There's nothing like an innocent early morning jaunt on the boardwalk to teach my kids about the cruel harsh world.
Okay, so it was really a couple of idiots working at a bike rental shop with less teeth than Margot that renewed my lack of faith in humanity.
We'd spent the first part of the morning watching the not-so-romantic "oh my god why are you little rascals awake right now" sunrise and walking through the waves on the beach when I decided to pass a little more time by checking out the rental bikes.
And while we were examining the various contraptions that you can rent for a ridiculous amount of money to ride up and down a long stretch of what might be the largest saturation of hairspray, fake nails, and airbrushing, Drew decided to put his precious plastic Lightning McQueen car down in the middle of the bike thoroughfare. But considering it was still practically o' dark thirty, it wasn't that busy.
Well, until one of the aforementioned idiots needed to return a low-rider 3-wheeled bike.
The guy told Drew to grab his car, but he was too scared to jump out in front of the moving bike. And having Margot stuffed into a BabyHawk carrier, I couldn't reach down and grab it as quickly as I needed to.
So instead of hitting the brakes, or reaching down to pick it up as he drove by, the guy just ran right over the toy.
There was a loud crunch, followed by a duet of screams unlike anything I've ever heard.
However, I was too focused on the idiots laughing it up in the back of the shop, to even try to console my kids.
Yes, they were laughing.
I'm not even sure what I said to them, and the other guy working there who was standing and staring at my kids as they picked up the pieces of the car.
I yelled to the back of the shop as they sat there, obviously hiding, but too small balled to come out and apologize and offer them something in return.
"You should be ashamed of yourselves" I said, grasping for words that didn't start with "F." "You couldn't wait two more seconds so that he could pick it up?" I asked, completely shocked at the blatant disregard for their feelings.
I walked away with the kids to collect myself, and attempt to explain why someone would do what I've spent years trying to teach them.
But it was like talking to a couple of screaming monkeys.
"Waaaaaah my car waaaaaah his car waaaaaah we'll never ever have a car ever again waaaaaah!"
And so I figured, why not use it to my advantage and so I dragged my kids back to the shop, continuing on like I hadn't left, demanding money for the car, and pointing my finger at the woman in charge of the rental agreements.
She asked them what had happened because she hadn't seen it. Whatever.I told her "They ran over his car on purpose."
After I stood there for a few more minutes, my kids still loudly mourning the loss of the car, she barely apologized and handed me money.
"Why would he do that?" Quinlan kept saying through her tears.
I really didn't know what to tell her. I was too choked up, part of my heart crushed like the toy car. It's the side of humanity you never really want your kids to see.
"Sometimes people are just mean," I told her. "But that doesn't mean we have to sit around and take it."
Now I just have to figure out how to teach her to let out the air on 50 some odd bike tires.