Newspaper Column: Sock it to Me

This week’s column for the WIR.

August 22nd, 2012
Quietly Contrary: Sock it to Me
By Mary Eileen Finch


Today was hectic. A tear-your-ovaries-inside-out kind of day. I finally gave up on being productive, threw the kids in the car and drove to McDonald’s. We went to play, not to eat. (There really isn’t anything on the menu safe for my son to consume.) I wanted to take them to a park I had heard about but I couldn’t find it. I even had directions from a local but I was brain dead, got lost and then it started to rain. So we went to the magical indoor play area and it was…..not magical.

The kids ran into the play area while I ordered some water. I walked in with the drinks a few minutes later to find all three of them looking like someone had taken away their favorite toy. I mean, I know McDonald’s isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, but I didn’t expect big huge frowns.

“What’s wrong? Not fun?” I asked.

“A lady yelled at Alex. YELLED at him mom! Said he can’t play because, because he’s got no socks!” my daughter said.

Alex ran into my arms sobbing that his feet were NOT dirty!

I looked around and sure enough there was a sign that read: ”No socks. No Play.”

I haven’t been to a McDonald’s in years but last time we went, in Arkansas, this was not a requirement. I’m pretty sure if they tried that in Arkansas, at least where I’m from, they’d lose a lot of business. Lots of people in Arkansas don’t wear socks, it’s hot! Shucks, lots of us Hillbillies don’t even wear shoes! I’m sure it’s a safety concern and needed but poor Alex was so sad. My daughter saved the day by offering her socks to Alex though, so that he could run around in socks way too big on him and trip all over the place. (Probably not more safe than bare feet.) They were finally having fun and being so good that I decided I could run to the bathroom. It was two inches away. What could happen in the thirty seconds it would take, right?

Wrong! Famous last words of a naïve mother.

I was almost finished when I heard a siren go off.

And I instantly knew what had happened.

I just knew that it was the alarm on the fire exit door.

And I knew that it was my kid that had opened it.

I thought about just staying in the bathroom and pretending I didn’t know who they were. “Children? What children?” (Hey, only for a second, or two. I’m human.)

I walked out of the bathroom and found my son standing next to the screaming door looking so confused. He had just leaned up against the door and it had popped open. We saw the sock-enforcing lady heading our way, and looking a tad upset. So we grabbed our shoes, ran away, and jumped into the car where we burst out in giggles. Perhaps the restaurant holds a bit of magic after all.

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