I have felt it many times standing in a Starbucks and the young guy with the shock of red hair and ring in his nose, is busy talking to his buddies the other servers, and serving customers with a bounce in his step and he asks the girl behind me in line what she'd like. Excuse me, I was here before her.
I was invisible. That's the problem. So then if you do something like speak up (which I do!) and "make a scene" suddenly everyone is looking at you and maybe giggling a little and you look like an "outrageous" "batty" or a "annoyed" 'Old" woman.
If that's what I am then I am what I am.
I've shut up peoples crying babies in public places by sheer authoritative will and shouted at the top of my lungs (and I am LOUD) to be sure Everyone can hear: "Hey, Kid there is NO CRYING ALLOWED in here! (If that doesn't get him I then I thrust my arm out like a military salute in reverse directing him to an invisible sign and say "The Sign says NO CRYING!". And if he carries on I'll say even louder and lean in to him in a menacing way and in my scariest possible voice "Now give your mom and everyone else here a break and stop CRYING". Usually it shocks the hell out of the kid. They can't believe someone is yelling louder than they are.
It sometimes shocks the parents too. But I don't care. I do get grateful smiles and confused thanks from the parents.
The point is the kid was out of control and this is a public place. The person supposed to be in control couldn't handle the kid so I did. In that moment it was precisely the right thing to do.
But of course, people are shocked. Especially Ca-nay-dians. We are so polite. (I've seen similar "stranger interference with other peoples kids in other cultures and it is perfectly acceptable.)
But we "politically correct", apologetic, self sacrificing Ca-nay-dians we like to tell ourselves it is "none of our business".
I daresay it is.
In you know certain special occasions of course,. I am not one who regularly goes around screaming at other peoples kids. Heaven's no.
But I confess I have been know to do such a thing and more than once I can tell you. Sometimes people just have no control over their kids and everyone around them has to suffer. Sometimes you just mentally block it out and carry on. Sometimes you have a massive headache and you're stressed to the max and the kid is being extremely loud and the whole store can hear it and its been going on for over ten minutes and you see peoples faces cringing from the sheer agony of the kids screaming You can see everyone in the store is affect as they dart hopeless glances of despair at one another, cashiers those in line everyone shopping. And the poor mother/father is usually the one especially having a hard time well then it's time to step in and step up to the plate: Shut Up Crying Baby Warrior to the rescue.
This is how I give myself rewards. I just do a little public service (believe it or not it is a thankless job) and carry on about my business. It's my yoga of SEVA. Seva is the Sanskrit term for Selfless Service. We don't have a union or anything. So, in Seva, you act but you suffer the consequences. So you have to know when to act and when not to. And when to act appropriately, which is by the way, the Sufi way, the Zen way, the Judao/Christian way, the way of all decent people in fact.
Now here's the stickler: Who's to say what is appropriate. Ah we could start a whole other discussion right there.
I have had parents stunned into silence, some looking at me suspiciously mumbling "none of your business" and others who shouted back "how dare you scream at my baby". Yeah, believe it or not! Like excuse me but shouldn't they be thanking me?
So here is a question for all you mommy's out there. How would you feel if an old woman suddenly shocks your kid into silence when you've been struggling with it for 15 minutes. and are stressed to the max and just wanting to get out of there in peace. .
Personally, I'd be grateful. I might also feel a little offended too. You know, a total stranger, just shut up my kid and I'm not sure how I feel about that. Why? Because it makes us look like bad parents. Well for that tiny moment in life you were. I mean not a bad parent but a helpless parent. A parent who couldn't get the situation under control and was causing a very disturbing public annoyance.
Well sometime it takes a stranger. The dervish in the bush is always a possibility.
So the question remains. I this a symptom of old age? Or is it just me.
I didn't need to join a "Red Hat" society I been wearing a red hat (and a purple dress) all of my life.
I never needed permission to be outrageous.
And then, getting diagnosed with a personality disorder of some kind or another I finally got permission to be crazy. Crazy in a fun way. (Don't worry folks I'm not a psychopath - I'm just a little hard on myself that's all).
But I have always been the outrageous one. The tree climbing, adventure seeking, dancing, drumming, do-wopping, damsel. I never needed anyone's permission to be eccentric.
I was just born that way.
So no apologies folks. Look beyond these wrinkles and understand that in my case every fucking line tells a story (I know it's a cliche) But I'm proud to day I've got lots of them.