Mayhem in the A.M.

I love bakeries on Saturday mornings.

I love the way they smell.

I like getting up early. I like being one of the first people on the streets. I like doughnuts. But I frankly show up for the pathetic parade of humanity one encounters there, seeking sugar and solace.

There's no substitute for the air there - redolent with recrimination and regret.

This past Saturday, for example, was the day before Easter...

The line was out the door by the time I showed up.

Half of which was comprised of sheepish looking adults who were embarrassed to be seen in the light of day, and the other half comprised of parents with children who behaved so wretchedly that I virtually wept tears of gratitude that my doctor had given me a cautionary reminder the day before that "the antibiotics you're taking can impair the effectiveness of birth control pills."

(Reminder? Hell, I have that cross-stitched on a pillow.)

NEVER have I been so glad to dodge THAT particular bullet as I was when confronted with these miserable little tykes.

I suspect they'd been gnawing the ears off chocolate bunnies in the car, all the way over. Probably chasing them with Mountain Dew, Ale 8s, and Red Bulls.

I think I've adapted well to my new role as "Bitter Aunt Rhonda," but it must be said that the children of MY friends do NOT behave this way (or if they do, they're sequestered during it - part of the fiendish plot to turn the rest of us into parents, I suspect).

One of the kids was head-butting his extremely pregnant mother in the stomach, for example. She seemed oblivious, but I was horrified - not necessarily in fear for her health (though I figure that couldn't be good for her), but wondering if perhaps she simply wasn't aware of what CAUSES babies. (Obviously, any sane woman would've opted for tubal ligation once she'd seen how this one turned out.)

The juxtaposition of that other half of the line was what was especially funny - the usual weekend morning parade of new "couples" (using the term loosely) who've just awakened and removed their beer goggles.

They can barely look at each other.

They never take off their sunglasses.

United only in their hangover hunger, you can tell that their union will last no further than the precise amount of time it takes to satisfy their mutual craving for sugar and caffeine - which, by now, they've realized, is the ONLY thing they have in common.

They will quickly separate after this unholy post-alcoholic alliance, never to see each other again, if they're lucky.

Even an 8-year old could figure out what was going on, as the assembled kids tugged on their mothers' clothing and asked loudly, "Mommy, why is his shirt on inside out?!!!" and "Mommy, why are her pants on backwards?!!"

In all fairness, I should admit that I looked like the wrath of God myself - maybe Debbie Harry on a three-day bender, or Stevie Nicks with a bad hangover - in my oversized Spanish Heiress Ray-Bans, a scarf, and no makeup. But at least I had the decency to show up alone (having graciously left my own coyote slumbering back at the Ranch... where - if he were so inclined - he could wake up; gnaw his leg off with quiet dignity; and make a break for freedom in peace and solitude, unencumbered by any regrets my presence might provoke).

I was more than a little sensitive to the subject of morning-afters, having spent the evening before with a group of my pals, including the Ass Brothers, who lent me endless male insights that I could've comfortably gone the rest of my life without knowing....

I felt like I was living in the movie Swingers, only I had been included as ONE of the guys, and I was getting first-hand news from the front - as they discussed every possible permutation in the dating landscape.

How many days do they wait to call? Well, Sweet-T thinks six is perfectly acceptable - and that's business days (holidays and legal holidays are exempt from the six days).

In response to my assertion that intelligence and humor were wasted on younger guys, they defeated my argument with one sentence, "You can't teach big tits," accompanied by the universal symbol for big tits, open palms toward the chest, fingers spread, approximately 11 inches from said chest (as in, "you can't teach height" - a basketball reference, they explained).

But they were all especially (and scarily) knowledgeable about the subject of how to escape the Morning After.

One member of the pack offered this advice, "My personal favorite for getting rid of a regrettable hookup is the 'run and hide.' Wake up earlier than your companion and discreetly excuse yourself from the bed. If you accidentally wake her, simply explain that 'nature's calling.' Quietly shut the door ...and run. Prepare scouts to notify you when/if she departs (*note: If you're leaving your own dwelling, you may not be able to return for several days [weeks]; prepare accordingly)."

Thank God he got engaged.... otherwise I could've envisioned him permanently locked out of his domicile while a harem of chicks ate all his food, drank all his beer, and lived rent-free for months on end.

Another responded, "remind me to tell you the story about the time I faked going to work so a girl would leave."

Personally, I thought my own method of dealing with unwanted guests was actually far superior to theirs. Somewhere around 2 a.m., I just take on the persona of the annoying bartender who announces Last Call. I flip on some fluorescent lights, begin stacking chairs on top of the coffee table, and LOUDLY announce, "CLOSIN' TIME folks!! Ya don't have to go HOME, but ya CAN'T stay HERE!!"