For the last several years my three daughters and I have taken a “girls day out” on a Saturday sometime between the youngest one’s birthday and the oldest one’s birthday.
All of us were very busy this year, and I considered canceling. But I’ve lived long enough to know the time you need a day off is when you don’t have time for it.
While I was waiting for them, I was scanning the morning newspaper. I noticed my horoscope which warned, “You’ll be providing tea and sympathy for loved ones to a point. And then you’ll be serving up the swift kick that gets them back into action.” I read it to Bill, and we both had a good laugh.
The first two arrived, and both were complaining about one thing and another. The third one, who would drive, called to say she overslept and would be late. I looked at Bill and we both laughed again. Then I explained to the girls. They looked at me and then at each other with the “uh-oh” glance and didn’t complain again all day. The horoscope apparently served as the swift kick.
We drove west and arrived at our first destination to discover a big sale we hadn’t known about. We found numerous things we didn’t even know we needed.
Then we decided to have an early lunch to beat the crowds. Since I was buying, I chose what some of my girls would consider a “fancy-shmansy” place. As we went up the steps to enter one of them glanced back at the street and wailed, “Oh, no, they’ve followed me!”
We followed her glance and saw nothing unusual. Her sister said, “Are they little and green?” She tried to explain that she saw a car just like her husband’s, but her loving siblings continued to question her sanity.
The young man who greeted us as we entered picked up on our mood and joined the fun. We suggested a private room for the protection of their other customers, and he provided one. The wait staff followed his lead and treated her with sympathetic understanding. Everyone, including the “victim” had a ball. We referred to our room as the restaurant’s “psycho ward.”
Next we went to a large department store. We had all kinds of coupons for various percents off the sale prices. Again we found lots of things we didn’t know we needed but couldn’t live without.
Before we left the department store we decided to make a pit stop. The restroom had three stalls. Three of us dumped our packages outside the stalls for the fourth one to guard. My stall door wouldn’t lock, but it did close, and I knew the guard wouldn’t allow a stranger to enter.
Somehow when I tried to open the stall door to leave I managed to lock it. It was nice to know the lock worked, but then I couldn’t get it unlocked.
I told my daughters I was stuck in the stall. They made helpful suggestions like crawling up and over the wall or under the door.
I told them crawling up was impossible because the walls were slick with no handholds and crawling under the door required crawling on the floor, which I was not about to do. The stall seemed to be getting smaller as my claustrophobia began to kick in. “Get me out of here,” I ordered.
“How?” they asked.
“Call a custodian,” I suggested.
“Mom, you’re in a restroom,” they said reasonably.
“Unlock this door,” I ordered loudly as I pulled on the door instead of pushing. “Oh, never mind,” I continued more quietly as the door swung open. I guess it never was locked We left the store slowly because we were all weak from laughing.
All in all it was a really great day. We should take a girls day off more often.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: This column was first published in the Greenville Advocate Dec. 15, 2004.