I was really starting to feel more comfortable in the city. Navigating the transit system was becoming old hat and there were at least several Genevois who looked past my terrible accent to understand what I was saying in French. So I was feeling pretty good about myself. Friday afternoon was a sunny one, so I slipped on a sundress and my shades and we went out exploring. I was feeling, dare I say it, rather hot. I even received a few complimentary looks from the French men.
I never should have gotten caught up in it. Moms aren’t allowed to feel hot. And apparently you pay for it when you go about town feeling that way. My troubles all began at the grocery store. It was two levels, with a long sloped escalator to access the upper level. To allow you to bring your cart up, or your stroller if you need to. I’d never been on one of these before. The angle of the slope certainly wasn’t steep, but much to my consternation, as we started to move upwards, I started sliding backwards. My 1,000 pound stroller and me burdened with a basket full of goodies, were too much for the little sandals I had slipped on that morning, which had zero grip. The man behind me was as disturbed as I was when I started to get closer and closer to him. In desperation, I tried to climb, which helped, some. It allowed me to keep pace with the floor, at least, so I didn’t go sliding back down to the ground floor, hitting countless other customers along the way. But I held up the whole shopping enterprise as I moonwalked up to the stupid upper level. When I got there, I noticed the elevator. *sigh* Next time.
But that wasn’t really a big issue, right? It could happen to anyone with slippery shoes, so I continued on my merry way, blissfully unaware of what was coming.
On the way home, I decided to go a few extra bus stops further than I needed to so that X could play in the playground a little bit. What a good little mommy I am. I was hoping he would just run around on the grass for a bit, wearing himself out, but X is too crafty for that. He was well aware he was in his usual park and he knew where the good stuff was. The second he was out of his stroller he made a beeline for the big playground. I followed him to his favourite slide – and it really is cool. It’s designed to look like it’s built into a rock, and the tube goes down into the big playground at the bottom. It’s very long, and quite steep, so a super fun way to enter the park. Only, it’s way too big for X to go on his own – we go down together.
Now, the last time I went down a slide in a sundress, it was a bit uncomfortable – it gets all caught up, then you’re just sliding down on your ass and it’s sticky and not your best slide experience. Not this time, oh no. I tucked the sundress all around me so sliding would be a breeze and did an ungainly squat onto my sandals – the very slippery ones. Then we took off. I had just enough time to process that we were going QUITE fast when we went rocketing out the other side. My feet were prepared for a fast landing, but instead of hitting the ground, they went skittering out from under me and I landed flat on my ass on the bottom of the slide. In the giant puddle of mud that had accumulated there over night with the rainfall. Aloft I held X, pristine and giggling hysterically because, Maman, we had never gone that fast before! We looked at each other for a second. Me in shocked horror; he in unadulterated glee.
There’s really not much you can do in a situation like that. Gathering what was left of my dignity, I stood up and brushed myself off, trying to avoid the giant spot on my bottom that was smeared with thick brown mud. Luckily the playground wasn’t very full, just a few grannies who unhelpfully pointed out that “there was mud there.” Thanks, grannies. Thank god the chic moms weren’t there, the ones in stilettos who went to work and did in fact look sexy and would never do anything ungainly like go down the giant tunnel slide with their son. And if they did, they certainly wouldn’t have ended up ass-first in the mud.
So I took X by the hand and tricked him into thinking we were going on the slide again, but it was all a ruse to get him into his stroller again. And he was NOT happy. He very much wanted to do the awesome slide thing again. Kids have no sense of their parent’s shame. Just my further luck, a group of handsome Italian men happened to be sitting on the bench next to the one I parked my stroller at. I sat down to avoid them looking at my ass, but there was no avoiding the squelch that arose when I sat. Once I got my wiggling screaming child tied down, I stood up, held my chin high and walked home. It was a kilometre walk. I heard whistles again, but this time in dismay and maybe pity? But if you can’t laugh at yourself, life is probably going to be very difficult for you, right?
When I finally got into our building, I immediately checked myself out in the mirror. It was not as bad, and yet so much worse than I imagined. The area of mud was not as big as I thought, but guys, I kid you not, it looked exactly like I had shit myself. Horribly. Just … great.
At least I have my loving child, right? As I write this, in a different, clean sundress, X keeps on coming up to me and patting my leg and then running away. It took me awhile to notice there was a pattern to this. “What are you doing?” I ask and follow him. He is taking mud off the bottom of my slippery sandals and coming over to wipe it on my dress. That’s love, right there.
Oh well, don’t feel too bad for me. I always think that if we are more forthcoming with life’s little embarrassments, we’d feel them less acutely. And also, life is still pretty good. This is what I get to eat tonight: