Status: Drafting the fourth book in the PERILOUS series!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Querky People

No, I didn't misspell "querky." I'd actually like that to say "jerky" people, but today's letter is Q, so querky it is.

Let me start with a story about a disgruntled, middle-aged man wearing a maroon t-shirt and a baseball cap. He's at the grocery store, doing his shopping, and turns onto an aisle with a young mom pushing a cart. In the top part of the cart sits a baby carrier, complete with a content little brown-eyed girl. The mom is looking back and forth between her grocery list and the items on the shelf while pushing her cart. Two little boys are running circles around her, giggling and playing.

This man tries to ignore them until the little boys start touching the price tags, pretending like they are gathering tickets for a train ride. Now they are not merely loud, they are annoying. He clears his throat, but the mom is busy putting something in her cart. He says, "Um..." and she looks over. Heaving a sigh, she says, "Boys! Why are you touching things!" and drags them back to the cart.

Well, he thinks it's pretty obvious why they're touching things, so he says, "Because no one's watching them."

The mom looks at him and says, "I'm grocery shopping with three kids. It's hard to keep an eye on them all at once."

Not my problem, he thinks. I just want to shop in peace. "That's your job," he tells her smartly. She signed up for this, after all. No one forced her to have three kids.

She takes the two boys and plops them on top of the food in the back of the cart. To the older one, she says, "Tell that mean old man you're sorry for being in his way."

"Sorry," the little boy says, and she pushes them to another aisle.

Good, the disgruntled man thinks. At least they won't bother anyone else.

End of story.

Now, here's the other part of that story. I didn't really call the man mean and old, though I sure wanted to. I did see it as a good time to teach my children that there are unhappy people in the world, and their goal is to make other people unhappy.

I've tried to think of other motivations of this man to be so rude. Here's what I've come up with:

1) He thinks I'm contributing to overpopulation because I've surpassed the national average of 2.5 kids, and that makes him angry.

2) He thinks I'm 18 and an irresponsible mother with no right to be out in public with all 3 kids.

3) His wife left him and took their children and now he feels jealous every time he sees kids.

4) He hates kids.

5) He can only see out of one eye and the kids were blocking his view of the groceries with his good eye, which really disturbed him.

6) He thinks children should be seen and not heard.

7) He made his wife do all the grocery shopping with the children because he hates it when they touch things on the shelves.

I'm out of ideas. Thoughts? Why do you think this poor man was so ornery?

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Cheree said...

Here's my answer... he was just mean.

It didn't sound like your kids were doing anything wrong. I'm a waitress and I can tell you exactly when the parents should control the kids (eg when they're running around a restaurant, nearly tripping the poor staff who's carrying three heavy, hot plates)... but just making a bit of noise in the aisle, that's nothing... I'm sorry to say, there are just those sort of people (again see my occupation and know that I've seen it all).

Mary Aalgaard said...

My twins were very busy at an office supply store. I was cutting paper. They wanted to help. I freaked out, not wanting any missing limbs from me or them. It would dampen all our piano playin' careers. So, they walked away and started climbing the ladder used to stock shelves. Why didn't the workers put it away? I yelled at them. A "helpful" old man said, "All they need is some loving kindness." I gave him the finger in my mind.
Your old guy probably had constipation.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

lol Mary. Good call.

That's what I think,Cheree. Some people are just miserable.

Shannon Lawrence said...

Poor man, my booty. I like #5, LOL. I imagine he's never had any kids. I also imagine you handled it much better than I would have.

nutschell said...

he probably hasn't ever tried to go grocery shopping with 3 kids (2 boys at that). :P

Shallee said...

I think you've got some pretty awesome reasons there. :) Honestly, though, it really irritates me when people are rude like that. I'm sorry it happened, but I'm glad you've got a good sense of humor about it.

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

I do now, Shallee! I was so so angry when it happened! :)

KarenG said...

People like that make me never want to go out in public. And believe me, with 10 kids, I've run into my share! Ah, jerks! I would have been mad, too. Of all the nerve. He sees you for 30 seconds and dares to make judgments?

Melanie Jacobson said...

It was definitely #5. And also, he was constipated.

Nicole said...

Maybe he was having a bad day or maybe he thought that they were too loud. That's about all that I can think of at the moment to add to the ideas that were already mentioned.

I think you pretty much covered all the bases with everything that you listed.

I'm pretty neutral to this and can side with both parties depending on the situation because I do not like being around children who appear to be out of control and I can't stand being in a public place where there are parents who clearly do not seem to be interested with keeping their kids in line. It doesn't matter if the parents have one child or 15....they should all know how to behave.

With that said, what happened with that man at the grocery store seems to be a case of impatience or just plain ol' disgruntled behavior on the part of the man. Little kids running around and touching (ooooh, they touched them...better call the police! lol. Give me a break!) price tags is nothing more than kids being kids, I suppose.

Now, if they were ripping the price tags up and throwing the remaining paper toward people in the store or making a mess on the floor that could potentially cause someone to slip and fall...THEN (and only then) I could understand someone complaining...but even in this hypothetical scenario...I, myself would probably just shake my head in disappointment of poor parenting and just went on about my day.

There is a guy with three sons that I used to notice on the train a few times when I came home from work a while back. Every day, without fail, his kids would be jumping around on top of the seats on the train, moving from seat to seat and fighting each other and every day, I would hope to God that they didn't get on the same train, because they were so annoying and disturbing to the other passengers.

The thing is, the father would try to stop them and control them but they never obeyed him. It's a shame. When I witness things like that, I say to myself "I'm so glad I don't have to deal with that," since I don't have any kids.

Also, I think you're being pretty generous with idea #7. I mean, how would a guy like that have a wife?...Unless his wife puts up with it or worse...she's just like him, and that is the type of mean behavior that the world does not need!

The Madlab Post

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

lol NIcole, I think you pretty much covered everything!

Constipation! I didn't think of that, Melanie!

Heavens, Karen, tell me you never had to take all 10 kids at once!

Rhonda@laugh-quotes said...

Yes, he's cranky. Perhaps he's run out of things to do in his life and he's taken being the hall monitor on as his new job (and he's constipated - LOL Mary). Good one for Q.

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