Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tales from the Playground: Trapped!

Thumper and I had coupons for free food at the brand new Chick-fil-A.

(Aside A: Huh. Am I crazy, or didn't it used to be Chik-fil-A? When did they put the extra C in? Was the mispelling of Chick an affront to God, but the mispelling of filet stands? And did you know Chick-fil-A is all religious and whatnot? The things you learn by searching the nutty, nutty internets.)

Anyway, we had coupons. They were mailed to us. We even got two sets of coupons in our mailbox, and if you think I'm going to walk six houses down to return their coupons to them, you're crazy.

So we went to the new Chick-fil-A today. And so did everyone else. It was a madhouse. The drive-thru (Thru!) line was a mile long, and the dining room was packed. If I hadn't felt so rushed, I might have read the menu a little closer and realized I could have substituted sides, which sort of takes the wind out of this rant, a little bit:

(Aside B: I had a "Spicy Chicken Cool Wrap Meal." I did not add the dressing they cheerfully offered me. I'm assuming the meal comes with "Medium" Waffle Potato Fries, which, by the helpful calculator on their website means that I had 780 calories and 33 grams of fat. Good Lord! Thumper had a 4-Piece Chicken Nuggets and presumably small Waffle Potato Fries, or 410 calories and 22 grams of fat. Yeesh! Good thing he's a pain in the ass about lunch lately and didn't eat it all. He ain't so keen on fries. And he flat-out refused fries with ketchup on them. Smart kid. I mean, seriously, fried brown lumps of chicken and fried brown lumps of potato? That's what's generally considered an acceptable meal for kids? I gave him bits of lettuce, tomato, and cabbage out of my wrap. While we were eating, I perused the menu again, and I saw that I could have substituted sides "for additional cost." I saw the Cole Slaw (370 calories and 32 grams of fat!) and the Fruit Cup (70 calories, no fat), but I didn't see Carrot & Raisin Salad (260 calories and 12 grams of fat) or Side Salad. Maybe they were there, and I just missed them.)

(Aside C: Did you know those stupid cows painting mispelled billboards have been around for 13 years now? What is it with this company and poor spelling?)

Anyway, what was I talking about again? Oh yeah. We ate, and then we entered the playscape for some post-lunchin' fun. Hopefully the little snot machine isn't contagious anymore. I mean, it's been almost a full week now, and he doesn't have a fever anymore. That's the key, right? Fever? No fever, no contagion? Or something? Well, whatever. Maybe we spread the contagion, but we had to get out of the house. And there's one certain child that I wouldn't mind so much if we infected. See if you can figure out which one it is!

So he played on the ground level for awhile, but with the several hundred (or maybe dozen or so) other kids running and climbing and sliding, he finally decided to check out the upper floor. So up he climbed. And he crawled through the tubes. And he sat in the race car and spun the wheel. And then he said, "Daddy? Daddy?" And then he started to cry.

I could see him through one of the plexiglass windows, so I got his attention so he could see me. That didn't help. "Down!" he sobbed. And I thought, "Crap. The fat man's going to have to climb up there and get him." And so I did.

Thank you, whoever builds those playscapes for Chick-fil-A, for engineering them well enough to withstand the weight of a dozen little kids and one fat man. Loathe to put my weight on the hanging tubes, I climbed up and poked my head in and called to him. He kept sobbing, but didn't poke his head out of the next tube, where I knew he was, about six feet down the line. There were three three-to-four-year-old girls standing at the next junction, right outside his tube, looking at me like I had three heads.

"Would you help him come out so he can see me?" I asked. They stared at me. "Please?" I added. "The baby, who's crying right there? Would you help him out, please?" They stared at me. And so I thought, "Crap, the fat man's going to have to put his weight out there in these hanging tubes and hope for the best." And so I did.

And crawling down there, I discovered what the real problem was. A four-or-five-year-old boy in an Indiana Jones costume was laying in the entrance to the tunnel. Completely filling it. To be fair, he wasn't carrying the whip and machete, but still. Thumper was just on the other side of him, still sobbing. He couldn't get out because Indy wouldn't get the hell out of the way.

"Would you move please, so he can get out?" I asked. He just looked at me. "Would you move out of the way, please?" Nothing. "You," I said, and pointed right at him. He seemed to wake up. "Move." And so he did.

So I grabbed the boy and tried to reassure him as I huffed and puffed and grunted my way backwards through the tunnels and back down the steps, trying not to crush any of the small children who continued to tear through the tunnels at top speed as if I weren't even there. Thumper calmed down almost as soon as I touched him.

So, lesson learned:

A strange adult out of context will make small children freeze like they've seen the basilisk.

Related corrolary:

Asking four-year-olds for help in a crisis is folly of the highest order.


suttonhoo said...

another brilliant tale from the front.

& a confession: if all of america's children are like the other people's children that you write about on your blog I fear for the future of our country.

Jennie said...

When I got to basilisk, I laughed out loud. And PS: it pisses me off TO NO END that they are closed on Sundays. God wants you to make money, stupid people! And Jennie wants a frigging chicken biscuit!

Also: glad to hear that everything came out all right - I don't know that I would have been brave enough to take my adult self into the toy tubes.

I, Rodius said...

@suttonhoo: it's a scary world out there. Is it just me? Do you not meet these folks at the airport?

@Jennie: What else could I do? The more he sobs, the more he snots. The more he snots, the guiltier I feel about taking him out in public when he's sick! I had to climb up there!

Jennie said...

No, no! You're looking at it wrong! When he cries, he snots just as much whether he's healthy or sick! But it is very, VERY brave to go like Pooh into the Rabbit hole, especially with all those shocked zombie-children gaping at you.

anniemcq said...

You are the Best. Daddy. Ever.

I, Rodius said...

Thanks, I try. Some days I try harder than others.

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