Scene: Standing in a paint store. (This actually happened.)
At the register, a young mom was trying to match a tiny chip, more like a scab, of grey paint that she taped onto her credit card. She got it at her mother-in-law's, but not from her mother-in-law. "She would have killed me if she knew I picked this off her wall."
The mom's two daughters, ages about 4 and 6, were wearing gold plastic crowns atop messy heads and veil-y pink princess skirts stuffed under their winter jackets. It had been "Dress Up Day" at nursery school.
The 6-year old pulls her mother's coat.
"Mommy, I have to go."
The mother disregards her daughter and continues talking to the paint store salesman about whether he thought the tiny chip had a grey-mint or more cement-tone.
"It would have helped matching it if you had a bigger chip," he says.
"I'm just praying it isn't obvious where I chipped it off. It was in the corner," she says as she tilts the credit card, hoping the specimen will reflect some light so that they can see it better.
"But, Mommy, I really have to go. I really do," says the daughter again. Her hand is now creating a billow of fabric at her crotch.
The mother continues to disregard her daughter and maintains focus on greys.
"Mommy, I have to go," says the daughter again. "I have to go now. Right now."
Unbelievably, the mother continues looking through color wheels.
"Do you think it's more a 'Coastal Fog' or 'Revere Pewter'?"
"It looks to me like 'Silhouette," says the paint salesman.
The mother doesn't skip a beat as her daughter continues stating clear as daylight that SHE HAS TO GO.
"Mommy, I really have to go. Now," she says again.
I ask a different salesman if the store has a ladies room.
"On the left in the back," he says.
"There's a ladies room right over there," I gesture to the mother. "It appears your daughter needs to use it."
"Lilly, do you need to use the bathroom?"