I’m sitting on the steps outside my daughters school waiting for her to come out. ‘What you reading?’. I loathe this particular mom. She’s absolutely awful. Today its stuffed into black spandex and luminous orange trainers. Normally she inflicts herself on one of the other moms, but I’m the only other person here… so… lucky me.
Sunglassed and masked up, I doubt she can perceive my annoyance, she has the EQ of a garden variety loam… so probably doesn’t notice my whole body grimace, and if she does, wouldn’t be able to discern that it was aimed at her.
I turn my book so she can read the cover. She looks at it, and then tilts her head, willing her single brain cell to roll from one side to the other, which one can only assume is some sort of kinetic thought process. ‘Its a book about laissez faire economics’ I say, which is mostly true I guess. ‘Oh’, she perks up, ‘where are you doing your degree?’ Its my turn to be confused, until I realize she thinks I’m reading a university text book. ‘Oh, no, this is just my thing, kinda’.
‘I just read the subtle art of not giving…’ and then leans in to whisper, ‘a fuck’.
‘IT WAS AMAZING!’.
‘Mark Mason’ I smile weakly still reeling from this non sequitur. ‘YES!’ she says to me, beaming!
I want to tell her that I think she is everything that’s wrong with the world and that I hate Mark Manson and his repellent line of literature aimed middle manager wannabes. (does that sound haughty enough?)
But I don’t. Because… well… I really want to. But it will likely make her sad. And I don’t want to be responsible for hurting her feelings. Even though she’s mentally dry-foisting herself on me and deserves to be poked in her metaphorical eye-hole. Besides, she’s just trying to create rapport by telling me she’s also read a book.
Fortunately at this point the kids start to come out and we can separate and go on our merry and divergent paths. I like to imagine if I had a therapist they might positively reinforce my restraint at our next session as I lay on the chaise lounge and verbalized my current vexation with the world at large. ‘Well done Jo, you’re getting so much better at this, have a cookie’.
If I’d been sitting there reading on my phone or tablet, she probably would have left me alone. There’s a new covenant now that people deep into their device have their do not disturb light switched on. Reading an actual book however, has become, for some at least, a social convention that they cannot navigate.
Its not her fault I guess. Life is just Myers-Briggs personality types bumping and grinding into one another. And mostly not in a way that leads to people getting naked, burning each other with wax and then falling off the bed.
Wait, that may have been overshare. Although I did burn myself with wax last night as I inexpertly tried to blow out at candle by tilting it towards myself. Definitely not as kinky as I remember. Although I suppose the addition of mammary glands up close and personal makes for circumstances where discomfort can be better tolerated.
Which now makes me wonder if said ‘mom’ were prettier. Or exceptionally lithe, would that have upped my sufferance?
I’m saddened to say it probably would have. Being accosted and harassed by aesthetically pleasing individuals is the better alternative I suppose.
Despite my protestations I am still quite a shallow beast.
C’est la vie