Adventures with Luke and The Greatest Prick Who Ever Lived.
Current mood: bitchy
Category: Food and Restaurants
Luke's sick. He's had a head cold, and now a barky cough, for the last 72 hours. Thus, like a good mom, not wanting to expose the rest of his class to his Flood! of! Snot!, I've kept him home the last 2 days. That's the POLITE thing to do--not expose 20 other kids to the Germapalooza your kid spews out his nose every 5 minutes. And he kid will recouperate that much faster if allowed rest and respite from the harrows of the second grade.
That said, some necessary daily chores must still be accomplished even if the child is kept home from school; in today's case, some grocery shopping. We were fresh out of some necessary sick-kid staples like juice, tissues, chicken noodle soup, et al.
Luke digs Butera Finer Foods, a sort of off-chain, chock full of a lot of funky ethnic delicacies, and other random crap he's heard about vis-a-vis his addiction to Alton Brown and "Good Eats" on the Food Network. We went to Butera, meandered through the produce section, where Luke asked me if leather jackets were made from the smooth, hearty skin of the eggplant. Got our daily dose of fresh fruits/veggies and then he stood entranced by the vast selection of hermetically sealed cheeses (the hermetically sealed part plays a huge role in the rest of the story).
Luke was coughing. Call the Uh-Oh Squad! But he was taught, from a purely sanitary and proper manner stance, to NOT cover his mouth with HIS HAND; but rather, the crook of his elbow and arm, when he coughed. See, if you cough into your hand, you thereby spread germs far more easily and disgustingly, all over the grocery cart, the cheese case, etc.
I was nearby, across the Terribly Interesting Cheese Case, looking at varieties of pita breads. This was all near the deli counter, which featured the Customer of the Year, a morbidly obese, greasy, messily-dressed, overgrown-bearded fellow most likely procuring 3 pounds of head cheese. This asshole stopped in his tracks upon hearing my little boy hacking out his left lobe, with the following acute observation:
AH: "Where's that kid's MOTHER? NO MANNERS! NO MANNERS! Look! He's coughing all over the food!!!"
ME: "I'm his mother."
AH: "You need to teach that kid some manners."
ME: "For one, he has manners and he's covering his mouth the PROPER way!"
(I explained the difference between holding your hand vs coughing into your arm, and that better he do that than contaminate the cart, and sweet, leathery eggplant, blah blah. But Dumb! As! Stump! AH wouldn't put up with my, ah, LOGIC.)
AH: "Your kid is rude."
(Rude? You've heard Luke cough for 10 seconds and he's deemed RUDE? Baby boy picks his battles, but for crissakes, he refers to me as "Ma'am" half the time. He excuses himself when he belches in public. He knows the definition of "antidisestablishmentarianism." Piss off!)
ME (increasingly agitated): "Takes a big man to want to beat up AN EIGHT YOUR OLD BOY. Think about YOUR MANNERS while you're BRAIDING YOUR CATASTROPHICALLY LONG NOSE HAIRS, YOU ASSHOLE!"
And we walked away.
(I shouldn't have said "Asshole" at the top of my lungs in front of my child, but he agreed it was totally proper in this context as we discussed the situation further, as he coughed down every aisle. Luke and I also discussed, on the way home, how Mommy's reaction wasn't the most Christian, or the most mature, but he came back with "That man was SO MEAN, I don't blame you for calling him an asshole.")
My methods are edgy, my approach unconventional, my vocabulary, at times, overly harsh. But Luke knows, and further appreciates, that his Mommy would go to any length to protect and defend him, no matter how inappropriate my delivery might have been. The fact remains that Luke was behaving and treating his cough completely within the realms of what is considered "polite." If anything, he was guilty of behaving TOO considerately. So considerately, in fact, that the general population, in their banality, would misinterpret his manners for rudeness, his empathy for ignorance, and not only blame him for such behavior, but also blame his parent. So that, my friends, is perhaps the core reason why I called a man an asshole in public today, in front of my son.
The Ignorant Asshole Couple continued to meet us rounding the corners of several other aisles, and Luke was hyper-sensitive after that about his cough. Simultaneously, I attempted to assuage his discontent about this oaf of a loser, while listening in the other ear to their looping, under-breath digs at my kid, all the time dodging whatever CDC-worthy garbage was trailing off the guys' nose hairs.
Luke wondered what he'd done wrong the whole afternoon, what about him employing healthy behavior had forced this man into a fisticuffs with his Mommy.
Ultimately, son, it was a lack of manners. Rudeness. Ignorance. A man so grossly insecure about himself that he picks fights with sick little boys and their mothers.
And sadly, the world's full of them...most likely, a time will come when I won't be there to shield and protect Lucas from....