One might be tempted to think that in my role as a completely obscure internet blogger, I spend all of my free time alone in my basement playing Halo. Of course this is completely untrue. My Xbox isn’t hooked up to the internet.
It IS true, however, that it has been years since I could make an appearance in public without quite a bit of apprehension. This is not from a fear that I’ll be recognized and have to spend hours signing autographs or even because I get nervous that people will start pointing and laughing at me (I learned to accept that years ago).
The reason that I’ve come to absolutely dread going anywhere is The Gnome. The Gnome is my youngest daughter and she has decided that it is her life’s mission to make mine as uncomfortable as possible. Even though she’s only 3, she has completely mastered her craft and managed to turn me into a recluse.
I don’t think that I can adequately describe the Gnome’s tactics, so I’ll just recount for your amusement our latest attempt to get food. Please keep in mind that our whole plan was to drive 5 minutes to Subway to pick up some hoagies and quickly head back to the house. (Everyone already knew that the Gnome would never allow us to remain in public for the duration of a meal)
If there is even the remote possibility that we will be anywhere near a public space at any point during the day, the first thing the Gnome will do is refuse to take any kind of nap at all. This is to ensure that she has absolutely no control over herself and will be completely ready to make the most out of any situation. So committed is she to this that in the past the Gnome has laid completely still in her bed for two hours and talked to herself continuously, simply to make sure that she stays awake.
As soon as we picked her up from the sitter, the Gnome immediately began poking her older sister (The Hobbit) simply because she knows that this will cause screaming and crying within 5 seconds. Once we got the Hobbit calmed down enough to stop thrashing and screaming in the backseat like she’d been viciously attacked by a cougar, the Gnome decided that now was a good time to start “singing” at the top of her lungs. (I put “singing” in quotation marks because there’s not really a tune or words; in fact it’s more like rhythmic yelling or barking) The “singing” went on for 10 minutes or so at the end of which the Gnome asked us (repeatedly and without pausing to let us answer) if we liked her song.
At this point the Gnome realized that the Hobbit had enjoyed 10 whole minutes of relative peace so she snatched something from the seat and pretended to throw it out the window, which of course sent the Hobbit into another fit of hysterical tattling. At this point we got to enjoy a fun little battle for control of the window, which involved much sighing on our part and much sass on hers. Finally the window was rolled up and we arrived at Subway.
As we got out of the car the Gnome kicked off her sandals and proclaimed them “lost” just as I was opening her door. Her plan of course was to force me to look for them while she scrambled all around the car and darted onto the sidewalk barefoot in the hopes that once I found them she’d make me chase her and put them back on. However, I’m already wise to this ploy and simply picked her up and informed her that she’d have to be carried around like a baby because she lost her shoes.
A normal 3-year-old might have been subdued by this, but if you think the Gnome even paused, then you’ve not been paying attention. The entire ordering process in Subway consisted of multiple tries at flinging herself at the chips in order to snag one (or more), several loud complaints about how I was hurting her legs by holding her (intended to draw attention from the other customers, I’m sure), and a few headbutts which made her complain that my head was too hard (true) and that I shouldn’t bonk little kids (see what she did there? Clever, huh?).
Finally I was able to wrestle her back into the car and we repeated nearly the entire sequence on the trip back home.
My guess is that I’ll be able to appear in public again in 10 years or so. Can we have a party to celebrate the occasion?