I have a bad attitude towards McDonald’s. I really do. But I recently learned that Mickey D’s Playland is a great place for certain cracked-out little monkeys to burn some energy while I enjoy a coffee. Plus, it’s a great opportunity for me to catch up with my friend Kim H. after we take our kids to music class. She has two kids, I have a kid, we both like caffeine and we seem to be living parallel lives as freelance writers who happen to be freak magnets – how could this NOT be a good idea?
Roper and Blane mastering the little slide
If you follow this blog at all, you know what’s coming: another installment for the Best Bad Idea files.
I’ll go ahead and dissect the first paragraph so it’s clear why this started out as a bad idea (yes, of course it gets worse). Here are the rough translations:
a) After music class: The time immediately following being humiliated and traumatized by both having to sing out loud in public and by my son’s behavior.
b) She has two kids, I have a kid: The adults are now outnumbered by the kids, and there are as many exits as kids. No bueno.
c) We both like caffeine: We both desperately need an IV drip line of coffee because neither of us slept all week and, oh yeah, IT’S FRIDAY – the official day of zero patience. Unfortunately, there will be no drinking of said coffee due to the previously stated reason of being outnumbered.
d) Freelance writers: We should be at home working toward deadlines.
e) Freak magnets: Everywhere we go, strangers act as if they’re our BFFs and accost us with the all-together-too-personal details of their lives while the boys slip out one of the exits and head to the gas station to buy cigarettes and a forty of Old E.
I realize there are a lot of you out there with 3.5 kids who are easily navigating the wacky world of Playland on your own, and without coffee. Your hair probably looks cute too. Let me be clear, I AM NOT YOU. As if that wasn’t already obvious. So I decided to make things worse. Instead of letting Roper continue playing on the “little kid” side of Playland, I decided to let him go into the big structure.
People, this meant I HAD TO GO WITH HIM. Ta da! I present to you this month’s Best Bad Idea.
Before it all went wrong
I started up the enclosed, narrow, spiral staircase after Roper, and immediately seventeen kids piled in after us and surrounded us. Not only am I a Freak Magnet, but I’m apparently the Pied Piper as well. I tried to get the other kids to pass us and continue up, but the spectacle of a tall lady trying to climb stairs while in the fetal position was too intriguing to pass. Did I mention I’m claustrophobic and a teeny bit creeped out by throngs of small people? I SO am.
Cue the Modified Stationary Panic, soon to be followed by the Full Bore Linear Panic. (If you don’t already read McManus, you should. Funny guy)
Unfortunately, Roper unexpectedly hit the turbo button before I could fully engage in the FBLP. He took off like a rocket up the stairs and into upper structure with eleven of the seventeen other critters in his wake. Suddenly there was a sea of small people between me and my terribly stubborn adrenaline junkie.
You guys, have you ever been in one of those structures? It’s a total maze and everything is on different levels with cars and bulldozers and most likely a full-scale carousel with real horses – but I didn’t make it into that room. So I found myself desperately crawling on my stomach under platforms packed with small people, trying to grab the cuff of Roper’s pants so I can stop him. Writing that sentence just made my heart rate skyrocket; there were way too many personal fears manifesting in one small space. The only thing that would make it worse would be letting a couple of birds lose in the structure. Birds terrify me.
I was finally able to grab Roper (who, by the way, was having the time of his LIFE) and pull him to me. I then stiff-armed my way through a passel of critters to get to the slide. My sweet escape! But then I had to face yet another fear: What if I’m too wide for the enclosed slide and get stuck? Can you imagine? All the kids would be crying because they couldn’t get down, and Kim would have to call the fire department to come extract me. NIGHTMARE.
Actually, the slide was kind of fun. We made it out and, not having learned from that event, I found myself in the exact same predicament the next time we visited McDonald’s.
P.S. Before leaving, one of the seventeen critters (not my own) that experienced this ordeal with me, walked up and said, “Love you, Mama.” I almost started lactating again.