I’m sitting in a Chuck-e-Cheese’s, nervous as I think I’ve ever been, waiting to meet BMA. I’m vaguely surprised to see a kid with a kippa in this land of treyf pizza, particularly this close to lunchtime. I remember my parents refusing to take me to chuck-e-cheese (or amusement parks, or other things), so Vicky, the woman who was my family’s housekeeper and my babysitter from when I was one year old, took me with her children. It was one of the many times I intruded on her family in ways that were probably inappropriate, but that’s a story for another time. I remember the arcade as being much more darkly lit; this is bright flourescents overhead, rather than the only light coming from the games. But there is skee-ball, and the basket shooting game, and a ball pit. Oh, ball pits, haven for head injuries, urine, and fun.
I got to this strip mall almost an hour before BMA texted she could get here, due to the changing plans that happen when you have four small kids to wrangle in the morning. Also, taking SEPTA, or any public transit system in a town I’m not familiar with, particularly the bus, is scary, so I’m glad I got the extra time. I had horrible anxiety dreams last night in my friends’ beautiful guest room. Anxiety dreams about everything other than meeting BMA: my job search, catching up in the class I’m taking, house maintenance, getting lost, etc. I don’t know if my heart rate has gone back to normal levels since I woke up, and it certainly only went up as I craned my neck to check street signs through the bus window to make sure I didn’t miss my stop.
I killed some time at a teacher supply store and a craft store, where I remembered my already overburdened shoulder bag and didn’t buy the adorable stamped cross-stitch quilt. I have four legs, a tail, and most of the head of a triceratops in my bag, and on the bus down yesterday I was too carsick to stitch. I’m glad the friends I’m staying by have a six-year-old, and even gladder that she’s fond of me. I’m good with kids, I know this, but it’s good to get the reminder before meeting four kids with high stakes. I’ve texted BMA, and she’s on her way, so I keep looking over my shoulder toward the door. It would make more sense to sit facing the door, but I can’t quite bring myself to do it. Instead, I’m sitting here, a guy with no kids at an amusement arcade, typing away on my computer to dispel suspicion, concertedly not looking at the children starting to fill the place up. Ooo…MarioKart. I should go get some tokens.