Taking Aunt Batsy and three kids to the mall is like entering a burning building. Without a hose. Without oxygen. Yet somehow I survive to tell about it.
Just like anyone entering a burning building, I knew my chances were slim. But I still went through with it. Because Aunt Batsy has a freaking coupon.
We are only going to Macy’s. So I trick myself into thinking it might just be okay. But it wasn’t. I’m a really bad tricker.
And not only does she have a coupon, but she has also called “corporate”. I mean, of course she doesn’t even know how to call “corporate”. Or answer call waiting for that matter. But this is the song and dance she’s literally giving to the cashiers.
She is trying to persuade them. She is really under the impression these women will take these empty threats seriously and fear for their jobs. They’re not biting.
I have seen this act before. At every cash register this side of the Mississippi. My entire life has been one awkwardly long check out line. Ending with Aunt Batsy writing a third party postdated out of state check and taking years off my life.
So now she makes my daughter Mimi come up to the register and read to the woman the “member since” date on her card. Even though she knows damn well exactly what it says. But she’s got a real flare for the arts. A real passion for drama. And they have painstakingly rehearsed this scene in the car.
Mimi proudly walks up and in true Batsy fashion states loudly, “1969. She’s been a concealed and carry card member since the year 1969. I’d say that warrants a discount.” Spot on.
She’s been trained by the best.
But no one is impressed. Not me. Not the cashiers. No one. The cashiers are actually questioning their career paths right out in the open. But Aunt Batsy ain’t having any it.
So it’s time for her to bring out the big guns. She tells anyone in ear shot how she used to work at Fields. As a gift wrapper. And then stands there just waiting for them to crumple in front of her at hearing this. Likes she’s dropped an actual bomb on them.
Now everyone is just so confused. And I’m just happy my kids are jumping on the beds in the linen section. Yelling, “you break my bed, I break your ass!” An Aunt Batsy original term of endearment. As loud as they can, for all to hear.
Finally, that shitshow ends. All we have left to do is take the elevator. And then escape to freedom. We are so close.
Unfortunately for her, there is a young woman with a baby stroller trying to share the ride with us. The Bats prefers to travel alone. So when the alarm starts to sound because the doors have been open too long, The Bats handles it as only she can.
She soullessly stares right into the eyes of that poor postpartum girl. A woman who has no idea how her life is about to change. She will be sitting in therapy years from now and will realize what a pivotal role this interaction played in her life. It will all suddenly make perfect sense. The divorce. The drugs. The alcohol. The eating disorders. It can all be traced back to this one moment in time.
The Bats is so obviously looking her up and down, dripping with judgment. In a schoolmarm-like voice she finally snarls, “the buzzer only goes off when there’s too much weight on here.” And with a smile holds the door for the freshly pulped new mom to depart.