I am not going to try to point the finger here. But if you are a tourist and you were sick with the flu when you got on the plane, then I don’t need to try. I’m not mad at you, because I can understand that you wanted to recover from your illness in the warmth of the Mexican sun rather than under five comforters on your couch next to the base heater. I just need you to know that I was felled by a flu virus nearly ten days ago and I still feel like the gum under the tire of my Chevrolet Tracker: boneless, flattened and possibly a little sticky.
My children blame me for the fact that they got it after me. This is the beauty of combining the flu virus with motherhood. You get sick, you feel like death hot out of the oven, you start to recover, and then you get to nurse those you contaminate.
I like to think of our family as the most finely tuned Rolex watch. The children began to feel better about three days ago. My daughter had her last dose of paracetemol at the precise moment when her other parent began to sniffle. This parent happens to be my husband. He is the kind of person who does not like to miss gigs. He is the kind of person who would need a stick to the knees to even grab a chair and sit down if he feels unwell. So off he went to El Rio BBQ to play his two hour set with Bob. He sat.
Finally, the virus really got to work on him and he went to bed the day before yesterday. We haven’t seen him emerge once for the last two days. I’ve been doing the driving, cooking, brow-washing and juice-fetching since then. Which is ok, because that’s all part of what we do as parents no matter how badly we feel. And now I have two kids who are older and theoretically more helpful, so I expect them to do a bit more fetching.
We went to Wal-Mart so they could help me gather supplies. I wasn’t feeling very energetic, so I thought I’d use the Divide and Conquer method and get out as soon as possible. Once we arrived in the parking lot, however, my son told me that he really didn’t feel very well and wanted to stay in the car. I sighed heavily, because I also wanted to stay in the car. But I figured with his sister we could still get the stuff we needed and get out so we could all go home and have a nap.
We left the car running but locked the doors. As we started to walk away, my son called out to me. Feeling guilty, he got out of the car, locked the door and followed after me. I ran back to the car, suddenly able to move more quickly than I had in a week. I asked him very very softly if he had just locked the car door, and he said he had. I asked him, in almost a whisper this time, if he happened to have shut the car off and brought the keys with him. He said that he had not.
My daughter asked me if I had a bobby pin.
My son asked me if he could get a rock to smash a window.
I wondered if it would look weird if I lay down and curled up beside my car.
The happy part of the ending here is that I accidentally took the extra set of keys in my bag, something that is of endless frustration to my husband when he wants to drive the other car.
The funny part of this whole thing is that my son’s absentmindedness caused the whole stressful scenario, and mine actually saved us, so now I don’t even know what to tell him for next time (and let’s face it, there will be a next time).
We’re looking into getting flu shot for next season, so at least the next time we lock ourselves out of the car, we’ll be strong enough to use that rock.