This morning we left the house, all four of us, and headed to the Farmer’s Market in town. J, who loves all things that might involve shopping, was initially daunted by the small crowd that had gathered in a parking lot, but as soon as he heard (and then saw) the banjo player, he relaxed and realized where we were and what we were doing. We only encountered two or three small dogs, but since there were always two of us flanking J, he soon relaxed completely. It helped, I guess, that TGG mentioned “dude, you can totally crush those dogs…not that you SHOULD, but just sayin’!”
We stopped at the library, walked around the garden center and then we came home after stopping for a moment at the mall and the book store. The four of us, quite impromptu and without any particular aim in mind aside from the Farmer’s Market thing, out and about on a Saturday morning like we used to do when the children were younger…
At home we’ve been sitting on the patio. The weather has been fine and it seems a waste to not enjoy it fully. The garden (well, as much as we can call all these containers a garden) is doing beautifully. Our nasturtiums seem to be poised to take over the entire operation and we noticed that our squashes are definitely ready to make some significant developments. All in all, there is not a trace of winter left, and J seems happy to have switched to the sandals and shorts, but we’re still waiting to get him to the pool on a hot afternoon. Timing is everything, and with all the people that have been flowing in the direction of the pool with their towels and baby carriages, we are wondering if this would be a better idea later in the day, when people start heading home but the sun is still out for a while longer.
Many units around us are empty, and we will soon be getting new neighbors. This means an entire new set of individuals and families will be seeing J for the first time, and another period of adjustment will begin. If yesterday’s trip to the store is any indication, I’m getting too old for some of this crap…
We were getting ready to arrive at the registers when a family of four walked parallel to us. This, of course, is not the problem…the problem isn’t even that their 10 year-old was staring at J with unabashed curiosity. I didn’t feel bothered by it until the father nudged the poor boy rather violently and then made a big show of contorting his face into all sorts of odd shapes to indicate he shouldn’t stare. If the boy was mildly noticeable before then, the violent jolt he got from his father’s nudge made us prick up our ears. The mobility of the man’s face made matters worse. Rather than using the moment to teach his son discretion and manners, he ran with the opportunity to make a spectacle of himself, his child and, well, US.
I am getting old, as I said. I was ready to say something along the lines of “well, if I hadn’t noticed BEFORE I am certainly noticing NOW!” I controlled the urge…I don’t know why. Maybe because J was so happy that I didn’t want to ruin the afternoon for him. Of course, this didn’t stop me from parking my not inconsiderably-sized ass behind this family to pay for our purchases. When a new register was opened, I made a point of letting them -who had arrived at the registers before we had- go first. The man (the large oaf, and I’m neither speaking in anger or exaggerating…he was bigger than J) markedly ignored us, but his wife (who could not have failed to notice that I’d noticed her husband’s gesture) was virtually keeling over to thank us. I kept a poker face. And then my husband arrived and noticed, because he couldn’t NOT notice, how my birthmark was virtually flashing. The birthmark does that…it flashes when I’m angry…it was flashing alright.
That I was staring ahead at the back of the man’s head was indication enough of where the problem had started. When the conveyor belt started showing enough space for the few items we were buying, J asked to help and I said (rather more loudly than I should have) “sure, J! Any opportunity I have to teach you something is not an opportunity to be missed!” Halfway through unloading our cart, the register next to ours opened and the cashier offered to ring up our purchases; my momentary nemesis finally made eye contact, and I said “no, thank you. We’re fine. But, please, -I pointed to the people behind us- do go ahead.”
I know my anger seems irrational. I should be used to it by now, but I still cannot fathom why people think that it’s OK to engage in the behavior that makes them scold their children. Really. Can’t you simply say “son, we shouldn’t stare at ANYONE. It’s rude?” No…nudge the kid, throw him off his track and then start emoting like Marcel Marceau…nice!
Just as I start to relax into “this is our spot and we’re fitting in nicely,” something like this makes the hackles rise and I’m once more en garde.
Sigh…and manners are so easy to teach. They really are! Why…any kid out there can learn them!!! Apparently, some grown-ups can’t…go figure!