Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Surrounded

"That's crap Mommy."

Late yesterday afternoon I took my daughter to her dance class. Let me correct that - it's called "Tumbling" class. Now, some of you have seen my daughter dance. It's the physical equivalent of automatic writing mixed with being attacked by invisible wasps whilst suffering an epileptic seizure. Unchanneled it's as volatile as the proton guns used in Ghostbusters. One can only imagine the mayhem that would be caused if she "crossed streams" with someone of a similar ilk (good Lord that promotes a diabolically awful image). The class though should really be called Doing Simple Movements For People With Absolutely No Body Control. It's mostly full of kids of similar (although possibly younger - I couldn't really tell) age learning how to a cartwheel without destroying their surroundings or accidentally summoning demons through their clearly impious convulsions. She clearly is having a great time so that was nice.

I did learn a few things though. Firstly is that there is usually a reason why - at a clearly busy dance studio right before class starts - that the seemingly-awesome parking spots right near the door are completely vacant. They weren't disabled spots. No - they were empty because most people are SELFISH TWATS. I absolutely loathe that sort of exceptionlist attitude that some people have that makes them think that even though there are rules or guidelines in place that they just don't apply to them. Balls to social order or whatever - they're just too damn important for all that. Because after the class finished another began five minutes later. And we came out into the parking lot, climbed into the minivan and then couldn't get out of the parking spot because car after car pulled right up to the door of the dance studio and stood idle either waiting for people inside to come out, or to unload people. This happens at my daughter's school too. Parents park-up right near the door in droves - car still running to apparently make it okay and pretend that they aren't parked even though they're there for ten minutes - blocking anyone from getting out of the parking lot if they actually parked correctly. So I tried pulling out and was unable to because the people behind me flat out refused to move. This is the equivalent of smoking in a non-smoking place and then getting arsey when people ask you not to smoke.


 Even without the parking spots adjacent to this the ongoing line of selfish twunts still blocked all the traffic from funneling out properly. And yet very clearly someone would roll right up to the door of the building and just stop in the lane to wait four or five minutes for people to come out. It is a purely dickish move. They could park in one of the umpteen open spots behind the building. But when you are that important why should you? And even though they were very obviously aware that I and a few other people couldn't pull out the idea of their privileged, extra-special family members walking fifteen feet to a parked vehicle just doesn't bear thinking about. And any time someone tried to get out - honking their horn to point out that only a selfish knob would stop their car there - the response was either deliberately ignoring everyone or getting so pissy in an attempt to suggest that people who are blocked in are really the unreasonable ones. Especially considering how fucking important they and their ugly kids are in comparison. I assume in situations like this that this is how the US military works. There is no overarching ideological premise for nation building or ignoring sovereign status of middle-eastern nations on the basis of protecting US interests writ large. It's not a warped sense of Manifest Destiny that tells some people that yeah - God set aside North America for the Best People Ever - but he's also totally fine with these same people shitting all over the globe as well. No - it's more a case of wankers just parking up in some other country and getting pissy when the people already there tell them to get out of the way. They could follow the rules, but they're special and just more important than you are.

Anyhoo - the second thing I learned is that some people have annoying kids that I could not possibly tolerate. I am often told in that knowing way that being around your own children is bloody horrible. In some instances this is perfectly fine - we all need a break. And to be fair some people just operate better in their family unit with less time one-on-one with other members of their family. That's perfectly fine too. I for one need to get out of the house and away from my whole family for a minimum of an hour every two days. It's the main reason I go running. It's not because I don't like them (that's just coincidental...) but more that I don't like me after that length of time never being by myself. I get snippy, irritable and inadvertently start making mental lists of where I could hide a body without the authorities finding out. But I do know some people who seemingly hate any time with their own kids. They'll go to enormous lengths to not do so. I spend almost my entire day - spare an hour or two - with at least one of mine. It's not that bad once you just accept that you (selfish, independent, do-whatever-comes-to-mind You) don't exist anymore. 

