Thursday, 6 September 2007

A sight for sore eyes

Grit is going through a depressed stage right now and is struggling to find interest in anything. It needs to be worth making the effort. The alternative is to stay under the duvet and not emerge for a week.

Once supine, I could indulge a deep need to lament being, considering every Grit breath a pointless waste of oxygen that someone else might more profitably use. But instead of doing that, I attend Shark, Squirrel, Tiger, Elizabeth Hurley and Dig to go en famille to the local museum. It is a heritage day and therefore free, and we are too mean to pay. Anyway, I am broke thanks to Elizabeth Hurley chewing her way through the remnants of my bank account.

We did have an annual pass to our local museum. Actually, we probably had the first annual pass our local museum ever issued. It took about three months for the old lady to type up a three-line application form on a home computer and print it out for us to pick up at the desk. We got a bit of card with our names on, under the title Family Pass. The ticket number read 001.

But we don't have a Family Pass anymore. Partly because I no longer can afford it and partly because we don't go, even though the museum is within walking distance and I like it a lot. Even though I like it a lot, we still don't go. Sometimes I imagine I might become an enthusiastic amateur volunteer there in the Victorian schoolroom but then remember that I am crap at any job, paid or unpaid, so it's probably a bad idea.

Anyway, the real horror is not the local museum with its display of a Victorian schoolroom, threshing machine and plaster pig. It is the dreadful walk home, some 40 minutes after closing time. Tiger has gone into meltdown because, between she and me, we drop a bottle of water and it spills on the tarmac. From then on she is unmoveable and inconsolable. I manage to coax her slowly into the playground close to home where she flees into the middle of a prickly bush to hide.

She won't come out. I call Dig for emergency assistance. Dig suggests he bring out a cup of fruit juice to the prickly bush to say the water doesn't matter. This might entice Tiger out. This he duly does. And what a sight he makes to the passing mothers bringing their neatly schooled children out to play in the playground in the late afternoon sun.

Standing there, a footstep away from the prickly bush, is Dig. He looks like he's talking to it, coaxing words and softly phrased suggestions, offering it a cup of fruity juice. Then of course he stands closer. And closer. So now it looks like he's having a pee on the prickly bush. And if this isn't bad enough, he now crouches down and kneels in front of it. Now he looks like he's praying to it.

It never ceases to amaze me how something human and positive can come to me in the oddest of places. The expression on the face of the woman who lives at number 32 as she watches Dig perform his rituals and then suggest to the prickly bush that now he would like to give it a big daddy hug.


Jax said...

feel for you Grit - sometimes the phrase you've gotta laugh or you'd cry sounds almost appropriate, but when you try the laughing (or when I do in similar scenarios) it quickly degenerates into hysterical cackling, which isn't quite the result I was going for.

grit said...

hysterical cackling is just about the right phrase.

Allie said...

Oh, gosh, I've been in similar situations. Things going wrong (no matter how small) have led to the most dramatic of reactions... Does she, possibly (don't shoot me!) find it hard with the arrival and departures of your 'helpers'? Our more explosive one does not tend to do well when we have house guests.

grit said...

i think you're right: give an inflexible child a changing situation with multi-way negotiations in two languages and, Kaboom! Having helpers has not helped at all. we've come to the conclusion: no more au pairs. but our motives were good...!