Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Leesa the Busybody

Friday, I wrote about women changing babies on public tables. Kathi wondered why I did not say anything to the woman. Well, there were three women within one week, so I had three opportunities to say something, and, er, I did not say anything. Not at thing. Okay women, keep changing your babies on these tables; I won't say crap about the crap that your children are depositing.

The reason is simple: I said something once, several months ago, and the experience was anything but pleasant. I was not hoping for a response like this: "Oh, dear, thank you for pointing out the error of my ways. I had no idea feces was undesirable on eating surfaces. Not only will I take your advice, but I will sign up for a parenting class at the local college. Thanks, thanks, thanks." Okay, said without sarcasm. No, the interaction was not that pleasant. I can't remember what was actually said, but it included references about me, where she would like my nose, and a lot of dirty words. I left the encounter feeling violated. I learned my lesson: don't say anything to mothers concerning anything regarding their children, even if it is about changing them on tables meant for eating.

I had not learned my lesson as a busybody though. Not totally.

A few weeks ago, I was coming out of Wal-Mart. I so want the store to be something other than Wal-Mart, but it is already out there. Yes, I shop at the store that is destroying millions of "Mom and Pop" stores around the country, in little towns everywhere. But I shop there.

Anyway. Here I am, discretely leaving Wal-Mart, and I see a man with a baby in his lap, front-and-center of a pick-up truck. Wife is in the passenger seat, and I am thinking to myself, "No way are these two going to leave the parking lot with a little baby in the driver's lap. How irresponsible." For those of you who can't tell, I have a judgment side to me. Yes, I judge. I also think that child molestation and child pornography are wrong – and I know, a lot of you don't judge because you don't want to be judged. But I do judge, and I don't mind if I am judged. The woman who nearly made me cry in the situation above judged me, and I was not too keen on the judgment, but that's life.

So trying to be helpful and caring, I approach the truck.

"Pardon me," I say, probably softer than I intended.

I wrap lightly on the driver's side window to get noticed.

"Pardon me," I repeat, and make eye contact with the father.

"I couldn't help but notice that you have your cute baby in your lap. I hope you don't intend on driving, even a short distance, with her in your lap. You see, a friend of mine lost her child in a similar way, and I just could not bear to pass you and not say anything."

The man did not look angry at all, as he said, "No, ma'am, we are just quieting her. My wife intends on feeding her before we leave."

With that, I thanked them and went to my car.

As I was pulling out of the space, I looked at them in my rear-view mirror, and saw them exiting right after me. He lied to me, and that beautiful baby was not in the car seat that I saw in their car. I just don't understand people, to have such a gift and not protect her.

I guess I judge and I am a busybody. Guess that makes me a bitch. But a bitch who cares about that little child; a bitch that doesn't really want to eat on a poop-y table or have others do so either.


Shon Richards said...

It's hard to call someone judgemental when they were trying to avoid having baby splatter on a windshield. I'm just amazed that they didn't do anything after being caught like that.

Leesa said...

shon: I understand, but it is a judgment. I value life and judge those who don't harshly. Judgment call.

Party Girl said...

Here's to being a bitch! *raises glass in a toast*

The thing is, you're right. If you say something you risk the chance of being torn to shreds when you are in fact the innocent party. If you don't say something you then beat yourself up about it days afterwards.
This is a classic case of, can't win for loseing.

Anonymous said...

Stoopid people!

I can't tell you how many times I saw people leaving the parking lot of the store I was working at with their kids just bouncing around the back seat. I never did anything about it and of course, kicked myself for days because of it.


Edtime Stories said...

I think that judging is not wrong. I think that we all judge people all the time. We decide whether that is someone we want in our lives or not, or even sit next to on the train.

I believe what that man in the pick-up did is child abuse and I am sure is a crime. It certainly is something worth pointing out and if he wants to be an asshole then let him but don't feel bad.
the mall should deal with the changing on the table situation. But again we live in a world of arrogant me-centered people.
Maybe we should have random bands of people who tatoo stupid people when they do something so stupid.

kathi said...

Bitch, bitch, bitch...sign me up darlin.

3carnations said...

