It was morning. This morning. And I was taking my 3-year-old daughter to day care.
As I arrived and dragged her from the car (she wanted to stay and fidget with her raincoat, the bringing of which was her mother’s idea) and into the day care, she and I were very nearly run over by a woman dragging her daughter down the hall on back to the classroom. There was not, of course, so much as a “pardon me.”
As luck would have it, this woman was bringing her daughter to daughter my daughter’s room. How… fortuitous.
Mother and daughter had trouble parting, however. Mother said bye, daughter went into the room without a word, then turned and ran back to the door as mother was walking away, mother returned and they hugged, mother began to walk away again and daughter followed her, mother returned daughter to the room. And my daughter and I stood watching the whole affair, waiting for our own opportunity to enter the classroom. I saw my chance, pulling the door open and letting my daughter in the room. The woman then took the door from me, pushing it open wider so she could tell her daughter something more. I stepped back and the woman released the door, letting it slam on my daughter.
“Sorry,” the woman said as she walked away.
She’d done crossed Papa Bear.
“Oh, that’s fine,” I told her. “You just shut the door on my daughter.”
She didn’t turn around. “Yeah, I did that intentionally,” she said.
“Hey, that’s fine, lady,” I told her. “Ain’t nobody in the world this morning ‘cept you.”
She spun on her heels and glowered at me, blocking my path. “You got a problem?” she spat.
I looked her up and down. She was about as big around as my forearm (which, granted, is substantial) and about as tall as my chest. Blonde to boot. I thought about the size of the hole in the wall I was about to create with her.
I sneered. “Not as big as yours.”
It took her a moment to realize my implication. It’s odd — someone can go through days at a time in their own little world and then, all at once, a large, hairy man pulls you back into the real world with the rest of us.
She looked perplexed, then startled, then turned, and left. Since she wasn’t inclined to have a go, I passive aggressively made my way to the van and pulled out of the drive-through line in front of her, and took my sweet, sweet time pulling out of the day care.