Tax dollars at work

As a woman in her childbearing years certain things happen each month on which I must keep tabs. Keep this in mind.

Scene opens: a woman and her two daughters are gayly meandering through a beautiful park in DC. It is a gorgeous day. The girls are happily playing with their Barbies and mom is quite taken with taking creative pictures for her photography class. They slowly make their way towards the botanical gardens where the girls will participate in their botany class.

Plot twists: one of the daughters mentions that it is necessary for her to use the bathroom before the class begins because, as it goes, her body is not tied to a clock that determines when the most convenient potty times should be. Her body must take after her mother’s. As the family enters the bathroom the mother notices a sign above the paper towel dispenser, “feminine hygiene products are available at the Visitor’s Center”. “That’s so nice of them.” she thinks, “Good thing I have that handy iPhone app that tells me exactly when I’m due for ‘the visit’, which is in a week.” She decides to “try to go” too as an example to her offspring that they should always try to go if they have the option of using a nice, clean bathroom while in the city.

Plot pretzels: Uh oh. The mother realizes that contrary to what her iPhone has told her, Aunt Flo is indeed preparing to visit sooner than promised. She has nothing on her to prepare for the visit. It is 10:27. Class starts at 10:30. So as not to cause alarm she exhibits no shock or fear but quickly ushers her daughters to their botany class. She debates with herself. Should she ask the room full of mothers and female instructors for what she is sure one of them must have? Or should she excuse herself to the Visitor’s Center and secure one of what they promised to have? To the Visitor’s Center she goes.

Climax (or not so much): The mother approaches the Visitor’s Center counter, hurdling a velvet rope along the way so as not to have to maze through the gardens just to get over there. Of course, the security guard sees her and as she is approaching the counter where two men leisurely sit he gets on to her for not going around. Swallowing pride and harnessing that “I don’t give a crap if you’re a guy and I’m asking you for a pad, this is real life and if you’re a real man you know how life works” attitude that she picked up at the women’s college she attended, she meekly mentions, “there is a sign in the bathroom that says the Visitor’s Center has feminine hygiene products.” “Eh?” Asks one of the men. All three men are looking at her. She repeats herself, a little more forcefully. “It does?” asks the man after finally hearing the question/statement. He proceeds to check one drawer, then another, then another, then another, then another, then the first one again, then the second one again, then the third one again, then the fourth one again, then the first one again. Nothing. The mother is now wishing she would have chosen the all-female option in her self debate.

The man does go beyond the call of duty that most employees in a customer service job would do nowadays. He goes into the offices to see if he can find more stock of the promised feminine hygiene products. Meanwhile the mother stands around whistling, shuffling her feet and smiling at visitors as they enter the botanical gardens, with the two other men still halfways not looking at her. He comes back with a woman who checks the first drawer, then the second one, then the third one, then the fourth one and then the fifth one. She gets on the phone to talk to the Wizard of Oz who seems to be everyone’s last hope in knowing where the flipping promised feminine hygiene products are.

Denouement: The woman enlists the help of the guard (who got on to the mother) to help access the promised feminine hygiene products. The mother follows because, well, at least that’s better than standing at the front entrance whistling and shuffling feet and feeling awkward. And she knows the handover won’t be at the entrance to the gardens in sight of all newcomers. The guard does apologize for admonishing the mother over the velvet rope hopping. He admits that it is just company policy and she looks like she’s agile enough to not trip over the rope. The mother follows them into the storage room, and is surprised that she is not told to keep out of there for company safety reasons. When they realize that the promised feminine hygiene products are in a rubbermaid bin at the top of the highest shelf the woman offers to give the mother something from her own stash. The guard insists he can get them down speedily and in deed does. The mother takes part in handing off six or seven boxes of promised feminine hygiene products and feels accomplished that she was able to help solve the problem. But yet, she still has her own problem to deal with. Thanking them both profusely she hurries away to that nice, clean bathroom where she once saw a sign promising feminine hygiene products at the Visitor’s Center.

NB: This mother is grateful for seeing her tax dollars at work in two ways:
1) that a national museum/park offers free classes for her children to take (many of them do in DC) (although pushed to admit it she would say that in a time of financial struggles things like free classes at national museums should be the first to go)
and
2) that they provide “necessary” items free of charge to women in dire straits.

Everyone there was so helpful and nice. The whole situation was just comedic and deserved telling. Or at least the mother thinks so.

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9 thoughts on “Tax dollars at work

  1. That’s one of those things that would have absolutely mortified me when I was younger but these days I’m pretty nonchalant about. I still wouldn’t want my period to be the focus of four people’s (3 male) attention but at least I would feel like drawing into a hole.

    Glad it worked out!

  2. Ok so who is going to play the mother? I am voting either Sandra Bullock or Jen Anniston. I live in the country in the south, nothing is free except a walk and dirt. Our museums and gardens were wiped off the map in 05. So I have no idea where I would find a free product in the time of emergency.

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