Some people put their foot in their mouths from time to time. I prefer to insert my whole body into the gaping maw of humiliation. Like this past Saturday, for instance. After a difficult day with Paolo, who refused to take a nap despite my desperate pleas that I was two seconds away from becoming comatose and hated to leave him unattended, I finally gave up on naptime (oh, sweet fluffy unconsciousness, I wished to hold you and pet you and snuggle with you, but my son is the devil) and hauled Paolo to the park.
As we wandered over to the playground, I recognized a very distinctive car parked there that belongs to one of Paolo's classmate's mothers. While that tidbit registered, I recalled in a blinding flash the birthday party invitation that I had thrown away a couple weeks ago...for today...at this park. My head swiveled slowly to the gazebo, the preferred location of kiddie parties, and took in the balloons, the swarm of children, the Birthday Party. And just in case I hadn't fully swallowed the enormity of my screw-up, several children called out, "Paolo's here!"
I had walked into the tail-end of a party I had no intention of attending.
Yeah, I couldn't even play it off like we meant to come and just didn't bring a present. The party was over. Some children were going home while others wandered over to the playground. I led Paolo over to the swings, limply waving at children and parents I recognized, and prayed for some sort of deliverance from this obscene situation. Then the birthday boy himself came over and hopped onto the swing next to Paolo's. I couldn't make this stuff up. Birthday Boy's mother and I pushed our respective offspring while they carried on a comfortable, friendly conversation. After several minutes, she looked at me, her forehead creased in confusion, "Did you come for the party?"
"Um, no. I, uh, didn't know about it," I lied badly, "We're just here by pure coincidence." She seemed relieved, "Okay, I was afraid you'd come for the party and missed it all." Then she looked confused again, "I really thought I put an invitation in everyone's folder."
"Sometimes my husband picks Paolo up from school, and the paperwork doesn't always make it home." Birthday Boy's mother laughed and said she totally understood; her husband is the same way.
So, are you in awe of my ability to recover from this social atrocity? Heaven knows I should be able to by now. This kind of crap happens to me ALL THE TIME.