The other day (I started this post the day of, but never found time to finish it) my three youngest daughters and I were at the grocery store, and I’m trying as usual to keep them from getting in people’s way. When they temporarily block other shoppers’ paths, most people smile indulgently and say it’s okay. Most.
So this last shopping trip they were standing where a woman wanted to push her basket, so I told them to move to the side so she could pass, which they immediately did. The woman’s lips were tightly pursed, and she was positively glowering at the children. Ignoring this, since who knows what kind of bad day she may have been having, I smiled at her and said, “I’m sorry.” She hesitated, as though deciding whether to say something, all the time looking grimly past me, refusing to make eye contact. Finally, after a most uncomfortable silence, she sort of huffed and stalked off without saying anything.
In some ways Santa Fe is a friendly town, but I have to say, there is a noticeable minority here who really don’t like kids. I’ve written before about people who think kids are bad for the environment. I thought of that post later in the same grocery shopping trip when the checker filled my grocery bags so full that I could not pick them up one-handed, and left some of my items outside of bags. Not just the gallon containers of milk which have handles, but other things that aren’t convenient to carry. On other shopping trips, checkers have asked if I brought bags, and gotten rather tight-lipped when I said no and they had to give me paper bags, which they then overfilled and did not double even for perilously heavy loads.
With my disposable diapers, my car that’s big enough to transport a family of six, and my stubborn refusal to get my act together and remember to bring canvas bags to the grocery store along with my tribe of children, I guess maybe I am a geocidal maniac after all. But for all the woman in the grocery store whose path my children blocked knew, I could have brought them all there in a tiny electric car, had a cloth diaper on my baby, and my purse stuffed full of reusable canvas grocery bags. Her hostility may not have had anything to do with my raping the earth by having all those confounded kids. It may have just been that she’s a nasty old shrew.