This must just be my week to encounter the asshats of the world.
The location: Target, Brooklyn
The Aisle: Bath Accessories
The asshattery: I narrowly avoid a half a half-eaten hot dog, some tin foil and several mustard-stained napkins on the floor. Just in front of me, two girls maybe 5 and 7 glancing back at the offending detrius and giggling. Their mother, oblivious, pushes a shopping cart ahead of them.
“Excuse me, did you drop this?” I ask. (Nicely. Nicely! I promise.)
The girls freeze.
“Did you drop this?”
“No,” the older one says not entirely convincingly. She then points toward her sister. “SHE did.”
“Well don’t you think maybe you should pick it up?”
They run to catch up with their mom who glares at me with such venom, you’d have thought I was asking them to pick up my own garbage.
“Just leave it there, girls, ” she hisses without taking her eyes off of me. Her eyes linger on me for a moment longer before she turns and continues down the aisle.
“EXCUSE ME,” I call out, in prime scene-making mode. I scurry to catch up with her. “Your girls DROPPED GARBAGE ALL OVER THE FLOOR. Don’t you think maybe you should encourage them to clean up after themselves?”
She ignores me, making a beeline towards the elevator.
I give up.
I’m shaking now, more angry than frustrated. Not at the bad manners of the planet’s denizens, because yeah, there’s a ton of that. But because here are two little girls who are going to grow up with no conscience, no manners, no respect for themselves or others, and wonder why the world just isn’t bestowing upon them all the riches and joy that are, of course, owed to them.
In my mind, I run up to the woman and tell her all this. In my mind, I snatch up that disgusting half-eaten hot dog, fling it into her cart and shout something exceedingly clever and impactful that I just can’t think of right here.
In my mind, a crowd of nearby shoppers then breaks into spontaneous applause, mothers sing my praises to their children, a manager shakes my hand and offers me a free $500 gift card towards my next Target purchase. Then George Clooney appears and whisks me away to Lake Como.
(Oh, my mind is a very wonderful place. Come visit sometime, won’t you?)
You know, here we are, we parent bloggers, all so painfully introspective. We discuss every nuance of parenting, wondering whether we praise our kids too much or breastfed too little. We debate the media children are exposed to, we bemoan the amount of time we give to our babies when there’s work to be done, we feel guilty for wanting a little of ourselves back. Meanwhile, there’s an entire subset of parents out there who haven’t even bothered to teach their kids page one of Rules We Live By In This World So that We Don’t Suck.
I think I’m getting my period.