The Pick-Up Line. (No, that THAT kind of pick-up line….)

1 Oct

The people in front of me are energetically having a conversation. I suppose I could say, “Having an energetic conversation” but the emphasis for them seems to be on the waving arms and pointing fingers, so the emphasis for me must be on the energy. Thankfully the pointing doesn’t seem to be at each other and occasional laughter floats back to me on the afternoon breeze, so I don’t think that their energetic conversation is accusatory. Although it would make the day more interesting for me if it was.

That’s not very nice of me.

041 (2)

I see a lot of things while waiting in line to pick up my daughter at the end of the school day. Yes, I’m one of those moms. The funny thing is, I usually have nothing but complaining to do about this line: the gaps left between cars, the parent who inches forward constantly, causing me to feel guilty if I don’t move my car and irritated that they didn’t just move all the way up to begin with.

But I live in a small town, so I’d better keep my mouth shut. Complaining is not attractive.

Of course, the fact that I live in a small town means that I often know the people in the line all around me.

That person in front of me is separated from her husband. Perhaps he’s who she and her friend are discussing with such energy. And the person at the back of the line who always waits until the last moment to leave her home to get her kid…she’s a person I’d like to know more but neither of us have time to make each other a priority.

Life is like that sometimes.

But I do, apparently, have time to pick up my children each day, from two different schools (next year it will be three) and taking about an hour of my life each day. It’s an hour they don’t have to spend on the bus (and if you remember your bus-riding years, perhaps you’ll understand). And it’s another hour I get to spend with them, asking about their day, sorting out their evening needs. Yes, there are times I wonder why I do it…but not many.

042 (2)

I am writing these words – ok, not all of them, but most – on the back of my husband’s old business cards. I am not a writer who composes in her head as I drive, shower, take a walk, fall asleep. I have lost far too many perfectly crafted sentences to do that anymore. I refuse to even begin phrasing things. I mull over the concepts, but I do not compose. And yes, I keep pads of paper on my bedside table, in my purse, my car, my diaper bag.

Well, I did back in the day when such a thing was a permanent third appendage on my body. Now I’m past those diaper bag days and well into the soccer mom part of my life. Or rather, I would be if my children played soccer. They are, sadly, coordination-challenged, given the fact that their mother – an English major – and their father – an engineer – gave them thinking genes and not moving ones. But they’re good at both math and literature, so that’s at least something. I was always the kid whose GPA got messed up by PE. PE!! Oh, and art. I wasn’t too good at that, either.

The line is creeping forward and it’s time for me to put down these business cards and pay more attention to my driving.

Writing is a lot more fun.
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18 Responses to “The Pick-Up Line. (No, that THAT kind of pick-up line….)”

  1. cecilia October 1, 2013 at 6:58 am #

    writing is a lot more fun, and you write like me. on everything, but much better, love the house in the trees… c

    • Gretchen O'Donnell October 1, 2013 at 7:09 am #

      Thanks for your comment, Celi! You’re so nice. But don’t ever doubt how much we love your stories!!!

  2. Minnesota Prairie Roots October 1, 2013 at 7:29 am #

    Oh, yes, those dang pe classes. Good for pulling down my grade average, too. And math.

    Writing is fun and way more and you do it so incredibly well. You were born to write. And part of being a good writer is observing and listening. You do that well, too.

    • Gretchen O'Donnell October 1, 2013 at 8:14 am #

      I remember way back when I was in 5th grade I made a comment about the letter “P” on my Sunday School teacher’s silverware. She said, “You are so observant – I’d never noticed that before.” I was amazed and puzzled – how could a person use that silverware (stainless) every day and not notice the “P”?!!

  3. Minnesota Prairie Roots October 1, 2013 at 11:25 am #

    You would be amazed/surprised at how few people notice details. When I got in to digital photography, I really began to notice details even more.

    • Gretchen O'Donnell October 1, 2013 at 11:48 am #

      I went to my senior prom with three other girl friends – when we got our “professionally done” picture back weeks later, I saw that one friend looked as if she had a halo – the photographer hadn’t bothered to have her move away from a wall decoration behind her. Looked so not good. Ever since then I’ve thought about the background of the photos I’m taking! Doesn’t mean I always remember, but I try!

  4. cravesadventure October 1, 2013 at 5:46 pm #

    My husband and I use to car pool to and from work. On the way home what was said in the car stayed in the car and we did not bring that energy in the house unless it was good energy! I miss those rides and discussions at times. Happy Tuesday:)

    • Gretchen O'Donnell October 1, 2013 at 9:41 pm #

      Yes, the car time is good – perhaps not always “happy” but enforced togetherness to discuss is good!

  5. treadlemusic October 1, 2013 at 6:45 pm #

    Thank you for the very personal glimpse into your “dailies”. Each of us has a special ‘story’. We each need to step out of ourselves a bit and view it as the special gift it is (whether pleasant or not). Hugs………

  6. Gwen Stephens October 2, 2013 at 7:06 am #

    Gretchen, I’m deeming you the Seinfeld of blogging (hopefully you watched the show in the 90s and can appreciate the reference). You can blog about nothing and make it wildly entertaining. I love it. Thanks for another mom post I can whole heartedly relate to.

    • Gretchen O'Donnell October 2, 2013 at 6:07 pm #

      I did watch Seinfeld and that may be one of the best compliments I’ve ever gotten! :-) Thank you! I don’t think that a week goes by without my husband and me quoting from Seinfeld – and yes, taking on the little things and making them interesting is so much fun! You have made me day. No, my week!

      • Gwen Stephens October 2, 2013 at 8:12 pm #

        Yea! So glad to have mAde your week. Knowing your humor style, I’d have been shocked if you weren’t a Seinfeld fan. Love that you quote the show often!

        • Gretchen O'Donnell October 3, 2013 at 7:23 am #

          Now that our kids are older, we don’t watch it often, but it’s all there, in my head!

        • Gretchen O'Donnell October 3, 2013 at 12:44 pm #

          Ok, just thought of you when I read this quote by Arthur Schopenhauer: “The business of the novelist is not to relate great events, but to make small ones interesting.” I think that’s my new mantra!

        • Gwen Stephens October 3, 2013 at 8:34 pm #

          That sounds perfect! Perhaps a blog post on the topic?

        • Gretchen O'Donnell October 3, 2013 at 9:53 pm #

          Yes, perhaps so!!!

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