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Character Study 101

Mother's Day cake

Mother’s Day cake (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Did you have a nice Mother’s Day? Mine ran the gamut — a little of this, a little of that, because, well, if a little bit is fun, lots of little bits must be even more so.

Or not.

Yes, as usual, I was squeezing too much in to too little space, then cursing when I still had more “to-dos” at day’s end. Not that I’m complaining. I almost never do that, as you know.

So the day brought some cooking, some gardening, some reading, a nice meal made (mostly) by my husband (who thankfully did not set the grill on fire) and even a trip to the nail salon with my best girl.

Along the way, I indulged my penchant for a good round of people watching. Here’s some of what I saw:

At the nursery, where I was carefully choosing plants for my container gardens, was a family: parents; grown son; grown son’s son and daughter, approximate ages 4 and 6. I thought son had to be the most arrogant, affected idiot I’d ever come across, what with how he — quite loudly — ordered his parents around regarding their choice of plants.

“No! We don’t need that many. I’ve been doing this for four years and I’m telling you they fill in.”

(repeated many times.)

He overruled his parents’ plant choices, heckled the help and was quite insistent that he KNEW exactly what and how to plant.

I was feeling a little badly for his parents. Before they opened their mouths. Then I realized the apple didn’t fall far …

Dad ordered the nursery clerk to put the plants back in the arrangement his son had devised. He needed to see and absorb it.

WTF? They’re annual PLANTS. That will be dead by Halloween.

I wanted to grab the guy by the shoulders and yell: “Get a grip!”

And mom? She hissed at the poor sales girl who unwittingly added plants with white buds to their cart: “No. No. No. They’re going up against a white house.” Like how was the girl to know that?

And the little ones? They were cute as buttons, but tended to wander, as kids do. Or maybe they were trying for a clean getaway.

If I had to endure all that bickering, yelling, overtalking and pomposity, I’d be making a break for it, too.

Later in the day, the salon was hoppin’. Lots of mothers and daughters had made an outing of it and the heady scent of nail polish hung thick in the air. The place was awash in pinks, lavenders, blues and greens. All ages were represented, from the tiniest princesses needing booster seats so their toes could reach the foot baths to more mature mother-daughter pairings.

The bakery a few doors down sent over a box of cookies that were passed around for everyone to enjoy. As I bit into mine, I was thrilled to look up and see one of the characters from back when I rode the train to New York every day. It was Patterned-Tights Lady, looking oh so chic in khaki walking shorts and the cutest purple sandals. Sitting next to me!

So excited was I to report the news to the friends who used to follow PTL’s escapades via my Facebook wall that I couldn’t type on the BlackBerry fast enough. (Nor could I get my arms long enough to read the screen — but that’s a story for another day.)

Predictably, my announcement garnered a hearty response.

(No, B, she was not getting a patterned pedi. Yes H, her legs are lovely sans patterned tights.)

My pedicure was finished first, so I do not know what color she favors for her 10 little piggies (for the record, mine is a shade of lavender called Play Date.). But I can tell you this: She likes her toenails cut short and rounded because she runs.

Early on, we shared a perfunctory smile of hello. But between the scrubbing and the rubbing, I must have been staring a little too intently, because at one point she glanced up at me with a quizzical look on her face. I could see she was trying to figure out who I was and where she knew me from.

To be fair, I’m quite a different sight out of a black suit and (unpatterned) hose.

Then again, maybe she was trying to remember her nickname for me.

About Terri S. Vanech

Wife, mother, communications specialist, Jazzercise instructor and recently reunited adoptee. I'm living out loud -- and trying to make it all work -- in midlife. Having a sense of humor sure helps.


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