There we were, standing on hot, sticky cement as gigantic machines whizzed and buzzed overhead (it was all I could do not to yell "Duck and cover!" every ten minutes), our children's faces aglow with the reflection of neon and the remnants of yet another batch of pink (or was it blue?) cotton candy.
The boys had just exited a particular carnival ride that rendered them a little topsy-turvy, and were headed our direction to tell us all about it.
Wyatt: I almost puked!
McRae: I couldn't even stop screaming!
Braydon: Dude, that was awesome!
Lily: Let's do it again!
I am always in awe of just how much kids enjoy these carnival rides, as I don't have the fondest memories of being spun like a top at breakneck speeds myself. As I recall, I was more than a bit wobbly after riding The Zipper with my dad at the state fair, and I think he was too (feel free to correct me here, Dad).
Anyway, as we were standing there, waiting for all of our people, a woman started speaking to Wyatt, who was trying to recover from his brush with death behind me.
I had never seen her before and she seemed quite insistent, to say the least, on getting my son's attention.
"Why do you call him the mailman?" she asked. She continued to ask four more times, one after the other after the other . . .
After determining that Wyatt was paying absolutely zero attention to her question, I addressed her myself (I just had to get to the bottom of this whole "mailman" thing - also, I felt kind of bad, I didn't know what she was talking about, if her son had his feelings hurt, or what exactly the nice thing to do was in this situation).
Note to self: the carnival is not the best time to approach the mother of your child's school friend about sensitive name-calling matters.
Leaning over the crowd and trying to drown the sounds of classic rock blasting from the speakers just above my head, I said to her, "Is there some kind of problem?" in the nicest way I could.
"No, no, no," she assured me. "I just wanted to know why they call him "The Mailman." Does he deliver things? It is kind of a funny thing to call someone, don't you think? Why do you think they call him that?"
She was firing off her questions faster than The Zipper above my head. . .
(Maybe because his mom is . . . )
"I haven't a clue ma'am." I responded, noticing that her son, The Mailman in question, was having a giglefest behind her, OBVIOUSLY his feelings were hurt.
Here is the deal, I know my kids aren't perfect. Nobody is. They are at the age where I try (I said try) to encourage them to solve their own problems, especially the minor ones. I have heard about every little playground squabble for the past 4 years. Even though personally, I'd rather lick sandpaper than listen to another story about how "Billy pushed down Sally and made her cry."
So it, quite honestly, baffled me that The Mailman's mother was approaching me, at a carnival, in front of our children, about something I had no knowledge of. I should have handed her a card with my phone number on it and told her to contact me at a later date - that I was enjoying the evening with my family.
Or possibly bought her a funnel cake and called it good.
Then maybe she would take her mailman, whose face was red with laughter at this point and could hardly contain himself (yeah, he looks devastated), back to the post office whence he came.