Driving with a baby in your lap is illegal. I would have gotten the license plate and called the police. That's not being a busy body - It's being responsible when the person who should be isn't.

While I certainly emphathize with the women changing diapers in unusual places, because sometimes there is no other choice, I believe food courts are located in malls which generally have family bathrooms with a changing table. I empathize with her frustration in a stranger telling her what she should and should not do when changing her child's diaper. What I do not empathize with is a woman who would berate someone in front of her child. That woman should not have been swearing and criticizing you in front of her child. She should have been setting a better example for her child in how to treat people. Sorry you went through that.

Mike said...

It's a wonder that there are so many dumb people out there raising children.

Rob said...

Yeah, you're a bitch, Leesa -- but you're OUR bitch and we love you for it! ;-)

(I hope you KNOW I don't think you're a bitch -- but sometimes people take me seriously when I don't intend for them to do so.)

ANYWAY, I think we all have a responsibility to speak up, when practical, if we observe something that is illegal or just so "wrong" it's an affront to civilized society. Of course, I don't advocate stepping in between two knife-weilding thugs trying to eviscerate each other -- but a 911 call on the cell phone and staying to provide an eye-witness account to the police certainly seems appropriate. You're right about people not liking it very much when you point out their rude, crude, vulgar, mean, or irresponsible behavior (like the woman changing her baby on the eating surface of a table in a public restaurant), but that doesn't mean you have to ignore it. If you sense that they will go into the attack mode if you say something to them directly, then it's worth the effort to find a restaurant manager or mall security person to report the incident and have THEM do their job and speak to the person.

So, I guess I'm a "busybody" myself -- and the male equivalent of a "bitch" (although I'm not sure what THAT is)! Oh well, you're cool, Leesa. Don't change a thing!

speckledpup said...

it's quite possible that we were seperated at birth

(music starts) someday there'll be a place for us....

from one judgemental, opionated bitch to another.... it's good..

it's all good.

The Pup

jackt said...

Was it Britney and Kevin?

That's too bad that they were so neglectful. People like that shouldn't be parents.

Leesa said...

PG: thanks for the toast and the words.

jenny: I just can't believe people.

ed: I remember being unsafe as a child, but there were different laws and different standards; thanks for the kind words.

kathi: so signed up.

3carnations: I never thought of getting the license plate number.

mike: I think because the threshhold for being parents is so low.

rob: not sure what the male equivolent would be. Son-of-a-bitch? Just doesn't have the same ring to it.

pup: separated how? Siamese twins through a 23-hour operation? Cool, together at last.

jackt: sadly, I cannot identify them.

Mark said...

Face it Leesa... The world is chock full of stupid people. They breed MORE stupid people. I don't care what state or country one lives in, but nobody has a monopoly on stupid people. The sad part is, they don't even realize they are stupid. So, we tell them to (a)put their dog on a leash (b) use a seatbelt (c) don't leave loaded guns under the bed (d) not to change diapers on a table, (e) not to vote for Bush, etc... They look at you like you have (a) two heads (b) just said the most insane thing they have ever heard, (c) spoken chinese.

There's nothing wrong with trying to do the right thing. But sometimes, I feel like saying, "sorry, I guess I don't speak dumb fuck" when I get that look.

Johnnie Avocado said...

First off, Mark, voting for Bush doesn't make one stupid, and if it does, than 2 national elections have made you the minority, so stop whining and follower your elected leader, btw, our borders are open to leave. You want to correct other people's stupidity, but insult the majority who don't share your opinion. Hmmmm? ((Sorry Leesa just my response to a cheap shot))

Leesa, yeah...I have a young one myself, and had been in dire straights and changed my son in public, but I use the seat of the bench and not the table top, and I have a blanket and mat that I lay down. But this society has lost it's concern for the politeness of others.

Karl said...

ARGH! That kinda crap pisses me off. How do such stupid people figure out how to reproduce?

