Monday, February 6, 2017

Modern Inconveniences

So here's another life-is-hard-outchere-in-these-streets-for-a-new-mother rant...

I desperately needed to decompress from some of the stress I have been experiencing (and unleashing on others), so I decided to take in a few movies this week. I wanted to see one film in particular today because it has a limited release. So last night I took out my movie app, found a theater, selected the appropriate movie time, and generally planned my day to balance appropriate child-centered activities with a little Me-time.

On a typical day, my child is well-behaved. I can take her to most places and expect that she will not cause any major damage to property. That being said, she did not cause any major damage to property despite her unusual rambunctiousness. So I am not here to complain about her; I am here to complain about everyone else.

We started the morning with the aforementioned child-centered activity, which was story time at the local library. On a typical day, she would have expended a great deal of energy before, during and after story time sufficient to allow me to have enjoyed the matinee while she napped. In the event that she was not asleep, my plan B was to provide her with her own popcorn and snacks to keep her occupied until the end of the movie (which was not that long). And I chose the Monday matinee, so what's the worse that could happen???

Well, I saw about 20 minutes of the film before she got antsy, needed to be taken to the bathroom, proceeded to squirm and wiggle, and then she needed be taken to the bathroom again. She also decided to chat and sing and chat and sing, so I never made it back to my seat.

This is where the veteran parents should offer to deconstruct what went wrong for me so that I know how to plan accordingly next time. But I suspect most of them will simply offer me a knowing shrug, pat me on the head, and assure me that I will be able to sit through a movie again one day. The film will air on TV at some point, so I'm cool.

What was not cool, however, was the judgment of the other patrons, beginning with the person who felt the need to shush every time my kid made even the slightest sound from the moment we took our seats. And then the look of disgust that one couple flashed at us as they left the theater (while I was standing outside in the lobby). And then the way that it seemed like EVERYONE was so fucking offended that I had the gall to bring my kid out in public!

Apparently no one has enough patience, tolerance or compassion for anyone or anything that disturbs how they wish to experience life. Meaning, I can never venture outside of predesignated kid zones without suffering the consequences of rudeness, impatience, and lack of common courtesy. Had I brought a howling dog to the movies, I would have generated less ire.

So allow me to issue my sincerest apologies to any parent whom I might have maligned in my BC (before child) past. I regret if I ever shot you an annoyed glance when your child whimpered a little too audibly or if I got testy if you took too long to bring their tantrum to an immediate end. Let me also remand any final judgments I might have made concerning your lack of complete control over any number of situations. Like any judge presented with new facts, I have reconsidered my initial verdict and have found in your favor because you were doing your best...children are unpredictable and quite possibly insane.

And to those who have forgotten what it was like to be the parent whose entertainment options on most days was limited to whatever animated character the kid demands to watch over and over again, it is a minimal inconvenience to simply be kind. Be understanding. You got to see the movie--I paid $11 to watch my child run around in circles out in the lobby.

On the way home from this debacle I recalled how I humiliating it was for me on that flight home from Chicago when my daughter essentially screamed the entire flight. I have no idea what was wrong and trust me, I tried EVERYTHING I could think of to quiet her. I felt horrible even though we had to pay extra to sit together and when I accidentally sat in the wrong row with my inconsolable child, some woman insisted that I move because I was in her seat.

I don't want the world to cater to my needs; I just want to feel that my existence is not a societal inconvenience. Like if you are standing in the curb cut when I am approaching from the opposite side of the street with the stroller, MOVE. Make room on the elevator, ask me if I am waiting for the larger bathroom stall before walking past me, and seriously, can someone hold the damn door open for me instead of letting it slam in my face!?!

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