Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Does this Pizza Make Me Look Boring?

By Melanie Lynne Hauser

Last week, my husband was gone from Monday through Saturday for work, leaving me alone to spend quality time with younger son. And by "quality time," I mean "waving hello and good-bye and handing him money now and then."

So I mainly did a lot of cleaning, a lot of obsessing about writing things I have no control over, a lot of wrangling with the dentist and the insurance over who screwed up the payment for older son's wisdom teeth extraction (does anyone else think that insurance companies are the evilest of evil empires??), a lot of time talking to the cats. And the birds outside. And the ants who have awakened and decided to hold little ant versions of Olympic track and field events in my living room.

Every day of the week I prepared good, nutritious dinners in the faint hope that younger son would dine with me (HAH!), but on Friday night, the night before my husband was to come home, I gave up the fiction of that idea and I decided to splurge a little. Treat myself. Have a little Mom-party.

So I went to the grocery store, grabbed a cart, filled it with a few essentials and then headed to the frozen food section. (I know, I know - boy, do I know how to have fun on a Friday night!)

I pranced over to the frozen pizzas, and surveyed the array of choices before me. I concentrated on the smaller, single-serving pizzas...deep dish, cheese, four cheese, pepperoni, sausage...I was deep in thought, taking my time. When all of a sudden I noticed - I was not alone.

Indeed, I was merely one of a group of about five ladies. Middle-aged ladies. All looking at single serving sized frozen pizzas. On a Friday night.

I got a little nervous. I glanced down at my attire - I was wearing sweat pants and a T-shirt, because - well, frozen pizza! What else do you wear when you're contemplating frozen pizza?

The other ladies were wearing sweat pants and T-shirts.

I looked into their carts. They also had cartons of ice cream and - cat food.

I looked into my cart. I didn't have ice cream. But that's only because I was planning on making brownies when I got home. But I did have - cat food.

I felt my throat tighten up, strangling off a scream. A scream of terror, of recognition. That I had become what I have always feared. A middle-aged cat lady looking forward to a frozen pizza - single serving - on a Friday night.

I wanted to tell these ladies, "Look. I'm not one of you! I'm not what you think! My husband is coming home tomorrow and we have a big night planned!" (Although to tell the truth, we didn't; we were planning on watching the latest episode of "Battlestar Galactica" on our DVR).

I wanted to tell them, "Look. I know I look sad and pathetic and I'm wearing sweats and a T-shirt and I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to making those brownies when I get home, along with watching the newest episode of "What Not to Wear" on TLC, but really, I'm much, much more interesting than this!"

But then I remembered I'm not. Not really. I remembered that just two minutes before, in the refrigerated section, I had carried on an absorbing conversation with myself about the difference between large curd and small curd cottage cheese and just what, exactly, is a curd anyway, and how do you get them different sizes?

I remembered that right before I left home, I had promised the cats I'd be back in a jiffy, just in case they were wondering.

I remembered that on Monday I had promised myself an exciting outing to Target to buy new underwear, just for a treat, not that I needed any but didn't I deserve a little fun in my life?

So I didn't say anything to the nice cat ladies who, after all, were minding their own business and seemed very sweet and content with who they were.

Because I guess, at some point, you embrace your inner cat lady and wear the label proud. But I'm not at that point. I'm still fighting what seems scarily inevitable. Which is why, on Saturday, when my husband came home, I ordered him to take a shower and get dressed and take me out to dinner. True, we were home by seven so we could watch "Battlestar Galactica" and go to bed by nine, but still. At least we tried.

But to tell the truth, I had almost as much fun on Friday night, eating my pizza and brownies and watching "What Not to Wear" with the cats.

And this makes me sad in a way I can't describe except maybe, I just did.


Kalynne Pudner said...

So...how DO they produce the different sized cottage cheese curds?

Threeundertwo said...

Soo funny. I'm right there with you. Did you eat the brownies first? I would have.

devilish southern belle said...

I don't have the same hangups with frozen pizza on Friday nights(and have no cats)....but I wanted to cry when I went to a Bon Jovi concert recently. My friends and I got to our hotel, and there were an astounding number of middle-aged moms, also there for the concert, waiting to check in. Despite the fact that I'm not sure if I'm actually middle-aged myself yet (and please don't tell me if I am!) and I don't drive a minivan, I found myself thinking, "Is this ME?"