I always thought the older people got the crankier they became. I thought it was hormones and stuff. It’s not – it’s that they start to stand up for themselves instead of caring what the rest of the world thinks.
I don’t know what it is, but I have one of those faces that screams “randoms, you can tell me whatever you like.” I hear about wayward teens, boob jobs, divorces and affairs. Brazilians, swingers clubs and botox. Not only about themselves either, they tell me whatever they think about me. My local shopping centre is notorious for it for some reason. My husband has a “if you know what’s good for you you’ll take your opinion and shove it where the sun doesn’t shine” face.
I’ve had strangers in shops give me (unwanted) parenting advice so many times I’ve lost count. One woman told me my child’s squealing was offending her (10 year olds) granddaughters sensitive ears. A lady tell me I should get thinly cut bread so it lasts longer for a family my size. People tell me five kids is five too many, or I should have more. Just one of those heads that screams “tell me what you really think.” Despite what I may seem like online I listen to these people, nod quietly and agree. Even when I don’t agree. Which is all the time.
That is, until now.
This year I’ve noticed a new type target me. The “I’ll tell you when you’ve done something wrong publicly – like you’re my child” person. “You’re in a 15 items or less lane when you’ve got 16 things.” “You parked too close to the line in the carpark.” “You left your coat hangers in the change rooms at Myer.” Boring people they are. I decided the next time I was confronted with one of these people I wasn’t going to cop it like a wet blanket.
I didn’t have to wait long. I had the baby in the car driving to our local shopping centre during the week which is only 5 minutes away. In that five minutes she went from normal to psychotic screaming mess. I came to a T intersection – you can turn left or right, or go ahead and enter the shops. It has a “no entry” sign on going straight ahead. Why I don’t know, it’s the stupidest sign in the world because I am guessing 97% of people who go down that street want to go straight ahead. You can turn from either side into it so it IS an entry. Just not an entry from where I was. I made the decision to avoid more screaming and enter. It’s not the first time I’ve done it, and I can’t promise it won’t be the last. No one saw me. Or so I thought. I was sitting in the car when I got a tap on the window from the car who had parked next to me.
“Excuse me, you went straight ahead into the car park, didn’t you see the sign? You can’t enter there.”
I rolled down my window and stared.
Then it became awkward so I had to say something.
“You want me to say one of two things. The first is I admit I’m in the wrong and apologise which im not going to do, because A. I’m not and B I don’t need to apologise to you.” The second is I am rude to you and tell you to mind your own business which I feel like doing, but am too polite to. So what I am going to do is go with my third new option.”
By now he was looking at me with his mouth open and scared. I almost backed down to wet blanket old me.
“You were so busy minding my business that you weren’t concentrating on yourself. You have parked in a parents with prams and you don’t have a child in the car. You should probably move before some do gooder tells you to”
And I left. Minus my wet blanket. I’ll make a do gooder yet.