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!!”
“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.**