I've had the pleasure of living in my taupe-hued suburban neighborhood for 11 years, have had kids enrolled at our local elementary school for the last nine, and have six more years ahead of me. So far, I haven't volunteered for the PTO, Worker Bees, Art Enrichment, Popcorn Popper (I'm not kidding, it's something you can volunteer for), or any of the too-many-to-count fundraisers. I'm not saying that I never help out, but I don't need to commit a decade of my life to organizing carnivals, stuffing envelopes, and hanging out with people that annoy me in order to feel useful. One thing that scares the shit out of me even more than being a Popcorn Popper for 15 years, though, is being a member of a Mom's Club for even one day.
I've managed to dodge multiple invitations to various Mom's Clubs (hereinafter referred to as "MC"), using excuses like "it's against my religion," "Zoe is really introverted and doesn't enjoy groups," and "I'm suffering from the Ebola virus." This year, though, there's an MC being organized that is frighteningly similar to a junior high clique. "We can invite Kristen, Tammy and Samantha. But don't tell Julie because she's boring and always talks about current events at the front door. And I think Barb reads fiction written for adults, so don't invite her either. And Mary is skinny, so obviously she's out, too." The ring leader of this MC, Fanny, is a woman that I had never met before, and was hoping to keep that way. Then I had to go grocery shopping because my damn family expected me to cook dinner, and I was out of chips.
I spotted Fanny once in produce and again in aisle four, and after lurking behind the bananas and paying special attention to the Honey Bunches of Oats, I thought I was free and clear. While hauling ass to my car and whistling a tune of victory, I heard a voice that sounded eerily similar to Mrs. Butterworth.
I think she said "Excuse me! Aren't you a mommy from A.M. kindergarten?" but it sounded a lot like "Are you enjoying my thick, rich, buttery syrup?" Fanny planted herself next to my cart, hiking up her mom jeans to heights that appeared uncomfortable.
This was one of the few times in my life that I wished I was being mistaken for someone else. "Oh. I guess I am." Shit. You caught up to me.
"Well. Some of the other mommies and I were talking about how we don't have anything to do in the afternoons after our pancakes get out of school, so I started a Mom's Club. We do all sorts of planned activities and group outings. Would you be interested in joining?"
She might as well have said "do you want to put on a jogging suit made of ground beef and hang out at the zoo for a while, petting the nice kitties?" At least then I'd have death to put me out of my misery.
I stood in the parking lot, still holding the handle of my cart, trying to figure out a way to get out of this conversation without sounding mean. I thought about screaming like a psycho while I rammed the cart into her kneecaps, but I didn't want to risk getting any blood on my chips. So, I took a more civilized approach.
"Those planned activities sure do sound fun! But I'm afraid my afternoons are all booked up. Between the martini lunch, happy hour, drinks before dinner, and writing about weirdo moms like you, I just don't see how I'd have the time. Gotta run! Gettin' shaky!" Plus, the smell of syrup makes me gag a little.