The World’s Petri-Dish: AKA McDonald’s Playland

I don’t know why I do it. It’s as if I am asking for punishment. Yet every so often, I make the impulse decision to take the twins to the McDonald’s Playland.

In theory, I sit there, eating my Southwest Grilled Chicken salad, sipping a Diet Coke and reading the newspaper in peace as the twins sit together and eat their lunch of plain cheeseburgers, chicken nuggets and French Fries. When they finish eating, they politely ask me, in their sweet-as-pie voices, “Mommy, we are finished, may we go play now?”

Remember … that is my theory.

What really happens is this:

I sit down, underneath the twirling ceiling fans, freezing my ass off, devouring my Southwest Grilled Chicken salad, guzzling the Diet Coke at warp speed and try to read the newspaper. The twins do sit together, but instead of quietly eating their meals, they declare, “WE ARE NOT HUNGRY! CAN I GO PLAY?” And because, all I want to do is eat my damn salad before the chicken freezes from the cold air, I tell them “Sure, but come back to get a few bites before it gets too cold!”

Meanwhile, they are playing, I am nibbling at my salad and a lady sits down at the table next to me with her daughter.

It’s fine, really.

Until … she hacks and I can actually see the nasty-germs floating onto Derek’s plain cheeseburger that he left sitting there, half-eaten.

I decide at that point, he is done with his meal and toss it in the trash.

As I continue to eat my now frozen salad, the twins continue to play in the petri-dish. It’s a petri-dish really because the only knowledge I took away from my high school biology class was that “shit grows inside a petri dish.” And I am pretty sure shit was somewhere on the playland.

Alas, I continue in my quest to eat until I hear the voice behind me scream, “I AM DONE! DADDDDDDYYYY … I AM DONEEEEE!” forcing me to turn around where I see a young toddler standing in the bathroom doorway with his pants down, looking for his father, who of course is conducting some “important conversation” on his cell phone.

He didn’t even know his kid needed to pee.

Yet being the Good Samaritan I am, I locate the father, who I spotted earlier and tell him in my “mom tone,” “Your son NEEDS you in the bathroom!”

He gives me a curt, “thanks” after he leaves the bathroom and sends his toddler on his merry way back up to the petri-dish. The next time I spot the dad, he is actually outside the playland, still on his fucking phone, yacking away while his kid is now telling me “I PLAY WITH SNOW!”

As I sat there, I finally finished my salad and dug out the newspaper I bought for a mere quarter and prayed to God no one would recognize me as I sat there reading stories by my co-workers. No one noticed me and that allowed me to then begin the crossword puzzle.

Mind you, I know I am there, reading the paper, but I can actually HEAR my children – most parents know the sound of their own children. Except, maybe that mom who was hooked up to her iPhone, listening to music, or whatever, and burying her face in her mini-laptop computer – at the same time. Actually, I don’t even know if she had children there, but two little girls walked by her once in a blue moon to grab a fry, so I am thinking those must have been her off-spring? But one can never really tell whose kid belongs with which parent since the parents never really pay attention to their kids in the first place – case in point, toddler taking a pee by himself.

So, it’s now March 14 and the only reason I actually took the twins to the petri-dish was because they had been cooped up in the house all damn week since Mother Nature hasn’t taken her Prozac and insists on making everyone as miserable as she is lately.

So, please … Mother Nature … go find your pills or have a martini … and let spring come in all its ragweed glory. I can no longer handle taking the twins to the petri-dish EVER again.

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