Your Kids Are Not Cute, Interesting or Important
So, I'm going to yoga class this morning. Ah yoga class on Saturday mornings how I love you. Time to chill out and stretch and recharge my batteries. I walk into the enormous classroom with maybe 5 minutes to go before class starts. My plan is to stretch a bit and lay there like the dead, enjoying the silence for a minute. Not this morning. No, this morning, for some inexplicable reason, there are three children running around this enormous room at full speed and someone has cranked up a Roxette song ("Dangerous") full blast on the classroom stereo and those children are fucking flying. Flying and screaming. Okay. Fine. So no relaxation before class for me. I pass a couple of my classmates who are standing in a corner talking and pick my way to my usual spot in the northwest corner of the room and set about rolling out my mat and pulling off my sweatshirt, when I hear a voice, barely audible over the incredible din.
"Do you mind? They're just going to run around for a few more minutes," a woman near the front of the room asked me.
"No, it's fine," I said. Really, it was fucking annoying, but what was I supposed to do--tell the woman to get her kids out of the yoga studio? That this wasn't a playground but a place where adults come to escape things like children and Roxette? I'm a relatively nice person, so I let it go.
"No," said the woman. "I mean, DO YOU MIND. They need to run right there for a few more minutes," and she made a little sweep sweep gesture with her hand to illustrate that she'd like me to clear out for her kids. I looked at the kids who were now tagging each other, collapsing to the ground and roaring like lions about 25 feet away from my yoga mat.
"Are you serious?" I said. I didn't know what to say after that. "I just paid for this yoga class. It's about to start," I said. What I really meant was: I'm an adult who pays to have a quiet relaxing experience here. Who the fuck are you and why are your devil spawn galloping across the floor like a heard of elephants with hyperactivity disorder? And who the fuck listens to Roxette? You know the guitar player used to be in a white power band? Nice one, you racist self-important midwestern housefrau. Not to mention it's an absolutely gorgeous day outside--perhaps I could interest your children in a park or a busy intersection?
Her face clouded over and she scowled, "Well, if it's a big problem for you, I guess you can stay where you are."
(Oh can I? Gee thanks!)
So ignored her and started stretching, keeping my hard-to-rile-but-once-riled-a-wrecking-ball temper from flaring right before my supposedly relaxing yoga class by imagining roundhousing her right into the stereo which would then explode in a shower of sparks and go silent. I did a downward dog and could see in the back mirror that she was staring daggers at me, doubtless having similar thoughts ("I wish Roxette was here to pound that child-hating heartless yoga fuck into a small bloody pulp on the stinky yoga carpet").
"Dangerous" ended. I sighed and sat up to stretch out the old hips. She was still staring.
"Come on kids!" she yelled over their screeching, never taking her eyes from me. "Let's go!" She rounded up the banshees and as they all duck-walked to the door she passed by me and practically screamed, "There, wasn't that fun! See what happens when you do something NICE FOR SOMEONE ELSE!!??!? GOOD KARMA KIDS, GOOD KARMA WHEN YOU ARE NICE TO OTHER PEOPLE!!" I'm not sure, but I think the youngest kid started to cry. And they filed out the door of the studio.
It's obvious I've been in Iowa for awhile. If this scenario had played out in New York (which, by the way, it never would have because New Yorkers understand that you don't want to play with their kids, or watch their kids play, or at all have anything to do with their stupid fucking kids; but out here in Breederland, we're all supposed to be thrilled to spend time with other people's teenage mistakes), my parting words would have been something along the lines of "Fuck you, lady," a good, strong, New York standby appropriate in almost any sort of unpleasant situation involving a lady, or suspected lady. I've made good use of it before. When you live in New York, no matter how patient or normal or kind you are, at some point some crazy motherfucker is going to force you to have a terse, nasty confrontation in public. That's just how it goes. But I didn't expect it in Iowa, where people are generally polite to a fault (except when it comes to their kids though, I guess), so I didn't have my armor on. I said nothing as the icky woman walked past me screeching about karma to her terrified children. What would, in past years, have been an automatic response on my part (Fuck you, lady) was silence instead. Although I was seething, I just didn't feel like escalating it, and what could I say to her that would make her look like more of an idiot anyway?
So I didn't say anything. And although it was kind of annoying, holding my tongue, it was also kind of nice not having a screaming argument in public with a total stranger. So thanks, Iowa for chilling me out. But please, keep your hatchlings out of my adult playhouse. Namaste.