Today is the 1st of May, otherwise known as Labour Day. The kids are off from school, S-man from work. We get to sleep in and relax, I need it. I am eating a bagel when S-man wakes up and announces ‘We are going to Leroy Merlin I need to see something.’ and this is very strange to me, because first, S-man does not even change a light bulb without calling a handy man, and secondly it is the first of May and we are in Italy..I am not even sure the hospitals are open today.
I’m not up for adventures but the truth is I really need to go to Leroy Merlin. I need mosquito contraptions for my terrace, ties for my climbing Jasmine, spray paint, primer and sand paper, protection paint for the teak terrace, and well, another little plant with colorful flowers wouldn’t be bad. I race to get the kids ready telling them that the park is boring anyway, that we are going to some place really fun. As I tie my sons Converse I ask S-man, ‘hai guardato per essere sicuro che è aperto?’ which means ‘did you look on internet to make sure it’s open?’ to which he reply’s ‘Certo.’ Which means of course.
We get to Leroy Merlin and one look at the parking lot tells me that it’s not open. But I don’t say anything. S-man doesn’t miss a beat though, he knows of another place very close by. I look at the clock on the dashboard – 12.05, almost lunch time for the terror twins sitting in the backseat. It only takes us 5 minutes to get to the next mini-mall, where we find a Botanic store that is open. We park and head into the store. I move quickly managing to get a few things on my list and finding the most beautiful red Azalea ever.
We put it on our cart kicking the kids off, when my four-year old starts screaming. I look at my watch, it’s 1.00pm…oh no, I think, terror twin 1 turns into a monster when he doesn’t eat on time. I look at my husband and tell him I’m going to take the kids to Burger King while he pays. And my husband who I said this to in Italian, looks at me and says ‘non ho capito’ and this means I don’t understand…which is not true because I am quite sure he understood. Then he says ‘ma, no! assolutamente!’ and this means ‘no way! Absolutely not!’ ‘not a disgusting fast food place for my kids!’ (well not really, I made up that last part- but it was sort of the look he had on his face)
Now, I am American and even though I am not particularly fond of fast food myself, I must admit a whopper and french fries is not going to kill anyone in emergency situations.
My son is crying, he’s hungry, we are about 35 minutes away from our apartment. I think about my options then I take my kids by the hand and head to Burger King, leaving my husband to pay for the giant Azalea.
We walk into Burger King and the first thing I notice is that it’s about 30 degree’s hotter inside than out. The second thing I notice is that there is about a thousand people standing in line. I sit my kids at a table and go and stand in line. After about 10 minutes I realize my line has just barely moved. Another 10 minutes and my husband comes in. ‘Ma cosa fai?’ and this means ‘what are you doing?’ To which I respond ‘what does it look like?’ I am really hot, and beginning to think this was a bad idea. I take off my jean shirt and stand in my old t-shirt. We should just leave, I know it, but now I’m half way there..pretty soon it will be my turn. Another 15 minutes pass before it is my turn, I’m about ready to start screaming my head off, instead I look at the cashier and give her my order. She puts the order of 2 kids meals in the computer. Another 5 minutes have passed. Then in very slow motion she puts 3 straws on a tray. She studies them for a moment and she carefully removes one straw. After she does this she decides to prepare another tray. She looks at the empty tray and then takes one of the 2 straws and places it on the new tray leaving each tray with one straw. She is just about to turn around and prepare the 2 kids meals when S-man comes up to the counter and asks her for a napkin. She looks at him and then gives him about 150 napkins. She puts the rest of the napkins away. She thinks about this for a moment and then she takes the napkins back out, and then deposits one napkin on each tray. Ooh, multi-tasking, I think. Except now she looks a bit lost, and she can’t quite remember where she was, or who she is for that matter. Out of the corner of my eye I see S-man moving towards the counter again so I look at him and make a hissing noise.
After what seems like an eternity I finally have my children’s lunch. I take it to the table and S-man looks at me and says ‘ma cosa ti è venuta in mente a venire qui?’ which means ‘what on earth were you thinking coming here?’ and this is when I have to decide between squashing a whopper on his head or going outside for some air.
Outside the air is fresh the wind is blowing and I’m trying to remember what that old motto was for Burger King – then it comes to mind..have it your way.