It was a Tuesday evening in the not so distant past when I was bombarded by the milk and toddler display outside of Save Mart.
No it wasn’t the Western Dairyman Society handing out pamphlets asking for fair prices. And it wasn’t a group of 7-month-olds, asking me to sign their “Safer Stroller” petition. It was a young mother. And she was breastfeeding her child for the entire world to see.
I realize I’m about to open up a big ole can of hate mail – and I don’t care.
She had air of young mother arrogance, compounded by the fact that she was of the type that rubs me wrong. Her handmade hemp sundress and dirty feet. The type of woman that can talk at length about the benefits of kale in her diet. She stared out from her National Geographic type pose, with indignance usually reserved for a 70-year old-school marm. Almost begging for someone to stare for more than a second.
As the oldest grandson in a large established dairy family in this town, it is almost second nature to me. When I see babies and milk – I look. And I look with the gaze of a 3-year-old seeing a Disney movie for the first time....
“Excuse me, what are you staring at?!” — said the indignant 24-year-old with her boob hanging out.
I’m never quite sure what to say. What is the protocol in this situation? Does she actually want an answer? Is this her Alpha female move to usher me from the cub?
“Lady, you got your stuff hanging out in front of a grocery store, what do you think I’m staring at” — is the thing I did not say (but thought inside my head.)
I did what any American male being addressed by a breastfeeding woman would do. I acted as if I were checking my cell phone, and gathered myself. I was frozen in time as most men are in this situation. I had ample time to walk off – but didn’t.
“You know this is a perfectly natural bodily function right?!”
And this is where things took a turn...a slow unnecessary turn.
“So is taking a leak, but you don’t see me whipping it out on a Tuesday evening.” — I said in my snarkiest, yet measured tone.
The “this is a perfectly natural bodily function” response has never held water with me. (Pun intended). I was at the St. Anthony’s Harvest Festival last week, and a 3-year-old boy decided to take a public pee. Perfectly natural bodily function right? People giggled as his mom hurried to stop the embarrassing moment – but he was midstream. It played out exactly the way it should. We all had a chuckle, and the boy was scolded in a friendly manner. But guess what didn’t happen?
We didn’t all turn our heads, and act as if this perfectly natural bodily function wasn’t happening.
Attention Breastfeeding Mothers: If you are going to whip ‘em out in front of people – you should probably expect people to take notice.
There is a level of sublime discomfort I get when these situations arise. I’m certain this woman’s hybrid Prius – complete with stupid “COEXIST” bumper sticker, was within 30 feet of her.
I finally peaked up from my cell phone. And Mother Earth bear was sending the hate glare. “Excuse me,” she growled
“You’re excused” — something I actually did say.
You could sense my willingness to engage her, while she was breast in tow, threw her for a loop. She stood from her perch, said “Jerk!” and walked out of my life forever.
Within earshot was a much older woman. She gave me sheepish acknowledgment, as she had witnessed the whole encounter. “Never in my day” she mumbled. I wasn’t sure if she meant my actions, or the hippy mothers – but believe it was towards the latter.
The word “jerk” stewed inside me, as I stood outside Save Mart in my blue coveralls and tractor slippers holding nothing but a rotisserie chicken and a deaf puppy.
Thank you, and please send your hate mail to Cateicheira@hotmail.com
uUnicorn Report: Unicorns don’t exist you fool.
uDeaf Puppy Chronicles . . . Banshee and myself ran into my mother while shopping a Target recently. Yes, the same shopping excursion in which a woman asked me “Does she bark like she’s deaf?” Mother has issues with my extreme sense of Manteca entitlement, and made her feelings known. “I’m positive you aren’t supposed to have her in the store, you’re gonna’ get in trouble” and with clockwork precision, and the timing of Lenny and Squiggy opening the door to say “Hello” — a young female security guard approached. “Excuse me sir, you aren’t allowed to have that dog inside here”. Mom peered over with that “I told you so” smirk. But she had no idea that her son was prepared, and implemented his deaf pup contingency plan.
“Oh it’s ok, she is special needs” — I deadpanned.
The room was frozen. My mother in complete disbelief at what she had heard. A 20-year-old security guard trying to wrap her brain around it.
And like many women as of late, they both simply turned and walked away – though mom did give a “head shake look back”
…and Banshee and myself headed to nowhere.