Similarly, I'm not going to crap myself when a random child is in my presence at a restaurant, on an airplane, or hogging up valuable aisle space with his or her stroller. They have the right to be there just as I do. It's not a big deal. I imagine a lot of people feel the same way.
It seems that this live-and-let-live mentality isn't good enough for some delusional parents. I always wonder if these people were always self-absorbed assholes or if it's a special trait that develops only after watching a placenta slime out of your body (I'll admit it, that would change me too. Probably into a vegetarian). Here's a lovely encounter I witnessed at Winners today that demonstrates parenthood-gone-batshit.
A few aisles away there was a woman looking at something on the shelf. I hadn't particularly noticed her as I was also being sucked into vapid consumerism, specifically, a piece of fitness equipment that I'll surely stop using next week.
Suddenly, I hear someone loudly speaking in baby-talk.
"What a mean, mean wady."
I glance up and there's now a second woman standing in the other aisle. I can see that this second woman has a stroller. For some reason, I notice that this thing has two cup holders, both of which are holding Venti-sized coffees from Starbucks. Grade-A Mom Fuel.
A part of me worries that I'm the mean wady, er, lady, they're talking about, even though I was 100% minding my own business. Let's be clear, I don't automatically presume I'm the focus of anyone's attention. After all, Toronto and its Bluetoothed Bay Streeters and crazy people (who are sometimes interchangeable) have quickly and embarrassingly taught me that even when it's just myself and another person in a room, they're not always talking to or about me. The cringe-worthy specifics of how I learned those lessons are for another day's blog post.
It turns out that the other woman doesn't know the mom either. Or if she's being talked about. She glances around at first too and then turns to the woman with the stroller.
"Pardon?" she says.
"That was really rude," the mom barks. She then looks down to whoever is in the stroller and switches to baby talk. "Wasn't dat tewibwee wude, Emma?"
Oooh! Drama alert! With both confrontation and passive aggression! I pretend to really care about a package in front of me.
"Excuse me? What was rude?" the non-mom says.
Oh, boy. It's a rare thing when a Canadian doesn't just automatically apologize for something, even when he or she has no idea what they've done. This was just like watching TV. American TV!
"Um, it was pretty clear that my daughter was interested in that box you picked up. Did you take that just to be mean to a little girl?" She again turns to her kid and in a child's voice says, "Dat was so mean!"
Ugh. But anyway ...
The daughter is obscured from my vantage point, so I have no idea how old she is. For what it's worth, I didn't hear a child's voice (besides the baby-talking mom) leading up to this. I try to casually position myself a little differently to get a better picture of it all (I know, I'm horrible). I still can't see the kid (the woman is blocking her), but I can now see what item is being fought over. The non-mom is holding a hair straightener. There are at least six others on the shelf. Seriously?
"You're kidding me, right?" the woman says. "First of all, I didn't even notice your daughter ..."
Apparently, that's not the sort of thing one should admit to a drunk-on-child mom. If a sense of indignation was a commodity, we had just hit pay dirt with this woman.
"How could you not notice a precious little girl?" yelped the mother. "She's right beside you!" She turns again to her daughter, "Yes, you are so precious, so, so precious.Only mean people don't notice you."
This conversation has officially gone Def Con Crazy.
The mom snaps back up and glares at the woman, "I can't stand bullies."
Bullies? Bullies? This all seems like a weird misunderstanding, being blown way, way out of proportion.
"Wow. You know what? You're fucking insane. I feel sorry for your daughter," says the woman, who slams down the hair straightener and leaves.
The mom stands there, her jaw dropped. I get tingles of sympathy for her until I finally catch a glimpse of her daughter. I have to hold back the urge to scream, "WHAT?!?!"
The child is probably no more than nine-months old. Hardly an age that is communicative enough that the rest of us should be obviously tuned into her needs and desires. The child's near baldness also makes it rather insane that it's a hair straightener that caused all this commotion - but that's not what was so ridiculous about this all.
The kid was asleep.
Image Source: Dealcetera