I braved the crowds and went shopping today. Why, I don’t know; I could have easily waited until Monday when there would be far fewer people elbowing their way around the stores and far fewer little kids screaming and crying and being forced away from much needed nap times.
This morning I even had the thought that anyone shopping today must be nuts. I suppose that meant that I had to go out, so I would be amongst my People…
As I sometimes do when I am out and about, I stopped at the McDonald’s in WalMart for a drink and a burger (small burger, 260 calories, not great but not too bad when you’re trying to watch what crap you’re stuffing into your mouth.) It was packed, but I managed to find a small table in the corner, which was good enough for me. I wasn’t about to sit a the lone table for 4, not when there were so many people waiting to sit. I suppose I could have, but I have a perfectly fine car in which I can nibble on a grease patty. Let the masses have the big table.
So I sat down and sipped at my drink, thinking the burger wasn’t really what I wanted. What I wanted was a big ole bag of fries. Ok, maybe just a medium. With just the right amount of salt. That would be good, I was thinking when the woman with two kids sat at that lone available bigger table right next to me.
They were evidently having the best time shopping. The kids were happy and laughing, the mom was obviously proud of how they were behaving and had that Happy Mommy GlowTM about her. The kids were talking over each other but she seemed to be catching all they were saying, and whatever story the one little girl told was so funny they all laughed and laughed and laughed…and in mid-laugh the little girl who told the story barfed her lunch up all over the table.
Gross, but hell, I used to work day care. I’ve seen lots of kiddy barf and changed about 30,000 diapers that weren’t covering my own kid’s butt. I can handle kiddy barf.
Mom, however…Mom turned out to be a sympathy barfer. She stood, worried about her child, obviously, but the gagging began.
She was fighting her own war with the contents of her stomach, and I was pretty sure she was not about to win.
So guess who wound up cleaning up most of the kiddy barf?
I had a stack of napkins and a reason to use ‘em.
By the time the McD’s employee was there with rubber gloves, a bottle of bleach, a bucket, and a mop, most of it was cleaned up.
Now here’s the thing: I can clean up kiddy barf. But I had tons of empathy for the Mom because I have a hard time cleaning up cat barf. If one of the cats hocks a good one onto the floor, I feel my throat start to tighten and the =gak= =gak= =gak= begins.
I have, in the past, had to call the Spouse Thingy from another room to deal with feline vomitous deposits. I’m sure the Mom in McDs has to call her Spouse Thingy in to deal with kiddy explosions of the digestive kind.
And the kid who barfed? She felt fine after. Just overly excited about shopping and the holidays. Still, you can bet I went into the restroom and scrubbed my hands dang near raw with as much soap as I could get out of that container screwed to the wall.
But really, I have to stop sitting in food courts and fast food places, because I seem to be a magnet for People Who Need Things. Company to eat a hot dog, someone to talk to Just Because, vomit cleaner-upper… I’m a multifunctional wabbit, but I’m obviously entirely too approachable.
I’m staying home tomorrow.