“Who let you out of the asylum?” a stranger asked me at the supermarket. She was smiling as if she were making a joke.
Then, a minute later, another stranger said: “You know, you’re an awesome mother.” This would have been sweeter if she hadn’t followed it up with, “Wait, are you the mother?”
You see, my supermarket sells puppets. So it seemed only natural to invent a tradition, with Sophie, that every time we pass the puppet rack in the supermarket, we always stop and play for a few minutes. That and the chance to eat endless button mushrooms (the checkout folk are quite sweet about not charging me for the mushrooms she eats in the store) are the only consolations Sophie gets for the general boredom of sitting in a supermarket cart.
Today, I was the cheerleader puppet, pretending to be desperately hungry for anything green, and quite excited that Sophie was wearing a shirt with green sleeves. Then I was the knight puppet, striving to rescue damsels in distress, and terribly unhappy that all the damsels on the puppet rack seemed perfectly capable of helping themselves. Then I honestly don’t remember which puppet I was next, but it was exuberant, and apparently everyone in the supermarket had an opinion about my dramatic impressions of a ravenous cheerleader and knight-facing-feminism and whatever else I was.
The problem might be that Sophie and I were coming from a particularly inspiring performance at the Balboa Park Puppet Theater. Or maybe the problem is that I used to do children’s theater when I was in college, and it’s hard to turn off my immature acting proclivities. Or maybe the problem is that I truly enjoy playing puppets with Sophie.
Maybe that’s not a problem.