As a teacher, I have had parents come to me on more than one occasion and ask “what should I do?” As someone who long ago turned their back on having children, that always puts me in an uncomfortable position.

Sure, I have those days where I wonder if it would be better to have actively tried to convince some woman to marry me and have a child or two … I see plenty of successful parents out there. Sometimes, in moments of self-guile and hubris I even think “people have been parents for thousands of years …I difficult can it really be?”

Then every so often …

I have been sick the last two days, so last night at about 7:30 I headed to Chipotle to get something in their hot red salsa, which I am convinced should require FDA regulation as a medicine for cold sufferers. This stuff pretty much kills any bacteria or virus it comes into contact with.

As I walk in, the line is short … just two people ahead of me. I notice this woman with three kids not in line, but with their eyes skyward looking at the menu. I get up to be next in line, when mom decides that she is ready and that it is OK to move in ahead of me.

First, she orders beef tacos ….. the kids are yapping about what to put on it …. then “I don’t know if I like the beef” … she gets some beef for the kid to sample …. its too spicy …. OK … I need a steak burrito ….. and the tacos with mild beef … The preparer puts aside the tacos, and starts working on the steak burrito …. one kid is yammering about drinks … the other is saying no cheese. The steak burrito comes through, and it has sour cream on it. “I asked for that without sour cream” she says (note: she never uttered anything of the kind). Now they are throwing away the tacos and burrito and starting again. Then she needs a steak burrito bowl and guacamole and chips … after all of that, the line has grown considerably, and they take my order. She is now up to the cash register, but there are no non-spicy beef tacos. For those not aware, Chipotle’s barbacoa is mildly spicy beef … they don’t make any non-spicy …. but this restaurant …. in an attempt to save a customer …. apparently is trying to make some in the back. This goes on and on with the whole selection of the salsa (what kinds are there?) to the addition of lettuce and cheese.

Then the coupons come out.

I am really trying to be sympathetic vs. annoyed …. really I am … even though this has been dragging out for almost ten minutes. The people behind me are laughing quietly at this woman who is holding everyone up (at this point, the line now has 24 people, and nearly reaches the door; I counted on the way out). Finally she thinks she’s got everything while the kids go fill up their cups and make a mess of things over there.

It was one of those life affirming moments in my life … I never suggest that others should follow my lead …. quite the contrary. However, every so often in the grand scheme of the universe, you get that moment of insight and think “there, but for the grace of God, could have been me.”

Not sure if the hot sauce did anything, but I was feeling less congested last night and much better this morning. Coincidence????? (probably)


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