Friday, June 1, 2007

I'll just call the police

Steve was going to take the day off, but his clients were coming in, and his news that he would not be home until late dampened my mood more than it should. It would be dinner à sole once again. I tried not to let it show when I returned from Rite-Aid where I’d gone to stock up on treats to continue my week of spoiling my coworkers, but Mary, the one who’s been diagnosed with a serious type of cancer and has been undergoing so much besides, asked me if I was okay, and when I said I was, asked if I was lying. I had to shake myself. I’ve been so stressed out over the Swine that little things bring me down farther than they should, so I decided it was time to try to talk to the Swine about the daycare situation, so we could settle that issue at the very least.

After work, as I soaked up the luscious, warm, rare rays of the sun while I slowly made my way toward the bus stop, I pulled my phone out of my LeSportSac (are those even cool?) and dialed him hoping he’d ignore my call, so I could leave him a voicemail asking him if we could talk later about everything. But to my chagrin, he picked up just as I was crossing the street in front of Cost Plus World Market. I sighed and asked him if he would have time to talk later, and then a bus hit me, and I floated up to heaven never to hear his voice again, because the Lord and I both know he won’t be meeting me up there, and you’ll know it too after I share the rest of his diabolical ways.

“What’s up?” he asked.

“Well, I just wanted to see if you could talk. Later.” I stressed the last word, but he pressed. “Okay, I, uh, I just got a job offer in Redmond that I couldn’t refuse and as a result, it won’t really work for me to continue to take Audrey to the daycare here in downtown Seattle. I just got her a space at the daycare she used to go to before, which incidentally she has been asking repeatedly to return to, as you know it is only a couple of blocks from my apartment, so she won’t have to be at daycare as long. And as an added bonus, if she ends up at school in Bellevue, they will pick her up from school everyday, so we wouldn’t have to worry about it, isn’t that great?” I had gushed in all in one breath when I realized that my speech was met with silence. “Hello? … Are you still there? … Hello?”

“Uh, yeah,” he said slowly. “I don’t want Audrey to go to school in Bellevue. And it’s not my fault that you moved to Bellevue or that you took a job in Redmond. Those were choices you made, which you have to be responsible for, so that’s really not my problem.”

“You would really want Audrey to have to travel all that way unnecessarily?”

“You agreed that she would go to school there, so that’s where she’ll go.”

I was trying desperately to keep my cool, but, “Yes, and you agreed that I could move to London – sometimes things change.” Yeah, I totally went there. Ugh.

“Uh huh. And it’s written in the court documents that she has to go there, and that’s the way it going to be.”

“Can you please give me one good reason why she couldn’t go to the daycare near me just when she with me?”

“I don’t have to. It’s in the paperwork.”

I stood stuck on the phone on the verge of tears in the middle of Pike Place Market in front of the vegetable vendor from whom I wanted to purchase a few carrots for the Thai chicken red curry that I intended to make for dinner. No matter how I put it, he was unwilling to budge, no amount of appealing to his sense of reason and logic (yeah, I know, what reason and logic, and for that matter, what sense?) broke through, and I could stand it no more, so just before clicking the off key, I snapped, “Sue me then, I’m taking her to that daycare.”

I bought 35¢ worth of carrots, and the vendor said, “That’s it? That’s an awfully long phone call for a couple carrots.”

“Never have an ex-husband,” I shot back.

“You’re too young to have a husband.”

“Don’t I wish,” I said stuffing the bag of carrots into my sac and considering telling this guy just how terrible ex-husbands can be, but alas, he moved on to the next customer, so his chance to be regaled with the miseries of a broken woman was sadly lost. I carried on slowly toward First Avenue. Soon I got my phone out of my bag and noticed a voicemail from Sam. I nearly burst into tears right there after listening to this, “If you take her to that daycare and I find out about it, there will be no suing. I won’t go through the courts, I’ll just call the cops. It doesn’t get simpler than that.”

Oh. How was I to react to that? I carried on down First Avenue past one, two, three bus stops, until I’d gone a mile through crowds and crazies, tourists and yuppies. I sniffed, wiped a tear, and forwarded the voicemail to Steve with the message, “This is what I am dealing with.” Not that he doesn’t already know, but he doesn’t often get to hear it for himself.

I got on the bus a few minutes later and tried to figure out what to do. I tried to understand what would motivate him to make life so pointlessly difficult for me and even for Audrey. I tried to contrive a game plan. What was there to do? What to do? What should I do? What would you do? What would you do?