Tuesday, September 8, 2009

What is with all the public display of agression?

The media has picked up on some stories about people slapping and disciplining children. These stories center on the fact that the aggressors are complete strangers- not their parents. This is happening in public places like Wal-Mart, and in my case the Social Security Office in Worthington. It has taken me a while to settle down enough to even blog about this. What happened to just flipping people off and going about your business like the good old days?

A few days ago I had no choice but to take all four under four with me and Alejandro to the Social Security Administration. In all fairness to my kids this is like a prison sentence- the place is hot and crowded, has barely enough chairs for a handful of people, and the only thing to look at is a framed 8x10 of Barack Obama hanging on the wall. CJ was quick to point out the President and Natalie remarked about the flag in the corner of the waiting area. After that (20 seconds) Eli noticed the drinking fountain, which because a sole area of entertainment for a good, long 3 minutes. Clearly waiting our turn was going to take extreme patience from all of us. The kids were actually behaving nicely- no shouting, no whining, no fighting, just what I lovingly call happy sounds. I am referring to lots of laughing, lots of giggling, lots of fidgeting with playing high five, coloring on papers from my purse, and stacking all the brochures to build towers. It was good, harmless engaging behavior under stressful circumstances. I was really proud of them.

I was praising the kids for their excellent behavior and usage of inside voices, when the crotchety old woman in front of me started covering her ears as if she was in pain. She continued reading the newspaper while huffing, puffing, loudly sighing, and covering her ears. It was obvious to everyone she was annoyed by the "happy sounds" coming from my children. If they had been crying, running around, or were legitimately acting up I would understand her frustration- been there done that. Her obvious body language was speaking volumes. As she kept turning her body around to glare at the kids I wondered what the hell she wanted them to do. This went on for about a long ten minutes and when she turned herself around and snarled her nose at me I said, "Is there a problem?" I could tell everyone in the immediate area was listening to the dialogue, when she screamed, "If you would give them a crack on the butt they might sit there and shut up!"

SERIOUSLY???? REALLY???? OMG, was she about to strike my kids???

Of course the mama bear in me wanted to go all postal on her ass but instead I looked around the room at all the mouths that had dropped open and I saw my kids doing a decent job of keeping themselves busy, so I just nodded as if I heard words coming out of her mouth but did not speak English. I just smiled and nodded a few more times until she turned herself around and buried her face in the paper again. Problem solved by taking the high road and playing dumb- not normally my style, but when in Rome? I wanted to say so many things but my blood was boiling and I knew it was going to get nasty. Fortunately we got called to the teller window a few minutes later and I was able to corral the kids with some brochures about changing your address. As they all used pens and filled out the forms on the floor, I was able to get our Social Security business completed. We left without further incident.

I was riled up all day and wondered what would have happened if the old bag had acted impulsively? How would I have handled it if she got physical? What if I had not taken my medication? There were too many what ifs for my liking.

I had flashbacks all weekend about how I almost took her out- (in my mind) I was pulling her frizzy grey hair out by the fist fulls and slapping her silly. I was beating her with her own cane for crying out loud. I was that hot. She might have been one of those crazy Wal Mart types that just opened a can of whoop ass and got us on the front page of the very newspaper she was reading. The only difference in the two stories would have been that as soon as she came close enough to "crack my kids on the butt" I would have cracked her two front teeth in- but that is just the small print. To hell with the general public disciplining my kids, or offering advice on how to correct their behavior I believe I am doing just fine, thank you so much.

So while kids everywhere are making headlines from the attack of the general public, I believe I nipped another news story in the bud. Barely. What is with all the public display of aggression? Can I get a gold star for not adding fuel to the fire? Lord help me if I have to take the kids to Drivers License Bureau in December.

and Yes, I actually tried to take some pictures in the waiting area but there were signs prohibiting photos so I decided it best not to add fuel to the fire. Don't worry the image of the mean old woman is burned on my brain- I hope I do not see her in the parking lot of Costco or I might just have to run her over and steal her cane as a trophy.

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