We pulled into the Barnes and Noble parking lot on Friday night and we were quite surprised to see how packed the place was. You see I had a gift card burning a hole in my wallet and I was going to browse around while Lauren and the kids played in the kid's section. We lucked out and found a decent parking space and we walked towards the door. The place was mobbed.
We entered to find the store decorated in purple balloons and streamers and the entire staff was dressed in purple t-shirts. There was a loud party music coming from a DJ booth somewhere.
"Must be a book signing." Lauren said.
"I wonder who." I yelled back trying to be overheard over the music. I read one of the employees shirts to Lauren. "Janet Evanovich. Plum Lovin."
I have seen the name Janet Evanovich in different magazines and book reviews but I was not sure of the type of genre she wrote. At first, due to all the purple and balloons and music, I thought maybe she was a children's author, but the 200 or so women that formed a line that snaked throught the store, as well as the title Plum Lovin made me think she was a romance novelist.
We "excuse me-pardon me-excuse me-sorry about the stroller hitting your foot-excuse me-ed" our way back to the kids section. Lauren stayed with Max and he played with the trains and I pushed Wyatt through the store trying to see if there was any books I may want to buy. After a few minutes of trying to navigate the stroller through the hordes of people who were there for the signing I gave up. I went back to the trains and told Max he had five more minutes to play.
After the five minutes I told Max it was time to go and I could tell he was not going to go nicely.
"Max," I said "your five minutes are up."
"Ten minutes!" He yelled back.
"No Max. It is time to go now."
I could see the vains in his neck start to pop. I knew he was going to have a meltdown. Lauren started to push the stroller through the crowds of people as I picked up Max. Max started to scream. His wail was louder than the music being played. As I made my way through the store I could see all of the heads of the ladies in line for the signing turn in my direction. Almost in unison. I was at the back of the store and I had about 50 yards between me and the door. The further away we got from the trains the louder Maxfield's scream became. I did my best to quiet him short of putting my hand over his mouth (I did not want anyone to think I was kidnapping him).
I walked past the bulk of the line of women and I could feel their leers and sneers and their "oh my kid would never behave that way" looks of disapproval making holes in my back. With about 25 feet to go to the door I did the only thing I could think of. I stopped, and waited for Max to catch his breath between screams and I said as loudly as I could,
"Max, I don't know why that Janet lady won't sign your book. But it's okay we'll find another author. I am sorry she was so mean to you."
Lauren, who was in front me looked back and smiled. The 30 or so ladies I was closest to all did a double take trying to figure out if I was serious.