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Saturday, October 11, 2008

Can't We All Just Get Along?

Um, no, we can't. I might be to blame for this. OK, to tell the truth, it is mostly my fault. When I am out in public with my two kids, I am not what you would refer to as "friendly". Honestly, I have a limited amount of time before I run out of snacks, either or both G and L start crying, or G decides to run in the opposite direction from me. I might smile at a stranger if the stars are aligned and I am having an exceptionally good day. However, chances aren't good.

After venturing out with my kids for the 4th or 5th time in search of the perfect outfits for the holiday photo, I decided to grant G's request for a "smoo-fee", which translates to a "smoothie" in the English language. Standing in the corner of the store, I had successfully moved the stroller out of everyone's way, had L in the Bjorn, and was holding onto G's hand. All were well and, more importantly, quiet. A middle-aged woman approached me, staring at my kids. I smiled and gave her a cursory nod, asking God to grant me the favor of making her go away. No luck. She probably took my smile as an invitation for conversation.

Strange woman in the coffee shop: "How far apart are your kids?"
F: "Two years."

You would think that by my offering no further information, she might have wanted to end the conversation, but no.

She continued, "Mine are 15 months apart."
F: "Wow."

I tried to sound sufficiently impressed. The woman then launches into a monologue about the trials and tribulations of having two children so close in age. I nod, appear interested, and wonder what is taking the coffee shop so damn long to make a strawberry and banana smoothie.

Finally, she pauses, at which point I understand that I am supposed to provide feedback. I said the first thing that came to my mind. I couldn't help myself.

F: "But neither of your kids are with you?"
The woman looked at me for several moments and then said, "No, they are home with the nanny."

The conversation had finally come to an end.

Day Before Yesterday:
Although I am a die-hard planner, I have difficulty figuring out what my family is going to eat for dinner in advance. I am not sure what I am going to feel like cooking or what might inspire me on TV, on-line, or in my cookbooks. This inevitably means that my kids and I hit the grocery store several times a week. I don't mind it, L can't voice her resistance yet, but G has developed a strong aversion to the grocery store. This is complicated by the fact that he rarely wants to ride in the grocery cart anymore. Most of the time, he prefers to walk, which ultimately results in my finding items in the grocery cart that I didn't add. (I swear, if there is a "Cars" product within 50 paces, G can find it. This week, he found Cars pasta. Who knew?)

I digress.

Due to my frequent shopping trips, I have developed a strong aversion to people talking on their cell phones while shopping. This is a very specific pet peeve. I don't mind those who have their conversation after pulling their cart out of everyone's way. However, those who are on the phone and stop moving, placing themselves directly in the line of traffic, ugh. What are you thinking? Don't you see how disruptive this is to the act of grocery shopping?

This happened again the day before yesterday. As I approached the milk display, I noticed that a woman had positioned her grocery cart directly in front of it, blocking everyone's access. In addition, she was draped over her cart, further complicating matters. I waited a few seconds, caught her eye, and then motioned politely to the milk. She ignored me. I chose another tactic. I walked over to the yogurt section, picked up something, and returned to my cart. No change. I caught her eye again. She looked at me and then turned away.

I did not mince words, "C'mon, are you serious?"
I don't think she expected me to say anything. However, I startled her enough to stop talking and move out of the way.

As I walked away, I heard her resume her conversation, "I'm at the grocery store. I should probably call you back later."

I smiled. Am I mean? Somedays, but it can't be helped.

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wendy said...

i can totally see you waiting to get the smoothie, giving that lady major stink eye.
phap nanny.
don't even get me started about the mobile phones.

Anonymous said...

ugh. i cannot stand clueless shoppers; especially those on the phone.