“Oh Mummy! A Tree!”…Thirty minutes later: “Yeah, yeah. It’s a tree.”
It’s always Good Friday when it’s America’s Worst Mother™ day (even though she published on Thursday this week so she could take the kids: Eulalie, Diva Marie, Priapus, and Blister to see The Passion again today since their nightmares had started to abate). So let’s check in….
This week the kids are out of school which means Mr. Meghan makes sure that he has plenty to do around the office so he doesn’t have to spend time gazing upon his family and pondering Diva Marie’s straight black hair and her prominent epicanthic folds and wondering why the Gurdon’s Japanese gardener, Matsui, is always hanging around. Or as Meghan puts it:
During this school break, my husband has gone to work, as is his custom, and on this particular day, while other mothers are taking their children to the Louvre, I am taking our children to get their teeth cleaned. It is not for nothing that my left-wing detractors call me America’s Worst Mother (TM). (woo-hoo!)
Yes, as we have previously seen, Mummy isn’t down with taking the kids somewhere where they might actually have fun thereby broadening their lives with something other than bowls of porridge and playing with hangers. So, in an effort to keep their lives nasty, brutish, and short (much like Jonah Golberg) as well as to make sure that they have nice teeth (unlike John Derbyshire) they go biffing off to the dentist, which allows Meghan to show her truly zany side by confusing him with a Nazi (with an unacknowledged foray into the Marathon Man):
Mummy!” Phoebe is back, milk teeth gleaming. She is radiant. The dentist smiles at me and shakes his head reassuringly. I am radiant.
“Thank you so much, Dr. Mengele — “
The dentist blinks politely.
“I mean, Dr. Mengelos — that is to say, Dr. Mongelos. Thank you!”
Suppressing a kind of strangled mortification, I busy myself in wrapping the children up against the bitter April cold. The doctor waves cheerily, “See you in six months!” I think I am forgiven.
Anyway…after the dental visit it’s time for the Goober-Mobile Ride of Excruciating Boredom™:
Out we go into the blasting wind, which pelts us with thousands of tiny blossoms from Washington’s famous cherry trees. The beauty of the annual bloom brings something like a million visitors to D.C. every spring, and this
year neither the threat of OBL nor the risk of frostbite seems to have deterred them. We drive from the dentist’s office towards the Tidal Basin and the Jefferson Memorial — derided as “the muffin” when it was first built, now known fondly only by that name in our family — to view the profusion of blossoms from the toasty security of our car.
Tourists in parkas stride grimly along every stretch of open ground. Parents pushing blanket-wrapped strollers wait shivering on every corner. A long line of pilgrims snakes up from the main road towards the Washington Monument, past the huge bomb-resistant planters that have sprung up all over the Mall. Teenagers hop up and down in place to keep warm. It is almost incongruous to see the frothy heads of cherry trees poking out from behind the security barriers.
“Wow!” yell various voices inside the car.
“No, Phoebe,” Violet says witheringly, “Not blue — “
As you can see, the children are endlessly fascinated with the delicate blossoms as they gracefully float down upon the heads of the visiting yokels from Spooner City. At least they are for about five minutes before they grow bored and start making pig noses against the windows at the slack-jawed ricket-wracked visitors from the hinterlands with an occasional giving them the finger while Meghan slips into another reverie:
“There must be 20 trees in bloom — no, 50!” Paris shouts. “No, five hundred thousand!” In the front seat, I drone on placidly about how the city of Tokyo gave the trees to the people of the United States in 1912 and how in Japan people pack exquisite boxed lunches and eat them beneath the evanescent blossoms in order to reflect on the swift passing of beauty, the brevity of existence —
In the backseat, Diva Marie longs for those “exquisite boxed lunches ” while silently observing her siblings with her inscrutable Asiatic eyes…..