I was at a store of many departments browsing for some shoes; not that I needed shoes since the ones on my feet were perfectly adequate, but women, myself included, seem to have a thing for shoes. It’s one of the few blanket qualities I tend to share with my gender. I have no idea what that’s all about. There’s got to be some sort of anthropological, hunter-gatherer explanation for it somewhere in our genes.
Anyway, as I was holding a particular pair of awesome shoes, I turned to my sister and said something quite innocuous about them. It was probably something on the order of, “These shoes are awesome!” Now, I know I tend to swear like a drunken sailor and I’m not always as cognizant of this fact as I should be in public, but in this particular instance, I didn’t actually say anything naughty at all. I was as innocent as a newborn lamb. Even my sister attested to the G-rated nature of my statement, whatever it was.
So, when a little boy of roughly eight or nine years turned to me and said, “I don’t appreciate that kind of talk in front of me,” I stood flabbergasted. I tend to be put off guard any time a child speaks to me since, not being an especially social creature to begin with, I just don’t have a clue as to how to interact with children, so I generally avoid it altogether.
But, this child, standing there with his smug hands on his smug hips, craning his wring-worthy neck backwards to take in the entirety of my towering, Nordic self so that he could look me in the eye with a superior sneer; this child had me at a loss.
Fortunately, his parental unit stepped in. Actually, given the age and demeanor, I’d say she was more likely his grandparental unit. She came over, grasped one of the triangles of his arms perched atop his hips and gently pulled him away. She said to him, “First of all, these nice ladies didn’t say anything inappropriate at all. Secondly, what are you doing eavesdropping on private conversations? And third, you can’t just go accosting people in public. If you don’t like what they have to say, you can remove yourself. Now, go apologize.”
The boy humbly trotted back over to me with lowered eyes and said, “I apologize, ma’am,” to which I replied, “Apology accepted.” I lied to that poor excuse for the future of mankind, since that child, along with the countless other misbehaved and entitled rugrats that preceded him, had soured me on the concept of having any of my own.
So, that story isn’t really funny-ha ha, but it’s certainly funny-strange. I have to applaud his guardian though. She handled the situation with great aplomb and tact. And the win goes to grandma. If only there were more like her.