Sunday, April 27, 2008


Meredith's Thrift Store Nemesis made me laugh and reminded me of a Park Nemesis of my own . . . and one of my more humiliating sins. Some sins beset us for so long we become quite accustomed to them, and if not proud of them, at least not surprised at them. But then sometimes we do something that shocks even us. Surely I'm not that kind of a person.

I do not recommend this method of dealing with one's enemies, real or imaginary.

This occurred when D1 and D2 were both under two and we lived at a brand-spanking new apartment complex on the edge of a very upscale neighborhood. There was a park across the street which we visited pretty much every day in our yard-sale wagon.

I tend to care just enough about outward appearances to remember them when it is too late to do anything about them. At that time I was suffering a great deal of Clothing Angst, perhaps because there had been no money in the budget for mommy clothes, even more likely because I could not step out my door for a breath of fresh air without being in public view. (I do not like living in apartments. I love my backyard, with all its mud and bugs.)

As far as my children's attire, I have similar trouble. The theory of cute, coordinating, unstained outfit is appealing, but it always clashes in practice with my fondness for having them feed themselves unassisted and play in the mud. And their hair, like mine, tends to be impervious to the effects of a comb.

Anyway, there I was with the ducklings at the park, and up drove a very pricey SUV. A petite young woman, every hair in place, got out her proportionally petite and well-coiffed toddler. They both wore perfectly-fitted outfits that not only matched on them, but coordinated with each other, in the stain-revealing shades of white and green. With no stains showing, of course, or even signs that these clothes had ever been worn before.

It had rained recently. Having visited the park regularly, I knew perfectly well that there was a puddle at the top of the slide, just out of view of the average adult, that remained long after the rest of the climbing toy was dry. Nonetheless, I stood back and watched without comment as the toddler climbed to the top, plonked her spotless clothes into the puddle, and slid back down soaking wet.

I did feel guilty about it, or at least bad enough to relent and offer the mother the towel I always kept handy in the wagon for the purpose of drying up that particular puddle. I'm afraid I felt more bad about discovering myself capable of such pettiness than at the envy and greed revealed.

And now I don't know whether I've improved any on that score or not, or that it's just that we've moved closer to a park with a much lower dress code.


SongBirdy said...

lol! Sounds like my grocery cart envy issues.

Meredith said...

That makes me feel a lot better.