“And that’s how things are. A day is like a whole life. You start out doing one thing, but end up doing something else, plan to run an errand, but never get there. . . . And at the end of your life, your whole existence has the same haphazard quality, too. Your whole life has the same shape as a single day.” ― Michael Crichton, Jurassic Park
There is a popular video haunting the internet. I first learned of it this morning while I was boiling an egg, making coffee, imploring my six-year-old to put on her socks, while putting on lipstick. My husband, Erin, walked in with our small dog (who is always freezing cold) stuffed in his sweatshirt and said, “Did you see the video of the naked lady wrecking the McDonalds?”
“What? There’s a naked lady at McDonalds?” said my young six-year-old impressionable daughter, Harper. “What was she doing?”
“She was eating ice cream right out of the machine,” Erin laughed.
“Okay, enough,” I said, giving my husband a hard look. “Daddy’s joking. That didn’t happen. No one would do that. And even if someone DID do that… the person that LAUGHS at that kind of thing… is worse than the person who DOES that kind of thing… Because that’s laughing at the mentally ill and no one should do that.”
“What?” Erin said, and both he and the dog have a look like they just went wee on the floor. “She didn’t seem mentally ill to me. She seemed drunk.”
“Okay. Enough… Don’t repeat this story to anyone at school,” I said to Harper. “That’s the last thing I want… If parents want their children to know about this awful story, they will tell them themselves… Like we did… Enough.”
“I won’t, Mommy,” she said. “I promise. I won’t tell anyone at school about the naked lady at McDonalds that eats ice cream straight from the machine.”
As I dropped my daughter at school this morning, the vision of the naked lady at McDonalds was haunting me, and I found myself coming straight home, pulling up the internet, and googling the following equation:
“Naked Lady” + “McDonalds” + “Ice Cream”
What resulted was the following video, which I politely asked my husband (an editor) to blur and silence, so it contains no nudity and none of the terrible teenage-commentary from the McDonalds employees watching this poor woman’s day-end meltdown.
“What’s the point, then?” my husband asked.
“Because, the essence of what this video is saying isn’t about any of that,” I told him. “This video says something else…”
“Whatever…” My husband said, before agreeing to blur and silence the footage.
The video is here:
What you will see… if you watch the video in its entirety… Is a woman who saunters into a McDonalds wearing only underpants… Then proceeds to pull everything off the shelves, while the security guards stand watching her, afraid to intervene. Of particular note… the woman doesn’t seem angry, or upset in any way. She simply seems frustrated… and then hungry… When she bends over and consumes the ice cream directly out of the spigot.
“Look at her,” says one of the terrible unfunny teenagers watching the footage. “She’s a zombie. This is what the Zombie Apocalypse will look like.”
Hardly I thought. What an idiot. If it were the Zombie Apocalypse, she would be eating the security guards… NOT the ice cream.
No… I think this woman might be the mother of a small child…. or a number of them… This woman is no “zombie” at all… She is simply a woman who made the decision this morning, to get up, make breakfast, and go to the park… But a few wrong turns, a temper tantrum, a bad run-in at Target changed all of that.
This woman reminds me of myself when I was potty-training my two-year-old. I remember watching a certain video called “ELMO’S POTTY TIME” again-and-again… I don’t guess I ever crawled over a public lunch counter nude like she did… But I could’ve during those years… Oh yes, I could’ve… Has she had a few too many “concerned relatives” questioning her potty training philosophy? Is her child four-years-old and still wearing a pull-up? That’s what I wondered when I saw the footage.
Maybe she’s the mother of a six-month-old, and she is still breastfeeding, which is why she has forgone her top all together. Maybe after months of no sleep and exhaustion, she feels like an endless milk machine… And now she thinks it’s my turn… Momma wants milk… Then she heads to McDonalds and shoves her head under the vanilla.
Maybe she’s a mother who wanted some time to herself, and despite all her best friends telling her to please “SLEEP WHEN THE BABY SLEEPS OR YOU WILL LOSE IT!!!” she didn’t do that. She decided to stay awake during naps, to read, or exercise, or practice her dance routines. She made lattes and watched the VIEW. She didn’t sleep when the baby slept and this is what happened. This was the end result of her taking a few minutes to herself.
What I felt when I saw this raw end-of-day footage, was the opposite of judgement. Instead, I was consumed with compassion, followed by kindred-ship. It could’ve been me… I thought… watching her quietly open the refrigerator, pulling down milks and juices before overturning the cash register.
Motherhood is hard… And the longer you wait to have a child, there is some kind of idea that it will be easier for you… That as a Jurassic Mom, you have one up on a younger newer mom… But with all due respect… There are some things age cannot change… And exhaustion is one of those things.
This is all I have to say to the naked lady wrecking the McDonalds:
All my love to you. I understand. You are somebody’s mother. This internet thing is going to embarrass you when you come to your senses. But let it be a reminder that you are no different from any of us. You are no zombie, my love. We all have days when we want to run naked through McDonalds and eat right from the ice cream machine. There’s no shame in that.
Please try to sleep when the baby sleeps.