Saturday, November 13, 2010

V for Vendetta

I normally write to vent, or to share or just because I'm totally slightly compulsive; however, last week's Adventure at the Grocery flipped me out so much that I had to digest it while simultaneously not letting it make me crazy. Harder than it sounds, Monkeys, MUCH harder. Especially for a dweller. I dwell. I dwell and ruminate like I get paid for it. (Which shockingly I don't.)

Here is what happened, with a wee bit of the old colorful commentary:

I was in the meat section, checking out chicken, and the Children of the Corn had just rejoined me after scampering down the coffee/cracker aisle. I told Casanova not to touch the Milstone Coffee Dispenser.

A large, older man pushed his cart close to mine and leaned near me (within the Mandatory Space Bubble I should clarify) and said: "The children really shouldn't run in the store. And, they shouldn't run at all, ESPECIALLY around ME."

The slightly confused smile on my lips died right then and there, as the condescending tone and emphasis on the "around ME" registered somewhere within my Maternal Soul-Eating brain hemisphere. So I turned to him and replied:

"Thanks for the unsolicited opinion on my children."

And he said "Well they disturbed my peace."

I snorted and said "Then maybe you shouldn't go out in public."

He said "Well maybe you should parent them better." OH. HELL YES HE DID. And then my Maternal Soul-Eating Brain replied in my head "OH HELL NO HE DID NOT!" (I should mention a very large and semi-Martin Lawrence-in-drag woman lives inside my head and pipes up from time to time.)

So that's when I squared off and was all "EXCUSE ME?! *I* should parent MY kids better? THANKS. Again, UNASKED for opinion, and UNCARED about."

Apparently my repsonse was unexpected because he turned and went down the cereal aisle. By then I was shaking. I was THAT ANGRY and frankly, stunned. In black and white, it may not sound like much. In living color, it was a whole something else.

My kids, for one, had NOT been acting up. They're kids, they don't always watch where they're going, or they want to pull something off the shelf and put it in my cart, but believe me, we've had days when I PERSONALLY would have paid a platoon of Marines to deal with them. This was a pretty good day at El Grocery-o.

And I can't think of enough synonyms to sum this guy up: condescending, pompous, rude, bitter.... none of them really capture the whole enchilada. What I DO know for sure is that he had clearly EXPECTED to come up, put me in whatever he thought was my "place" and then walk off in Douche Guy Triumph.

What he GOT was me. And uh, I'm sure my therapist will attest, I do NOT walk away from confrontation well. Or at all, really. There isn't much discretion being the better part of valor and all that around here.

In fact, after I'd perused the pop tarts and settled on non-sugar coated, I walked right past him and his cart. He stood back and stared at me. I stared back until he looked away. I can play your game, sir, and I don't give a DAMN how old you are or what war you fought in. I win at GROCERY, bitch.

Then I turned and said, "Do you come here often?" to which he completely refused to talk to me. "That's what I THOUGHT." And then I went to find my Coke Zero. See, if he'd answered that he did shop there a lot, I was going to suggest sharing his opinion with The Man.

Normally, I'm all "let's bring this DOWN a notch" and not all "let's take this outside" but Homie crossed two lines with me. He said something vaguely uncomfortably close to menacing about my kids. (ESPECIALLY around ME.) and then he told me I should parent better. You want to pick on a woman shopping alone? Pick on their DADDY and see how THAT works out. Parent better?

No. I should kick you in the BALLS better.

I am a lot of things. Not all of them pretty. I'm a T O T A L narcissist. I'm totally neurotic. I have anxiety. I worry too much about stupid stuff and not enough about important things. I worry about NOT worrying enough. I have devil PMS and try to destroy most of my close relationships once a month through sheer insanity.

But one thing I'm not? A crappy mom. I am a good mom. I manage my kids like every other mom out there - determination, luck and love. And sometimes rum. I quit my job, set myself back YEARS in debt, to be here with them. I drive Princess 10 miles one way to her school just because we think it's the best education. I discipline my kids consistently and fairly. I make sure they show respect to strangers, and use life experiences to teach them.

Do I always get it right? No. Do I deserve to have some overblown asshole with a God complex come up and tell me what to do and how to do it? NO.

How many times have I heard kids throwing fits or screaming or going into the feet-kicking-the-floor head-spinning tantrum? A LOT. When have I ever gone up to a strange mom and armchair quarterbacked her parenting? NEVER.

All I could think was, you'd better thank your ASS that the regulars didn't hear you. The deli women who love Casanova would have eaten him alive. The baggers who chat with us every trip would have suggested where he could go. And I guess that's what matters; the people there who make it a BETTER place to go instead of a worse one. The old guy who made sure to hand me the egg carton he'd grabbed just so I didn't have to reach over. The woman who told me how cute the kids are. THEY are who matters.

And yet.

Payback is a BITCH.

And you know? Sometimes, so am I.

Maybe the next time I see Dr. Phil I won't be constrained by the kids. Or maybe it'll be with The Man. Because he specifically DIDN'T get Verbal-Assassinated just because I didn't want to set a bad example with going all Parental Advisory Explicit on him.

That's MY store. And he can find his peace somewhere else. Because I will disturb the HELL out of it.

As I told the kids, no one is disrespectful to them or to me, and since he would NEVER have told a dad that? Well, he can find out what messing with Mommy means.

(For the record, T.Jo was yelled at once in WalMart for popping her kid on the butt. She told the lady that it sure beat him falling out of the cart because he kept standing up. My BFFIC said that she would have blacked out once she heard someone say "parent your kid better" and have woken up to blood and destruction.)

This is NOT something you do to a mom.

Comments, questions, ever received a lesson from a total idiot stranger?