Friday, October 10, 2008

An incident at the park

Huey and I were at the playground, playing on the slides, when a blond man, the father of a beautiful two-year-old girl, walked up to the low railing surrounding the park and said to a man sitting on the bench just outside the park, “Are you staring at my daughter?”

The man, a nondescript white man in his 40s, looked at him quizzically.

“You’re staring at my daughter. I saw you,” said the blond man.

“Whatever, man,” said the guy on the bench. “I’m just sitting here. It’s a public park.”

“But you’re staring at my daughter, aren’t you? Aren’t you staring at my daughter?”

By this point, their confrontation was starting to draw stares from the other parents.

“Are you a fucking idiot?” said the man on the bench, getting agitated. “It’s a public park. I’m just sitting here watching. It’s a public park. I’m not doing anything. It’s a public park.”

“You can keep repeating that it’s a public park,” said the blond man, calmly, “but that doesn’t change the fact that you’re staring. And it’s making me very uncomfortable. Why are you here? You don’t have any kids with you, so why are you here?”

“It’s a public park… My wife… our kids… It’s a public park, what the fuck?”

“Men without kids don’t belong here. Please leave. Now.”

“Whatever. Fuck you.” And so the man on the bench left.

The other parents murmured their approval, staring after the guy, as if trying to memorize his features.

I hadn’t noticed the guy staring, but we’d only just gotten there. It’s sad that the sight of a man sitting on a bench outside of a kid’s park immediately raises red flags. He could have just been enjoying the sunshine and the sound of the kids’ laughter.

But maybe not. And that’s why I, too, was a little relieved when he left.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Lessons learned from living at my brother's house for two months

  • A kitchen large enough to allow two people to comfortably cook together can restore the joy in the process.
  • Having enough counter space to spread out all the fun kitchen tools means having fresh bread and frozen yogurt on a regular basis.
  • Having enough room to host loved ones for an extended period of time is a necessary luxury.
  • Puttering in the garden can be a great way to while away a Sunday afternoon.
  • Television is not the center of our lives.
  • A dinner for two on the patio can be a nightly occurrence.
  • A dishwasher can save a marriage.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

A spectacular insult

When my in-laws were visiting, we spent a couple of Sundays driving around different neighborhoods to check out some real estate. Having four of us in the car meant my mother-in-law and I could jump out to check out a home—because let’s face it, we adore looking at houses, even if there’s not a chance in hell we could ever afford them—while HH and my father-in-law stayed behind in the car with the baby.

After touring one particularly exquisite home that had the kind of view you see in magazines—and of course the price tag to match—we made our way back to the front door to put our shoes back on. On the way the realtor engaged us in some chitchat, no doubt hoping we’d ask her to start sending us listings, when my MIL started bragging about her granddaughter’s great beauty. (How could she not? She is the most beautiful baby on the planet after all.)

The realtor smiled and said, quite matter-of-factly, “She must look like your son then!”

I blinked. Had she really just said that? Right in front of my face? I knew I should be insulted, but this affront was just so spectacular, so ballsy, that it was all I could do not to laugh out loud.

She of course backpedaled quickly, explaining she meant all mothers consider their own children to be extravagantly beautiful, etc. and maybe it really wasn’t meant as an insult. But still, it was such a movie moment. I’ve never been insulted quite so splendidly before.