Finding myself in the Middle East



Sunday, June 9, 2013

Yeah, I'm Over It

Since I moved away from the center of the city, even in my little anti-social heart a flower of loneliness bloomed.

Ah, sighed the flower. Remember those days of effortless socializing? When you just went to the park and they were there in droves, the women and the kids, kids to play with my kids and the women to talk about recipes/stinky diapers/shaitel sales? I hated those conversations for their vapidness, but I didn't know what I would be missing. Those were the days...I would do anything to participate in a good old; what are you making for supper? exchange...

And my heart said in reply to the flower's plaintive pleas, so get thee to a park back in the old neighborhood!  Allow thy children to play with the others! Talketh thou amongst the women about things of importance! And most importantly of all, why is there a flower growing inside of me? I mean, listen, I love a metaphor as well as the next inner organ, but this one makes no sense if you think about it. And why am I speaking in Old English?

So I went to a park.

And the flower died.

K, so first of all, I'm sitting there playing with Turtle and he's telling me all about what he's learned, (i.e., coveted) in the world over these past nearly-three years. (the builder-man makes a noise with the drill! I need the drill! The cleaning truck is coming! I need to drive the cleaning truck! The dog says ruff-ruff! I need the dog!) And he's digging in the sand and filling up his little plastic pail.

I watch the park fill up. My eyes grow misty. I nod hi to people. We say our how are yous. The kids eye each other. All is peaceful.

For five minutes.

A little girl comes over. She examines Turtle's work with the critical eye of a hole-digging master and says, "You need water in the hole." and she pours a bucket of water into the sand. Sand+water=mud. My shoes get splattered.

Turtle watches her for a moment.

"I don't want water," he says after a minute.

"Yes you do," she reassures him.

"And you need some more," she adds. She turns to me. "So we need your water bottle."

"The water bottle is for drinking," I say.

"No," she says. "It's for holes."

Apparently, her little sister doesn't agree with her. Because she takes my water bottle and started to drink it. "No," I say firmly."Mine."

I start to look around for a mother. I find her. In a knot of other mothers. Talking about recipes/stinky diapers/shaitel sales? "Excuse me? Um. Your kids..." I gesture broadly.

"Leah,don't bother the mommy," she says over her shoulder, and then continues talking.

I lock Eyes Of Steel with the kid who has my water bottle. That works like a charm with my kids, but this one is made of sterner stuff. And while my eyes are away from the drama-in-the-sand, the other little girl had helped herself to Turtle's pail. "I'll go get more water," she says.

Turtle's eyes turn big. Confusion fills them. "My pail," he says. It sounded like a question. My pail?

"Yes," I confirm. "Your pail. Um..." the little girl is gone, but she reappears moments later, pail full of water. Splash.

"I don't want water," Turtle tries again.

"He doesn't," I raise my voice in the direction of the Gaggle of Mommys, "WANT WATER."

"Shaitel shaitel," says one mother.

"Diapers, diapers," says another.

"Don't be mean," I say to myself. "They are probably talking about important things, and I'm just jealous because I'm not in the circle."

I get the pail back and give the older girl The Look of Steel. Might as well be The Look of Lukewarm Spaghetti for all its effectiveness. At the same time, I feld off the second Attack For the Water Bottle from her younger sister, which, sneakily enough, was about the transpire from behind.

They both interpret my  moves as an invitation to kick sand all over my lap and Turtle's face.

I am a brave woman, but I know when I am outgunned. I put Turtle in his stroller and head for greener pastures. His face is a blur of warring emotions. "You can keep the water bottle," I say to the girls. "To the victor goes the spoils."

Three mother separate themselves from the group and plop down in my spot as I get up, and as I walk towards the grassy area of the park which is blessedly empty, I hear the following;

"What are you making for supper?"

And when the answer is given, she asks for the recipe.




9 comments:

SpordicIntelligence said...

Unfortunately, I can relate too well. I wrote a post very similar to this one last year (yours is much better, thank you).

I don't know why mother's think that parental supervision stops at just showing up. My kid was slapped across his face (3 times in quick succession) ,and terrified by a girl in a gorilla costume, who continued to scare him even after I PLEADED for her to stop it.

I wonder sometimes what makes some children so mean spirited, and this might just be the answer - parents not caring to notice them.

SpordicIntelligence said...

Can I edit my comment to remove the apostrophe in mothers? :)

Cymbaline said...

Is this what i have to look forward to??????

JerusalemStoned said...

Sporatic-Ha! Related to BOTH of your comments.

Cymbaline-you can hang out with me! I only describe the contents of a diaper if it leads up to a funny but tasteless punchline.

Princess Lea said...

I was babysitting for my brother the other day, and my niece was getting all panicked that these specific boys may show up.

"Sweetie," I said, "What's my name?"

She said the name I've been dubbed by the neighborhood children.

"The Evil Aunt."

"That's right. Don't worry about the boys."

So, the boys come over, but they're banished to the backyard. By 5:06 I've had enough, I want to give the kids supper.

"OK, everyone is going in now." (Meaning: "Youse, scram.")

"But our father said we can't come home until 6!"

I kid you not. Their father threw them out on MY head to take care of.

People. Not parents, they haven't earned the title.

But, to clarify, it is more Shakespearean English, not Old English. Old English sounds more like German, and Middle English (which came later) didn't yet have the Great Vowel Shift, so that's not very pronounceable either. I had to recite a Canterbury Tale in Middle English, and my vowels are all messed up.

JerusalemStoned said...

Princess, you are right! (I loved that section in To Say Nothing of the Dog when she attempts Old English, speaking of which.)

Does this mean that I have to turn in my Literature Snob badge?

Sporadic Intelligence said...

Princess, a real Literature Snob doesn't point out someone else's errors, we just sniff our nose and discount everything that person ever said ;) I should know, I teach Beowulf and The Canterbury Tales :) (doesn't count really, it's the Jewish textbook version, I try to explain to my student that Old English was barely English as they know it - and they barely get that [or Shakespeare's English])

J.S: Can you please be my neighbor? I have to watch everything I say, and pretend to be normal (correction, I am normal, they are just boring) and care that oh wow, white shorts aren't practical in a park with a mulch floor - no kidding!

Gila Rose said...

Come to Modiin! We can hang out at the park together and kick the big bullies off the tire swing! And drink coffee!

JerusalemStoned said...

Sporatic--um....OMG, you don't know that white shorts are toooootally not practical on a something something mulch thing? I dunno if we have much of a future together.

Gila Rose! Yes to hanging out! And YES to coffee! But I'll let Princess handle the bullies. That girl is frighteningly good at that. And I'm all, let's share out cookies and then we will all be friends!

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