Tigers In the Patio Room
I arrive ten minutes early and take the last space in the front lot.
I walk though the glass doors of the front office and find the reception desk is still hidden behind one of those roll-up window-closer thingies, sort of like a mini garage door for reception areas. I am the only one in the office.
I can’t believe I am the first one here! I am the best mother ever!
At three minutes past the hour, one of the help desk ladies rolls up the mini-garage-door and stares at me blankly. By this time, there are several people in line behind me.
I tell the indifferent receptionist that I am just there to see the Swim Lesson Book.
“The book doesn’t come out until 10.”
Excuse me? But the office opens at 9. And I left the house at 8:30. On a Saturday morning.
And then the woman in line behind me points to a list on a little table in the corner of the room. A list of signatures of all of the mothers who got up and drove the to damned YMCA at 6:30 that morning to put THEIR names on the waiting list. A list of ten mothers ahead of me to see the Swim Lesson Book.
I sign the list, go drive around, come back and sit in the parking lot, then walk back up to the reception desk. Again, ten minutes early, just in case.
Sweet! I actually beat them all here this time! Screw your little “list” beeactches!
The indignant girl remembers my unwashed face and tells me “they”are on the patio.
What does she mean “they”?
I proceed to the patio and find an elderly man reading the paper and a couple of kids eating snacks at one of the tables. I am confused and annoyed and go back to the girl and tell her there isn’t anyone on the patio and where is the Swim Lesson Book. She clarifies that “they” are in the Patio Room. Oh, lord, little indifferent twenty-something girl, I don’t think you know how irritated I am becoming…
I enter the Patio Room.
It is still seven minutes before ten, and there are no fewer than twenty-five mothers with bic ball-points in hand, and they have already signed the SECOND waiting list to see the Swim Lesson Book.
A list. To be on a list. To see the Swim Lesson Book.
And when the referee says go? All of the mothers, myself included, become tiger mothers. Over our dead bodies is some other mother going to steal our swim lesson slots.
Three hours later, I have managed to sign up a child for a single month’s worth of private swim lessons at the YMCA.
And I get to do this all over again next month.