A Successful Time Out

>> Wednesday, July 11, 2007


You really shouldn’t be talking to me.

Technically, I’m still in Time Out. At least I think so. It’s hard to know when Time Out is over with Samantha as the timekeeper.

I’m not sure what I did wrong. I think I was singing or dancing. Whatever it was, I must have been bad or bad at it, because she sent me to T.O. quite sternly.

“You’re in Time Out!” she said without explanation and pointed to the chair. I went to the chair because that is what I am supposed to do. I did as I was told, but I didn’t smile about it. I glared.

Maybe I’m still in T.O. because I haven’t apologized, which is what we taught the girls to do. They must show sincere remorse before ending their sentence -- or at least be good at faking it. But I have no remorse and no intention of faking it, even though I know everything would be better if I did. Samantha would be happy and I would be free. But I’m not going apologize -- no way. My dancing (or singing, or whatever) wasn’t that bad. I have my pride.

Which tells me that I’m basically the same stubborn kid I was in daycare. I haven’t become more mature. People simply stopped putting my in T.O., because you can’t really put a grown up in T.O. unless they commit some crime along the lines of robbery or murder -- bad dancing doesn’t qualify.

Now suddenly I am back in time. I am in daycare, many years ago, sitting in a small blue chair and giving my teacher the evil eye. She once told my mom, “If looks could kill, I’d die everyday.” When I heard this, I thought: Good -- she deserves it.

I was right in the middle of building a Lincoln Log house, and here she comes, stomping over, telling me I have to knock it down and put it away so I can take a nap. A nap?! Who’s tired? Not me. I’m in the middle of my project, Meanie-Pants. ("Meanie-Pants" is all I could manage.) I stared at her with thinned-lips and squinted eyes for some endless time until my sentence was suspended. I don’t remember apologizing. If I did, I’m sure I said it quietly, under my breath and under duress; probably in order to get my afternoon snack.

Which brings me back to the present and makes me wonder: Could it be that Samantha didn’t put me in T.O. for dancing (or singing, or whatever) after all? Could it be she put me in T.O. because I put her in T.O. earlier that day? Could it be the glare she delivered was similar to my very own evil eye -- except, hers didn’t look quite so evil because she was sucking her thumb and clutching Baby Doll at the same time? Did she apologize for her crime (which was throwing a spoon onto the floor twice while looking into my eyes, thus issuing a direct challenge)?

“Do you know why you’re in Time Out, Samantha?”

She nodded her head and said quietly, “Throwing the spoon on the floor.”

“Are you going to say you’re sorry?”

“No.” She held her head up, defiant.

“Do you want another Time Out?” I threatened.

“I’m sorry!”

Yes, she apologized. Of course, that has to be the worst apology I’ve ever heard. But there is something oddly familiar about this exchange; a familiar tone; a familiar stare. Was she sincere? No. Did I bribe her? Perhaps. Was her apology given under duress? No doubt.

I hugged her, she hugged me, and I let her go.

Well, now. Here I am, still in Time Out, just thinking about things. I wonder what Samantha is doing. Probably playing with puzzles. Hmm.

I guess, maybe, it’s time for me to apologize, too.

For... whatever.

(Good job, Samantha. But you’re gonna have to work on your evil eye -- it’s too damned cute.)




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