I accomplished basically nothing on Wednesday. The 45 minutes I thought I’d get back? I didn’t really get them back. We got out early, but one of the parents was 20 minutes or so late picking up her daughter. Then, mom opted for a buffet for dinner. Mom makes thoughtful, lengthy decisions, so buffets are not a great time-saver for us. So it was 7:20 by the time we got there, and easily 8:30 by the time I got home to change clothes and walk the dog (and only because I pushed her to be faster at dinner, obnoxiously.) Mom wanted to go to a store I dislike, so I grabbed the dog and walked him around the parking lot while she shopped.
And I’m reading a book I’m enjoying on my Kindle, so when the dog tired out, I brought him back to the car and pet him while I read. Until I started to get antsy. At 10 p.m., I called mom in the grocery store. “Are you about finished?”
“Well, I’ve been searching for things, but I guess I could search faster.”
“I’d appreciate that.”
At 10:15, still no sign of her. I started to get mightily bugged. I’ve repeatedly said that dinners need to be shorter on Wednesdays and shopping needs to be done by 10 p.m. She knows I get up at 6 a.m. these days, so anything after 10 p.m. is directly affecting the way I function at work, in my book.
She doesn’t like to be rushed, and I know how annoying it is to be followed around by someone who says “are you done yet, are you done yet? How about now?” Shopping is a social act and an intellectual act for her and she derives a lot of pleasure out of it. So I don’t want to have to be a jerk about it. But, by my estimate, we spent 105 minutes at a Wal-Mart grocery store, last night. And she’d been to the grocery store less than a week before (not on the clock), and I had been to the grocery store partially on her behalf once, eight days earlier.
In fairness, she apologized several times, and said she should have made more of an effort to watch the clock. I believe she was sincere, and I accept her apology, but there’s a point at which it happens too frequently for me to let it go, entirely. I don’t feel great about that.
So I got home at 10:30 p.m., still needed to do the pre-bed dog walk, feed the cats, settle the dog and do his physical therapy, and get myself to bed. I got a crappy night’s sleep and overslept because I failed to set my alarm, in my haste to get to bed. I did manage to get some more litter into the cats’ primary litterbox. And the creme de la creme? I realized, when I got home, that I needed some staples from the store (fruit and diet Coke, the thing that makes me functional in the morning.) So I’ll be shopping after work tonight.
I made the rookie mistake of expressing my annoyance on FB, while I waited for mom after I called her, in the store. One of her friends raced to her defense, explaining that things take longer when you’re older, and that I should treasure my time with her for the day in which I no longer have her. I’m sure I sound ungrateful and like a terrible daughter, but this wasn’t age-related. The reason that she doesn’t get to the grocery store more often than she does is that she has always been this way, and most people who wouldn’t mind taking her, in concept, get disgusted and stop taking her, after awhile. She’s not capable of a short trip. She doesn’t want to have to operate at the pace that the rest of us use, and having been out of the workforce for more than 50 years and having been without a license for more than 40, she believes that she shouldn’t have to go any faster than she does. I will not stop taking her, if she wants to go. But, just as I’m reading about all the mommies who are tired of hearing “treasure every moment” of being puked on and sleep-deprived, please don’t ask me to be grateful for this. I’ve lost a parent. I don’t look forward to losing the other one. I know exactly how large the hole will be in my life, and I hope it doesn’t happen for a very long time. Which is not remotely a defense for 105 minutes in the grocery store on a weeknight, in which there were no crowds and no lines.