She sneers at me from the adjacent check out line. I look at my cart. The usual suspects. A jar of peanut butter. A gallon of milk. Strawberries, carrots, cream cheese, a frozen pizza. Nothing sneer-worthy here. I shrug my shoulders.
Okay, so I failed to mention the 2 and nearly 5 year old also stuffed into the cart, but they are well behaved, so what is the big problem? They are adorable, right?
Okay, so they both have a combination of snot and leftover ice-cream crusted to their faces, and are wearing miss-matched outfits self selected that morning. But they aren't bothering anyone... right?
Okay, so they are loudly giggling over some game silly game they are playing, but they are not crying or throwing anything, so I am free to peruse the magazine covers at the stand. Us Weekly. People. The Enquirer. I lose myself, enchanted. How much weight did Kristi Alley gain? Jennifer Anniston is going to have a baby...on her own? A Bachelorette betrayed?
"So noisy" she hisses to me as she catches my eye.
A beat passes. I suck in my breath. Are you freaking kidding me? We are at a grocery store correct? Not The Louvre, not Chez Panisse, not the ballet. The grocery store. Where people buy food. For their families.
I am unable to contain myself. I look her square in the eye and say:
"They are children. If you don't like it, you should stay home". And I turn away, leaving her speechless. Did she expect me to blush and apologize?
Perhaps she has forgotten what it was like to have small children. Maybe she thinks that she did a better job of "controlling" her offspring's behavior, or maybe she never had kids at all. Whatever the case, her judgmental looks and comments burned threw me making my blood boil, and I stood up.
And I am damn sure it won't be the last time.