Yesterday, I dropped my kids off with my mother and wandered down to a coffee shop. It’s rare that I get some time alone out of my house and I always love it. I’m not one of those people who expects silence in public. Having lived in New York City for over a decade, I’m not even one of those people who expects to never be bothered. I understand that when I go out in public – there are other people there that I will have to deal with. But for a mother stealing a few moments away from her kids, there is nothing worse than encountering “Oblivious Mom” in a public place. Oblivious Mom is the worst. I hate her so much. This is really saying something because I’m used to seeing things like this on my commute:
Back to Oblivious Mom. We happened to decide to go to the coffee shop at the same time yesterday. She had an adorable 2-year-old boy that was actually behind the counter when I walked in. I thought he belonged to the person working there. Nope. Mom just let him wander around – and didn’t seem to mind when he wandered behind the counter. The counter person shot me a look that said, “I have no idea why this kid is back here.” I shot him a look back that said, “Because his mother is clueless.” It was a bonding moment of telepathy.
I sat down and opened my computer. That’s kind of the universal sign for “I’m working,” right? I think so. Two-year-old gets bored behind the counter with the steaming hot milk and knives and such, and saunters over to my table. He just stands there, staring at me. Then he says, “hi!” I say, “hi.” I don’t say it in the way that sends the message to mom that I think her offspring is the cutest thing ever. I say it in a short, annoyed way that says, “Come get your kid, lady.” She doesn’t understand the subtle nuances of passive aggressive communication. Again, toddler says, “hi!” He’s staring right at me. I’m beginning to see where this little game is going. As long as I respond, he’s never going to stop saying hi.
Mom is busy texting, but she looks up long enough to say, “Honey, I think the lady is working.” As if this two-year-old understands what the hell that means. Again he says, “hi!” Mom is actually giving me one of those, “Isn’t he the cutest?” Looks. Gah.
Here’s the thing: yes, he is cute. But he’s not as cute as the two little beings I actually had sliced from my womb – whom I love more than anything else on the planet and left at home. If I need to get away from them for a few minutes, you can sure as shit be assured that I don’t want to fill my time up playing the “hi” game with your chatty toddler.
I don’t care if kids are loud; I know they don’t come with volume buttons. But I don’t think asking parents to keep their offspring at their own tables is too much. Seriously. The general public does not think your kid is as cute as you do – and probably doesn’t want to spend their time out entertaining them. Especially those of us that have our own kids to entertain all day.
Oblivious mom continued being oblivious. I took my coffee to go.
(photo: Getty Images)