This year- Day one hundred. (childhood tales)
2009-10-07/1:51 a.m.

Crystal and Sarah as kids in red jackets

When I was around 4 years old my dad and my uncle Hamid stopped to pick something up at Venture (it was like KMart but we liked it more- there is a Lowes there now). I remember this so vividly that only recently when retelling it to my dad when he was visiting did the events of the story seem crazy to me. Particularly when Sarah was like "What the eff dad??" during it.

So I was around four years old and Sarah was a baby sleeping in a car seat. We stopped at Venture and since Sarah was sleeping dad asked me to watch her for just a few minutes while they ran in and he'd lock the doors. I said I could do it (I remember her being difficult to get quiet/asleep so I assume that's why no one wanted to wake her). At 4 I was that responsible apparently because they went into the store.

Maybe one minute after they walked in I had to pee. I knew exactly where the bathroom was. In fact, I still know exactly where the bathroom was. When you entered Venture there was a snack bar area right inside on the right and the bathrooms were right in there. So, very near the entrance.

I had a dilemma, I could either unlock the door and go inside and pee and run back to the car hoping to beat them back or I could hold it. Since going inside meant leaving a baby in an unlocked car, I opted to hold it and hoped for the best. I was so panicked though when they were gone for more than five minutes.

Eventually, and it still makes me stressed just thinking about it, I peed my pants. About a minute after that my dad appeared walking out of the store. I was so upset that I couldn't complete the task correctly that I cried. My dad was not upset with me and apologized that there was only one register open etc... It bugged me to the point of figuring out many years later that I could have slipped out of the car next to it and squatted to pee and then slipped back in.

My adult self thinks that would be a good choice but also thinks it was nighttime and there are things like kidnappers and molesters in the world so maybe pants peeing was the best choice. It is possible that at four years old I was able to make the best decision in a situation and yet I spend my time at thirty stressing about those few minutes of my life and how I could have bettered my choices. I really hate, even now, feeling like I'm being trusted with something and then failing at it.

The only other time I remember peeing my pants as a child happened at daycare. It was a place called the Gingerbread House (I'm pretty sure) and a few of the workers were just college kids I've realized in retrospect. One guy was spending all of our nap time flirting with one of the girls and he kept getting annoyed if any kid bugged him or wasn't sleeping. I wasn't sleeping because I was excited that my dad and grandpa were going to pick me up early to go fishing that day. I was wearing canvas shorts and a t-shirt. I didn't want to make the guy mad because he had just yelled at me for having my eyes open so I didn't get up when I had to pee. Then he left the room and didn't come back for a long time and since I couldn't ask permission to get up, I didn't and I just laid there and peed my pants on the cot.

When dad and grandpa got there I was so afraid that they'd know what happened and that I'd be in trouble but we went fishing and they never said anything so I don't think they knew. I was so mad at that guy who worked there and hated him from then on out for my Gingerbread House time.

So both times involved me having to do it because I had no permission or adult to take me to the bathroom and I just had to sit there, awake, and know it was happening while I simmered with frustration or anger. What a delightful little girl I was! No wonder I stress so much about everything else. Really, I have calmed down a lot if you think about it.

Now, why was my dad letting a four year old watch a baby in a store parking lot at night? That is what Sarah was shocked over. I kind of think that every parent is lucky if their kids make it to adulthood alive and un-mangled by one of the million things that could have gone wrong in those years. Sarah and I in particular.

Crystal and Sarah on the Plaza 12-84


A note I found in a drawer.
The Extra Lens and Adultery.
Books are beautiful.
Ira Glass made me feel better about things.
Something that happened yesterday.