Tonight Mike, Nathan and I were eating at a Mexican restaurant. It was a loud, boisterous dive filled with college students and their final exam discussions. Nathan was growing weary and had begun reacting to my requests not to run down the hallway by completely collapsing on the ground. An older woman, with poorly-streaked blonde hair, who was eating alone at a nearby table stood up and surveyed my son, grimaced at me and said, “THAT FLOOR IS VERY DIRTY!”
I was taken aback by how forcefully she declared this over the collegiate boon and the mariachi music pumping through the speakers. I said okay and shrugged and she walked off toward the bathroom. Nathan began pushing his stroller back and forth in front of our table as we gathered our things to leave. The woman marched toward me and said, “One time I was chased by a child.” Then she raised her finger at me, “SO KEEP YOUR CHILD AWAY FROM ME!”
And in the movie version of this scene, this is when my THX surround sound inner-monologue would boom: OH. NO. SHE. DIDN’T.
Hot angry vengeful adrenaline flooded my veins, presenting several Choose-Your-Adventure options, like if you want to drop kick this woman, please go to page 65. And on page 65, I’d end up in jail and wouldn’t be able to hear Nathan say for the first time, “Mommy, you are a magnificent feminine wonder!” So instead, I retorted a sharp, biting, “Sure! And thanks for letting know this floor’s dirty! I wouldn’t have known that without your help! THANKS!”
Her face tightened and she silently returned to her table, her
hump back facing us.
Sure, I could have just shut up, turned the other cheek and went on with my life. But then I would have held on to that angry rush watching that woman berate me and I would have played this moment out, mostly to Mike and every number on my cell phone, replaying what she said and filling in what I should have said and should have done. I stood up for myself without using the “You better check yo’ self before you wreck yo’ self!” card. Because I’ve filled my quota for this month. I wonder if she had gone to the bathroom and peed out whatever common decency that prevents people from childing a family on their way out of a restaurant for what their child has NOT DONE.
But I have to think about her side, too. I suppose it was probably difficult for this woman to watch a frightening child flail on the ground and then veer toward her, almost touching her from ten feet away! She could have almost been poked by Stretch Armstoddler!
Have you met my son? The almost two-year-old who strikes fear into the hearts of Mexican restaurant patrons? ¡Que horrible!
And FYI: This blog is very dirty! One time, a blog chased me around so keep your blog away from me!