It could even be a snail fail


Akasha, has today, learned a new word: Stau.

Translated into English, that means traffic jam.

We live in a village on the outskirts of town. We’re so near to town, in fact, we can normally hop in the car and be smack bang in the middle of the city centre in 15 minutes.

Yep, that’s right. You read 15 minutes.

I want to make that absolutely clear. I don’t want you to feel confused by the next paragraph. I don’t want you to have to scroll back up to the top of this post and have to start reading it all over again and waste your precious time (because time is precious, you know, normally it rushes by in a flash, a blink of the eye, some 24 hours feel like a mere 24 minutes when I look back over them at the end of the day, unless that is, I’ve been stuck in a bloody traffic jam).

My journey today took 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Now, let’s put that into perspective. My plan had been to take a quick trip into town and pick up a new thumbwheel compass for the chaotic one, who, naturally, had lost hers. She’d also managed to lose the overhead projector film her teacher had given her for her upcoming presentation, so that, too, needed to be replaced. But most importantly, she wanted to borrow a book for the said presentation from her big sisters work place, the central library.

So, three kids and I jumped into the car, blissfully unaware.

I say “blissfully”. But, truth be told, there was no bliss involved.

We didn’t exactly skip into the car.

The boy had to be dragged away from a kick about with the neighbours kids and forced to wear a jacket. The littlest one had to be blackmailed with a re-energising snack after a stressful day of nursery, gymnastics, a long walk to and from gymnastics, playing in the garden and imagining a slug on her foot. The chaotic one had spent the afternoon trying to be unchaotic and had been waiting for ages. Actually, it was ages. The boy-child had been delayed on the way home from school by “having to stand still in the street for some time…”

So, we finally left. In a rush. In rush hour.

Why do we call it that?

No one at all appeared to be in a rush. The children even remarked that the snails were overtaking us.

As a matter of fact, there were several helpful comments throughout the standstill, such as:

“That man’s smoking in that van!!!”

“He’s allowed to smoke. It’s his van.”

“The cars in that lane seem to be going faster!!”

“I’m hungry!!”

“Everywhere will be closed by the time we get there.”

“I could just get out and walk from here.”

“We could just leave getting my book today.”

At this point, I should probably inform you that ALL of the other products could have been easily purchased near my home. Where, I can also tell you: THERE WAS NO TRAFFIC JAM.

*Around that point, the lady driver flipped. She imagined leaving the stationary vehicle, kneeling in the road and weeping with full force. Only the fact that one of her knees no longer folds properly without much complaint, held her back. Instead she started to rant darkly. All of the children apologised for their mere existence and zipped their mouths. Then the smallest one took the opportunity for a power nap.*

Finally, we arrived at our desired car park, launched the book-borrower in the direction of the library, and I rallied myself with the thought that: at least none of the weak-bladdered-club had announced they needed a wee.

I locked the car three times but forgot to look where I parked it, then hot footed it with a rejuvenated five-year old and a babbling boy to the library. There we did a lovely fitness workout, running up and down the stairs between all six floors in an effort to reassemble our family before the building emptied and locked its doors in the remaining fifteen minutes before closing time.

Books were found and stamped. The family was reunited and we had one minute to leave the premises. Then the littlest, sparkliest one of us decided that after all, she needed to pee.

Hygiene issues rectified, we headed to the nearest still-open department store to replace all of the chaotic one’s latest lost items. I rambled on how I still had to go food shopping, cook, iron the little one’s clothes for the photographer coming to nursery tomorrow, put on some washing, and try to work out exactly how much food I would need to prepare for the Healthy Eating campaign I’m taking part in on Friday.

Then the fourth child, who’d now joined us after finishing work, realised that she’d lost the brand new flask I’d bought for her sister YESTERDAY.

*The lady driver re-emerged. She could be described as somewhat hysterical at this point. She threatened to empty the crisp notes she’d just replenished from her regularly bled-dry purse all over the pavement. Her erratic arm movements only subsided when all four children solemnly promised to hand over the money for objects lost within the first year of their purchase. She had another jerky moment and a slightly screechy voice when her son offered, once again, to empty his bank account and hand over all of his cash to alleviate the crisis. She also refused to accept his generosity in the form of going without lunch forever or gifting his own flask to a sibling. Squawks could be heard to the tune of, “Please, just look after your stuff!” Sensing the desperation of the situation, all passers-by reacted by giving the family a very wide berth.*

**Mother has now retired for the evening. She has drunken the best part of a vottle of bodka. The dwess remains unrioned and shopping is schill to be dun.**

22 thoughts on “It could even be a snail fail”

    1. It was an exhausting day. But at least we managed to get the things she needed, can you imagine me having to do that all again today? (on top of preparing enough food for 70 kids, doing the shopping I didn’t do yesterday, ironing the dress that I didn’t iron yesterday, and I’ve also got to go to go to a parent evening tonight)

  1. I keep telling you…these stories are the stuff of books which mothers everywhere will buy to make their lives seem normal. :-) Thanks for another …hmmm…wonderfu…ah…you know what I mean to say right?

    1. I slept really well until about 5.30 when, I needed to go for a pee (I am the mother of the weak bladder club).

      I couldn’t turn around – there’s a (well, I don’t know what to call it!) but something stopping you in the middle of the road plus I was jammed in the other lane.

      I ALWAYS pick the slow lane. Why’s that?And if I do manage to change then suddenly my old lane picks up speed. It’s like I jinx my new lane…

  2. One of your funniest yet :) Enjoy the bodka.

    The boy-child is so sweet, wanting to empty his bank account/loan his stuff out. But I love that he was late for “having to stand still in the street for some time…” What could be more reasonable? It’s good to stand still for a while. You should take a leaf out of his book. Once they all leave the house and give you your life back :)

    1. I’m glad you liked it. Writing it certainly did me good. :-)

      At this stage in my life I can’t ever imagine standing still for a while. I can imagine falling over and just not getting up though… ;-)

  3. Wait til you are retired and the kids are all gone from the house. Then, you will find yourself babysitting your grandkids and a new round starts. Lol.

  4. Ah traffic jams. Retired life is good. I was in one once. Three hours to make a ten minute drive. It had snowed here, and we don’t do snow in my neck of the woods. I almost got out of the car and peed in front of everyone. Despair all round. Dianne

    1. I don’t think anyone would have blamed you, after that length of time. Three hours!! That’s terrible!!

      At the beginning I kept positive, thinking I’m lucky at least I don’t normally have to travel at this time and I felt quite sorry for those who do. By the end I was seriously losing it!!!!

  5. You are right! In ‘rush hour traffic’ no one is rushing anywhere and you can see far too much of what everyone else is doing in their cars, some of which is not entertaining. The difference between you and me now is, you still have little ones to give the ‘play by play’ and I have only the air around me to spew out the road rage that hopefully no one will notice I’m engaging in. :)

    1. If those around you are peering into cars as much as my kids and er… I were, they’ll definitely notice!! But I think you’re allowed to feel rage in such a situation. Perhaps not legally, but definitely morally.

      A friend of mine told me she once got stuck in traffic in our small town for THREE HOURS. She finally got to the traffic lights, which turned green, but she couldn’t budge at all because there was so much traffic in front of her. The woman behind her drove though!! Right into her tail. At first the woman insisted my friend had reversed into her, finally she admitted she saw the green light and just drove.

      You are not alone!!

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