Video X said...

yes unfortunately idiots will probably always be idiots no matter how much you try to bestow some common sense on them.

at LEAST (and it probably isn't much) but what if they left and had an accident immediately after that...and you had to witness something happening to that baby...i'm not saying you would break down and sob for days or anything...but at least this way you did point out the problem (in a pretty tactful way). that's awesome. i don't say anything to anyone because i don't think i could do it as well as you do.

i don't think that's judgemental at all...as far as poop and food goes...that's just plain ol hygiene, baby's out of car seats behind the wheel...that's called freaking common sense and maybe possibly giving the kid a chance at not being killed in an accident...i could go on..but nope...just because you have common sense, morals, and feel some sort of social responsibility...does not make anyone judgemental...and if i'm wrong and it is judgement...then judge on!

Mark said...

Johnny... umm, 51% of the voting public hardly constitutes an overwhelming majority. If anyone should be whining it's the people that elected the pretender in chief.

Sheen V said...

I helped my neighboor install all three of their child safety seats the other day in their new van. They are the type of people that feel that as long as the safety belt goes through the holes, the seat is OK. They aren't. I really had to convince them that they need to do it right, even for a short trip.

Rob said...

Hmmmmm... "Son-of-a-bitch"? No, that really doesn't capture the essence of who I am, Leesa -- it gives all the credit to my mom! Maybe I'm more of a "pious prick"! Yeah, that's the ticket...

Now, if I were as smart as Mark, I could just be a liberal and that would give me the right to be condescending to millions of people who disagreed with me. Oh well...

Pyrhonik said...

Judging is a human trait. Putting voice or action to your judgment is where the line gets crossed. It takes a lot to be a pro-active person and do what you did. Good on ya!

SJ said...

AFTER you old them they still drove with the baby on the front seat? I mean I can imagine someone doing it without thinking but once they have been told? I think it's great that you told them and did your part.

Monica said...

As a mom I can tell you that nothing raises the hackles like someone (even my mom or husband)suggesting that perhaps my parenting skills could be improved in any way.
But then again, I would never do anything worthy of reproach. (ha)

Parents don't want to do anything they want to do- obviously. And as the parent they think that they are the final authority on what happens to their kids...and for thier kid's sake, I pray God does not choose to remind them who IS in charge.
some people suck.

Heather said...

I think it took alot of guts to walk over to that couple. Not me.. If I see someone, say driving down the road, with their kids unsecured..I call the police. You never know what people will do nowdays.. I rather the cops handle it. Maybe if they got a few tickets, they'd figure it out. It's a shame that having to shell out money would be the reason to protect your children. I always wear my seatbelt and so do my children. Does calling the police make me a bitch?

Johnnie Avocado said...

I love this country. Mark, how did the word "Over-whelming" get inserted there? Is there a new Constitution which says, the President must win by an over-whelming majority? ...and if only simple majority, one has the right for sour grapes?
Bush isn't a genius (nor was his competition) but he is still our President, sorry Pretender-in-Chief!!

Leesa said...

mark: sometimes our values are different than other people's values. Take motorcycles and helmets. Some people would weigh the thrill of the wind in their hair and say, it is worth the chance of being a veggie for this one thrill. And then there are taxpayers thinking, "I don't really want to pay for the hospitalization."

johnnie: actually, for the 2000 election, those voting for Bush were in the minority. But it is the electorial college that elects a president. I don't think the process is necessarily a good one - it gives voters in Rhode Island other states more of a voice on the nomonee. Works against both Reps and Dems.

karl: I think stupid people randomly bump into other stupid people. Occasionally this leads to pregnancy.

VX: thanks, but it does make me judgmental. Not a bad thing though. Maybe.

mark: I think the election was choosing between tweedle dee and tweedle dum.

sheen: I have heard that a majority of these seats are installed incorrectly. Shocking.

rob: I think many of us are condescending without us knowing it. I am sure I seemed condescending to that couple with the baby.

pyr: I agree.

sj: thanks but it doesn't do anything to pretect the baby.

monica: parents are the final authority. Not debating that. Until the state takes the kids away (not for seatbelts and such, but for child abuse, etc).

heather: guts or stupidity.

johnnie: Bush actually got fewer popular votes than Gore in 2000. And a slight majority in 2004 (almost won the popular vote and lost the election).

Johnnie Avocado said...
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Johnnie Avocado said...
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Georgiapeach said...

This was a good post Leesa.