I was enjoying a cup of coffee when I came across an article in the local newspaper about the number of children on the west coast who have died of hyperthermia after being left or trapped in boiling hot cars. Three things: 1) I was immediately reminded why I abhor reading the newspaper, 2) I am a bad journalist for that, and 3) I have discovered my local paper doesn't really seem to have any local news in it.
Clearly, this upset me. I cannot even imagine how awful it would be discover such a scene in your car. I do not judge anyone. You hear of those stories where parents forget their kids are in the car and horrid things happen. I will admit I can see how someone could do that. I have been driving down the highway only to look in the rear view mirror and nearly faint to discover the little one's car seat is empty. Forget the fact that just minutes before I'd dropped her off at gramma's for the day. That split second of "Oh my GOD! I left her in the grocery cart!" zaps through your brain. The only thing that snaps you out of it is Huey Lewis serenading you on the oldies station. The very same oldies station that you would beg your parents to turn off in the car because is was making you car sick. It is, in fact, the one station that your very own daughter loves. Each time Boston or the Moody Blues comes on your daughter yells, "This is my favorite!" as if she knows you just need a little reminder that she's still there. It helps.
Well, my friend and I decided to take our children to the drive-in on Saturday night. It was so retro. It was so exciting. It was so blazing hot. It was nothing short of the worst idea we've ever had. We were told to park in the 7th row or back. I drove down row no. 9 and decided there was no freaking way we were going to park near "those people." Again I don't judge, but seriously.
I parked in the 6th row, I guess, without realizing it. My friend went off to the concession stand since we were informed in about twelve different ways that it is how the drive-in makes its money. I was asked very nicely to move back a row and to tie the hatch of my Jeep down so it is even with the roof. I did it~by myself! It took a couple tries, but let me tell you, there is nothing like the admiration of a couple of toddlers to make you feel like you could...well...tie anything down in an emergency.
Needless to say, at this point, I was sweating like a maniac. My friend returned and had for a split second thought we'd abandoned her. (That would have sucked, no? But I think it would make for a great movie. Take someone to a drive-in and leave her stranded? I'm sure it's been done. Then again, if the movie was anything like real-life, she would be begging to be separated from the rest of the party.) Friend's son and my daughter proceeded to eat popcorn. I think it was my daughter's first foray into such loveliness. They shared marshmallows I had packed and my friend and I shared a Mt. Dew Big Gulp. It was heaven. It was just what I'd imagined. I felt like a little kid again. It was...blazing hot and I was sweating in places I didn't know sweat glands bothered to be.
It was so nice being out in the middle of nowhere. Not a star in the sky. Just the space station! How cool is that? Was I really having anxiety that people are actually living on that thing in space? I had a terrifying nightmare once about winning a contest where I got to fly into space. It was awful. Not even for Bruce Willis would I leave the planet (and we all know how that movie ended).
I was enjoying the movie way more than the kids were. It was actually stressing me out a little. Eventually everyone needed potty breaks and I was glad for the break. I made my way to the concession stand where the bathrooms were. If it was 94 degrees outside, it was 194 degrees inside those disgusting bathrooms. Dear God, people. Learn. To. Flush. Everyone was dripping with sweat and there was no way not to accidentally touch someone. It was horrible.
I found my way back to our spot only to find my daughter post-sobbing, my friend was putting her son's shoes on and they all looked like they'd been beaten with wet hot noodles. So we all trudged our way back to the bathrooms. My daughter refused to use the potty even though it was her idea and she was already sitting on it. Friend's son wouldn't stand to potty and demanded to sit. We're screaming DON'T TOUCH ANYTHING and it was then that I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Holy crap. I thought we were the normal ones at the drive-in. I looked at my friend who was dripping sweat from head to toe, and our disgusting children, and ran out into the darkness as quickly as possible.
When I returned to the car I found friend's son laying on the sleeping bag wrapped in my sarong. Of course, my daughter had to get under it as well. My friend and I just stared at our children as they fought to wrap themselves together under a blanket. Hello! It is 4000 degrees out here! I turned to my friend and said, "We could seriously be arrested for child endangerment right now." Then I looked around. Couldn't everyone at the drive-in be arrested for some form of child abuse? I couldn't even count the number of families packed into hot cars watching Toy Story 3. My crappy car couldn't pick-up the radio signal and we were mooching off all their radios, so I was sadistically thrilled for their stupidity. Our kids eventually gave up, got too tired and buried our sleeping bag in rocks.
We packed up our kids, much to the thrill of our neighbors, and left before the inevitable traffic jam. We didn't get home until almost midnight. We just stared at each other like What the hell were we thinking? Friend and I decided we will go to the theater to see the movie. In the air conditioning. By ourselves. We'll take wine.