By Diane Ako
Have you been to the mall in December? The parking lot is a zoo, right?
I had a few final gifts to buy, so I asked Claus if he'd drive me on Saturday and wait in the car while I ran in. You'd have thought I just asked him to walk barefoot to work in the rain naked, while piggybacking me.
"Why can't I come in?" he said.
"Parking is horrible," I repeated.
"What am I going to do in the car while you go in?" he persisted.
"Look at your iPhone. Read a magazine. Really? You can't just do this for me? You know I'm a fast shopper?" I bargained.
"But? The parking lot?" he whined.
I pointed out that I have never, ever asked him to do this in the 12 years we've been married and the one year we dated before that. Thirteen years of being with him and I have never before asked him to be my mall chauffeur.
After some grumbling, he finally relented, but not without lingering snide remarks (that continue to this day!) (EG: Upon arrival at grocery store, restaurant, or any place with parking lot: "Oh, should I wait in the car? Is that more fun?")
Saturday came, and as we drove in, he said, "I'm going to look for parking, and if I don't find anything, then you can go in."
I was so, so certain he would circle around in vain. Wouldn't you know it, he found a space within the first minute.
Open space, no waiting for the other car to leave. So smooth, like a hot knife through butter.
Would you like creme and sugar with that cup of condescension? You can imagine the look of disdain he gave me for even thinking to ask him to wait in the vehicle.
As we walked towards the shops, he saw another parked car with a man inside. "Oh, look. I'm sure his wife's in the mall somewhere."
So we zip through the gift list, as I promised I would. Last stop: I wanted to buy lipstick for myself.
We walk into the makeup shop and naturally, Olivia and I get really excited by all the colors and glitter. This is going to be our mother-daughter bonding activity, I'm sure, because we get so thrilled about looking at all the products and trying them on.
Claus is standing on the side trying not to get in females' way. "I'm glad you found a parking stall so easily," I smiled. "You're so helpful in holding my bags."
He looked worse for the wear. Tired. Irritated that he was standing around in a makeup shop being ground down by all the estrogen in the air.
My friend James just happened to send me some photos of his daughter falling asleep while the adults were shopping. I think this perfectly illustrates what went on in Claus' head:
"I'm starting to rethink that parking stall offer," he said. "I might just go wait in the car."
See? Should have just listened to me in the first place!