Life's Little Details: Knitting, Sewing, Green Living, Frugal Living and Cooking In A Little Corner of Southern French Countryside.

Friday, April 29, 2005

Freaky Woman Ruins the Mood

Sorry for the lack of blogging last night. I know, you've come to expect better of me. I have a really good excuse, though. A friend of mine and I had a little brawl with another mommy at the kids' park yesterday. Fists flew. It was a bloody mess, and what with the black eye and the broken arm, I had trouble typing.

Okay, it wasn't actually a brawl. More an argument, really. It's definitely opened my eyes to how intolerant people can be, though. And, to be honest, I think I would have prefered to stay ignorant on that matter. So, you've seen a picture of me here on my site. I'm pretty plain and "normal" looking. Well, a friend of mine from the kids' playgroup is pretty much the opposite of that. She dresses punk, has several tattoos (none of which were visible yesterday), countless peircings (all visible, unless there are some in intimate dark places I don't need to know about), a half-shaved head with bleach-blond hair, Dr. Martens, camouflage pants. The works, pretty much. And, she's a cool lady. Very sweet. A good mommy, if a bit overprotective (but then aren't tons of first-time mommies like that). Just a good person, in general. I see the funky looks she gets from some people when we go to the park with her or some other place. She doesn't really notice it anymore, she's dressed this way for so long. For the most part, it just makes me chuckle, but yesterday I got a little taste for how far it can go.

There was almost no one left at the park. Just us, our three kids, three other kids and two parents were in the enclosed kids park area. My daughter and my friend's daughter were happily playing with a little boy about half-way between their ages (mine's a tall-for-her-age 3 1/2-year-old, hers is a tiny, born-prematurely 2 1/2-year-old). Mine can be a bit possessive of her friends and family, and at some point, she and the little boy both wanted to hold hands with my friend's daughter. This escalated into a full on pulling matching (each with an arm). Upon seeing this, I yelled at my daughter and she let go, but the boy didn't. Apparently, the excitement was too much for him, and his affection got even more violent. I jumped up to stop what was going on, and looked around to see where his parents were. Nobody moved. Amazed, I asked a man nearby if he was his son. Nope. I get there, and still no parent is in sight, so I scold him. Seeing he's in trouble, he lets go, but in doing so, he shoves her hard, apparently trying to rid himself of the evidence. I could see in his eyes that he wasn't a mean kid. And, I learned later from my daughter that they just both wanted to hold her hand. At this point, my friend is next to me, asking why he pushed her daughter, and I'm right there beside her telling him we don't push, and we don't pull on people's arms like that. Same goes for my kid, and then, we finally hear a mother yelling, half-running our way. She's only at the gate of the enclosed kids' park at this point. Apparently, she was too busy chatting with her buddies 200 yards away to watch her child. So, I guide the boy in her directing, telling him he needs to go see his mommy, that I'm sure she's got something to say to him.

To my surprise, she snatches him up, and instead of scolding him, she viciously gets up in my punk friend's face, telling her she's got no right to scold her child. My friend's response is to ask if she's just supposed to let the boy rip her kid in half. I threw in that if the lady had been there... Then, the woman starts yelling some more that my friend has no right to be scolding her kid (when I did most of the scolding). This went back and forth for a couple minutes, with us pointing out that I asked around to see where the kid's parents were, and that all she has to do is actually watch her kid at the park. Not to mention that no one got physically rough with her kid at any time. I mean, at school, is the teacher allowed to scold her kid? Finally, everyone huffed off fuming, and we packed up and got out of there - the whole experience ruined by this nutty woman.

What shocked me most about the whole situation (even more than the fact that the lady wasn't watching her kid but was such a great mommy that she wouldn't allow anyone else to set him straight when he was naughty) was that the lady barely even looked at me. She had her entire being and all of her anger directed at my friend. Another friend later pointed out that she would probably have done the same thing with any mommy, but I don't think so. She was freaked out by my sweet, calm, completely non-violent punk friend being around her son. So, the whole thing left me with a bad taste in my mouth and a nasty stomach ache all evening (anger and I don't go well together). It just ruined my mood for blogging.

I've never given punks much thought. I never really wondered why they might dress the way they do, except the possible, "well, they probably had problems with their parents when they were younger." And, knowing more and more about my friend, there is definitely some of that in there, but after last night, I've come to the conclusion that it's more than just bad parenting that brings people to participate in a counter-culture movement like the punk one. It now seems completely logical and reasonable that if faced with enough crazy women like the one last night, one would want to distinguish themselves from the rest of society. Dressing punk, it seems, is my friend's way of separating herself from the jerks she's met and will meet. Her way of saying she's not part of their world, even. Her style of dress puts up an automatic barrier that only more open-minded (and thus worthy of anyone's time) people can break through. The rest of the intolerant idiots show their true colors immediately, and she never has to waste her time figuring out if their worthwhile companions. Not a bad plan, really, now that I get it.

Okay, that's my "Can't we all just get along?" rant for today. There will be some knitting content later. I made lots of progress on the cable baby blanket yesterday (What a great sight, huh? Plain Jane thirty-year-old granny knitting away next to thirty-something punk at the park. Fun.), so there will be pictures.