But that's where I'd been ignorant you see. Because my kids are nice. Some people's kids are monstrous little bastards. The finger of blame for this is very much pointed at the parent of said arseholish child. Take yesterday. As a mob of parents were stood trying to see through the viewing window in the dance studio one mother was repeatedly fighting with her vile five year old (I'm guessing) son. She was half-watching her other dancing child and half-chatting with a friend. Her son though had initially been fobbed off with a smart phone. I wouldn't give my daughter my phone and it's bang up to date as modern as it gets circa 2001. It's as dumb as a dumb-phone gets. She probably wouldn't break it - but I still wouldn't give it to her to goof aroun with for 30 minutes. But this kid was scrolling through his mother's iPhone in search of games and videos - loudly moaning to his mother that he wanted to play a monster truck game. The kid whined in that key of whine that has the same effect on me as the drug given to US soldier's in the movie Jacob's Ladder to make them incomprehensibly violent, murderous and completely devoid of mercy. This kid wanted to watch a video that his mother didn't have. Despite being told this he continued to ask for it. I assume this was some sort of attempt to manifest his dreams that wasn't paying off. After a few more minutes the phone loudly told the room that it was running out of battery power. The news of which led the kid to rebuke his mother in incomprehensible moaning that translated essentially to calling her stupid. Then he just started repeating, "that's crap Mommy" and angrily sulking. He didn't let up either.

Now I know as a parent that you have to let some things go. Before I had kids I would sometimes see this happening in public and wonder why a parent didn't stamp out any and all bad behavior with an iron fist. Zero tolerance and all that. But once you have some you do realize it's not worth fighting some things. And saying No to everything has implications of it's own. So you have to be flexible and tolerate some things that you may not want to. You can always pull your kid aside later on to talk about attitude or behavior when they don't feel barraged by constant behavioral correction. But saying, "that's crap Mommy" with that level of conviction and comfort clearly exposed that this wasn't one of those things. And even though the Mom tried to ignore her snotty kid she did eventually tell him to shut up. And I mean she finally turned to him and told him to shut up. Which he did for a good twenty seconds. Then he went back to whining about not having monster truck games. Which eventually won him food from his Mom to shut him up.

Actually these past few days have been marked by rude, arseholishness like this. At the grocery store (not my usual store) I found myself being rebuked by someone who took it upon themselves to lecture me about using a plastic carrier bag. First off this is the United States. The very idea of a Bag For Life is considered to be a communist plot. I don't know of any grocery store chain that has even so much as pretended to give two shits about the environment or waste in the way that Tesco pretends to. Not one. And here in central NY being known for "watching the environment" would more likely be a euphemism for someone caught fondling horses than being environmentally conscious.

Secondly - I dislike some stores for ethical reasons around how chicken, beef and pork are farmed on a massive scale. Of course my principles are often overrun by practicality and simple greed. I'm not one of these people who has the luxury of choice when I need dry goods and whatnot so I will find myself at Walmart justifying my visit by saying I will make a stand and not buy any beef there - which I wouldn't have done anyway. But honestly I'm happy to buy most things at a grocery store without feeling I'm betraying moral principles. Yet the other day when I got to the cashier (after picking up some sugar and a cauliflower) I was asked if I want a bag and breezily replied that I would. And yet when offered their version of a bag for life deal and rejecting it I suddenly got the stinkeye from the woman behind the counter. Then she felt compelled to do the "just to let you know" speech before rambling at a middle-school level about how "people making little choices like that are the sorts of things that are helping kill the planet."

Pardon me for being stereotypically judgmental but it's a little much to be lectured on how the world works by a bleach-blonde late-twenty something grocery store cashier wearing a black Nike polo shirt, a paid-for tan and with their iPhone clearly visible in the breast pocket. Add I'm not prepared to go down the same guilt-you-into-giving-us-more-money shit again like the big supermarkets did in the UK. I'm confident in stating that was entirely without sincerity based purely on the fact you couldn't buy anything at Tesco that hadn't been needlessly hermetically sealed in layers of plastic so that it resembled something mummified in bondage gear. Color me skeptical when a store tries to convince you that by putting your Coca Cola and Nestle products in a plastic carrier bag that you are the primary offender here. Which is all the more reason I'm not about to have my moral standing prodded by some bint in a grocery store that has even less commitment to a cause and has no intention whatsoever in phasing out its plastic carrier bags. So with that in mind I wasn't prepared to accept being given a lecture or a dirty look by someone literally cradling a plastic telephone made by woefully paid Chinese children to their breast as if I've just exposed that I hate the environment so much that I just raped a penguin.And I would never rape a penguin.

Not even out of spite.


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