Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Unintentional Beating Of A Red State Child

The incident took place this morning, at a SuperTarget somewhere in the middle of Iowa.

Upon entering the store, Eddie got a cart and we started to meander through the aisles looking for the items on my list. We began walking down the main grocery aisle, chatting about this and that, when I noticed a woman rounding the corner at the end of the next row. Not far behind her were two kids, obviously belonging to her, hauling ass as they chased each other around the bend.

Before my brain told my body to move out of the way, the first one came barreling towards me, head down like a battering ram, clearly not paying attention to where he was going, and BAM! smacked head first into the front of my cart. HARD.

Now I'm not a small person, so him hitting my cart with me standing behind it, preventing it from moving even an inch, was akin to him hitting a solid brick wall. With his head. HARD. And since his head was about the same height as the cart, he caught it right on the edge, where the hard plastic covers the metal framework. I thought for sure he was going to leave a chunk of forehead in my shopping cart; not exactly what I went to Target for.

This kid hit the floor exactly the way they do in cartoons; staggering backwards in a woozy daze, disoriented and confused, reeling from the impact of having just run head-on into a wall, only in this case, it was my Target shopping cart that beat the hell out of him. It all happened so quickly, yet seemingly in slow motion. It took a minute for him to realize what happened before he started to cry and rub his forehead, which was about the same time his mother reached his side.

Being a person without children, I am usually always annoyed when I am inconvenienced by other people's children (and animals, and people who still write checks, and certain slow individuals), so my first thought was, serves you right; that's what you get for running through a grocery store and not paying attention. But, since I can't actually say that, I had to feign interest by asking the mother if he was okay.

Ed stood there looking at me, mumbling something about the kids going fast or not paying attention and I was thinking, OK, so how long do I freaking have to stand here before I finish my shopping?? Can I walk away now? Am I supposed to crouch down and soothe the little rug rat? Do I have to look around for an ice pack? What??

Ed looked to me for guidance on our next move and I just shrugged my shoulders to indicate there wasn't really anything we could do, while at the same time steering my cart around the kid wreckage to continue with my shopping. I mumbled something lame like "I'm sorry" or "Hope he's okay" and scooted away to head down the next aisle.

Clearly, consoling stranger's kids is not my thing. I realized later on when I thought about it, that I really didn't give a crap; that I don't have one bone in my body which reacted in what could be construed as a "maternal" manner. Obviously, if the kid was bleeding or something, I might have offered a tissue and a kind word, but I also would be thinking that they shouldn't be running down the aisles of a public facility if they don't want to get hurt. Hard way to learn a lesson, I guess.

Now if my friend Vicki were there with me, I would have come out, by sheer association, looking like Mother Theresa. She would have been all over that kid, cooing and ooohing and consoling and hugging and patting and probably even lifting him to her cart to carry him in stretcher like fashion to the front of the store to have a little calming session. And since I was by her side, I would have looked equally as concerned, even though inside I would have been thinking, OK, that's enough. He has a mother. Let's go. You're not a nurse. Put the kid down, we have shopping to do.

But me alone? I just couldn't wait to get away from the scene of the accident and disappear down another aisle away from this woman and her rowdy children; and if Ed weren't with me, I would have been able to make an even quicker escape.

Later in the truck, almost as if he just had an epiphany, Ed said, "So I guess you don't want kids, huh?"

Is it that obvious?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Y'all are too much! I would have felt pretty much the same way you did. I never could tolerate other people's kids either. Now, mine on the other hand......
ed's mom