Friday, April 16, 2010

Customer Service

I miss Private Ryan every day, all day. When my phone rings I jump for it quickly as if it will run away if I am not fast enough to grab it. My ears are now tuned at all times for the sound of the ringer and even the text message signal, lest I miss a call and then not hear from him for a while. I know that he isn't in danger ... but I miss him and missing a call would feel to me as if I weren't missing him enough. He still isn't sure when he will leave the Reception Battalion for his training, and after that I don't know when he will call or how often he will have time to, so I don't want to miss what I get.

But all that to say this ... I REALLY REALLY miss him right now. Piglet and I delivered Teenybop to school this morning a few minutes early. We had teamed up on the garbage this morning and gotten it taken out, all the way down our three flights of stairs with Piglet leaning out of my arms as she struggled to reach the trash bag. By the time we reached the car I was harried, terrified that she would lean too far and fall. She didn't, but still. I knew that after dropping Teenybop at school, Piglet and I would be headed to Walgreen's for milk and bread and maybe a couple of chicken pot pies for the freezer. I also knew that Private Ryan wasn't here to haul it all.

How did I do it before when I was alone, when I left Ex-Husband when Teenybop was just about this age? How did I get my groceries up to the kitchen and then get them put away while simultaneously keeping my strong watch on my daughter? I remember doing it ... but how? Was I stronger then? More able, more determined? Was Teenybop really that much easier as a baby than Piglet is?

I want to hire some strong high school boy to meet me at my house after I shop, then he can carry up all the stuff ... scratch that ... I want my man to be done training so that we can work out wedding plans and post housing, so that we can grocery shop again and while I am the shopper and will be the kitchen operator (doesn't that sound much better than "cook"?), he can be the muscles of the operation. Then again, if we don't three friggin' flights of stairs, perhaps I would be less whiny about carrying my own loot.

Walking into Walgreens this morning I felt like I had walked into "the good old days", the days my parents and grandparents have told me about, when cashiers were happy to see you and someone happily greeted you when you walked in somewhere instead of standing there watching you suspiciously.

Walgreens Cashier: "Hi! Oh, your baby is so cute, how old is she? I love babies, I have seven grandchildren of my own. What's her name?"

Me: "Uh ... hi? Her name is Piglet." And I was thinking on one hand, it is nice to finally have a store employee who greets me instead of ignoring me. On the other hand what the heck was this lady thinking? I came for milk and bread, not her life story and family tree!

It is sad that we live in a world where waving hello is now cause for suspicion and irritation instead of being the norm. It is sad that we live in a world that we often prefer to be silent ... a world of voice-recorded automated phone menus, silent ATM's, and cashiers that are becoming replaced by the electronic "self check out". Fifty years ago, I would perhaps have known that woman and at least a few of her grandchildren by name ... fifty years ago a young boy would have loaded my groceries into the car while I loaded my daughter. Fifty years ago when I got home, maybe my neighbor would have taken a break from mowing his lawn to help carry the groceries in while I juggled the baby, the purse, the phone which is never out of reach, and the keys to the door.

Then again, it was only milk and bread. What will I post when I really go shopping?