG LEAVE THAT WINDOW ALONE, LOOK HOW BEAUTIFUL AND WINDEXY IT IS.” Ran up to a Camaro on the show floor and grabbed a wire on it (YEP). Writhed and shrieked as I tried to put him into the backpack. Bit me when I put him into the backpack. Pulled down my shirt when I put him into the backpack. Squeezed open a thing of coffee creamer while in the backpack. (That I gave him to play with because I am not an intelligent person. I am, however, a person who smelled like French Vanilla all day.) Discovered a stack of brochures for upholstery insurance and flung them over his shoulder one by one.
In the lounge there was a little kid table with two buckets of legos. At first, this was a sign of hope for me. See, other women and children have done this before. It can be done. After round four-ish of my child dumping out the lego buckets, the lego table took on a new, grimmer symbolism. In every scuffed lego, I saw the reflection of another poor mother who had made the bold and foolish attempt at waiting out the car service. I imagine it was like traveling in a Conestoga Wagon and seeing on your path a skeleton with an arrow through the chest. Basically.
Actual text exchange with my spouse:
Me: I AM NEVER DOING THIS ON A WEEKDAY AGAIN.
Him: Yea, car service sucks no matter when you do it.
Me: FALSE, I would be enjoying myself a great deal if I was alone.
Him: You can do it.
Me: I am actually going to cry.
As we passed two hours, my sanity began to further erode. A gentleman said to me, “I think the little man is tired!”. YOU WOULD BE CORRECT, GOOD SIR. I decided much longer and I was going to approach the desk and ask for the car back, in whatever state of dismemberment it was in. I would put my feet through the floor board and drive it home like Fred Flintstone if it would get us the eff out of here at this moment.
My name was finally called to the desk– twas from the very lips of angels!– and we were done. When they pulled the car up I felt like I had completed a marathon. Like I should just drop to the ground from mental and physical exhaustion. May all of womankind read this tale and heed this imperative warning. Drop your cars. DROP YOUR CARS!