My five-year-old daughter had a gift card to Barnes & Noble, so after work, I hauled both kids to the bookstore, stopping first at Starbucks (the one located inside the store that never has good pastries). I began to question the lady at the register.
“So, in your estimation, how much caffeine is actually in this?”
“Uh, not much,” she said.
“What? Not much caffeine in a freaking frappuccino?” I stared at it like it was dead to me. Like without caffeine, it was just a worthless, swirling mass of nothingness. “How much compared to an espresso shot? Do you know the milligrams? Can you look it up in one of your handy little binders?”
“I really couldn’t say,” she said. She rolled her eyes and tapped her little fingers on the register. The lady behind me just gave me dirty looks.
So I gave up and headed for the children’s book section, heaving my one-year-old son forward in the stroller as my daughter went on ahead. “Look, honey,” I said to my son, absentmindedly. “This one’s a pop up!” I noticed an employee glaring at my son with disgust, so I rounded the stroller to check out the frontal view.
My daughter had apparently taken the opportunity during my caffeine rant to feed him old expired cookies found in the diaper bag, and now my son was chilling out, his shirt a bit too small and exposing his belly, covered in crumbs, with a book in his mouth. He looked like a drunk guy eating a bag of chips. Except creepier because he was eating a book. With an incomplete set of teeth.
I wiped off the crumbs and re-shelved the books, and I heard my daughter.
“Hey mom!” she yelled. “I have something to shoooow you!”
Another mom was sitting there reading quietly to her son and looked up – annoyed – to see if I could get this loud kid of mine under control. When I finally eased the stroller down the aisle, cookie crumbs littering the carpet as I went bumbling by, my daughter showed me a pink box of crayons covered in princesses.
“What about books?” I cried. But it was her gift after all, and she could use it as she saw fit. So I directed our little party to checkout.
There, some bored kid declared the price and grabbed the card from my daughter’s hand, swiping it before she had the chance.
“Wait!” I said. “She wanted to do that!”
“Sorry,” he muttered. “Too late.”
We were short, so at least my daughter was able to hand him an extra dollar. I made a big deal out of it, handing her the money, instructing her to give it to the nice gentleman, to say thank you, and to ask for a receipt. I glared at this punk with my alternate evil eye.
They probably all got together after work, the Starbucks lady and the children’s book shelver and the punk kid with braces.
“Did you hear that mom berating me about caffeine?”
“You mean the one who let her kid chew on a book like a rat and let her daughter scream across the store?”
“Yeah,” the punk says. “She totally needs a life. And an ironing board.”
The next time I head into Barnes & Noble, I’m not ordering a frappuccino. I’m getting a double shot. I’ll pay for it with pennies, dug out of my wrinkled pockets.
About the Writer:
I’m a Texas girl, born and raised in the hill country. I’m also an attorney and a mother of two. I like to wear nice clothes one day and slob around in a t-shirt the next. I like to dance and sing and inspire others when I can. I’m married to a strong-willed West Texas lawyer, and together we laugh a lot. I enjoy writing. I wrote a novel, but it’s currently being rejected by most every agent in New York, so I’m not quitting my day job.
Amanda blogs at hill + pen