Rantings And Other Despicable Acts In Three Part Harmony
This columnist chose to use this space for medley of rants this week.
Rant #1 – Can You Do That In Public?
My week began rather curiously. Perhaps curiously isn’t the proper word, but I’ll let you be the judge. I was at my habitual hangout, Starbuck’s in the Target store at Highlands Plaza, enjoying my quad-cappuccino, when a young lady; I’d guess she was in her mid-twenties, pushed a baby carriage up next to the table right in front of where I was sitting.
She lifted her crying baby from the carriage, tossed him over her shoulder and began to rub his back. I waved to the kid, being the grandfatherly type that I am, and the proud mom looked over at me and smiled. Being a friendly, outgoing kind of guy; I returned the smile and waved at the cute little guy as mom sat him down on her lap, reached down into her tote bag and retrieved something resembling a small blanket, though it appeared to be made of a canvas-like material.
The attentive mom again hoisted the infant up on her shoulder, pulled the blanket up over the little fella’s head and began shifting him around beneath his canvas hideaway. I watched curiously as the mom fumbled around with the child, wondering what on earth she might be doing.
My attention was momentarily diverted by another mom who was struggling to order a drink while two of her four young children snatched several bags of Caffè Verona® from the display shelves and tossed them unceremoniously to the floor.
I glanced back over at the mom and baby, expecting to catch another glimpse of the cute little tyke but, to my surprise, he was still hidden beneath the blanket. I then noticed that the blanket had two straps that were slung around the mother’s neck. Ah, must be some kind of new baby carrier, I surmised.
The mom looked over at me and gave me another big smile. I returned the smile and then....
Have you ever had an epiphany; that sudden realization that sneaks up on you, seemingly from nowhere, and wallops you up-side the head; that Oh, now I get it moment that surges through your grey matter like a sudden bolt of lightning?
As I sat there at Starbuck’s, taking a well-deserved break from what had already been a rather hectic day, innocently observing a young mom and her precious little urchin; I experienced one of those moments.
She was breast feeding her baby!
Did I mention that my wife was with me? And did I tell you that, more than once; she had asked me to stop gawking at this woman and her child?
I grabbed my wife by the forearm, temporarily diverting her attention from the newspaper she had been reading. “I think she’s breast feeding,” I announced a bit too loudly.
“And?” she asked rhetorically.
“That’s kinda weird,” I remarked, being sure to keep my eyes fixed on anything but – well, you know!
“It’s perfectly natural,” my wife responded nonchalantly.
“In Starbucks!” I contested.
My wife, who had continued to read her paper throughout this back-and-forth, gazed up at me over her reading glasses.
“You’re unbelievable,” she replied, shaking her head.
Hey! Don’t get me wrong! I grew up in the sixties when it was pretty much anything goes, and I’m as open-minded as the next guy when it comes to things like this– perhaps more-so than most. After all - it is natural. But in the middle of Starbuck’s? In the middle of the day? In front of me!
So, if you happen to be sitting at Starbuck’s in the Target store in Easton, remember this; I’ll be watching you!
Rant #2 – What Would Miss Manners Think?
I was at Dunkin Donuts one day last week; the one on the corner of Route 138 and Plymouth Drive. I’m sure many of you are saying, “Hey, you drink a lot of coffee.”
Yeah, so what’s it to you? You got a problem with that? Oh, sorry. The caffeine you know – makes me a little testy at times.
Anyway, I’m was sitting at Dunkin Donuts, having my coffee and observing – yes, I do a lot of that too – when a group of kids walked in. I’d say they were probably in their early teens – four boys and a girl.
After placing their orders and grabbing their breakfast sandwiches and large Coffee Coolatta’s loaded with whipped cream, the boys sat down at the table next to me – a table for four. I thought nothing of it until the girl arrived at the table and I realized she had nowhere to sit.
Now, I know what you’re thinking - at least those of you who grew up in my era. You’re expecting me to tell you that one of the boys got up and gave the young lady his seat, right? Well, that didn’t happen. I kept expecting it to happen. It definitely should have happened. But it didn’t. The poor girl stood there next to the table the entire time the kids were there. Unbelievable!
Is it me? Am I old-fashioned? Out of the loop? Over the proverbial hill?
Are kids no longer taught the basics of etiquette? Do the ethics of our society no longer dictate that a man relinquish his seat to a lady? When did this change? Apparently I missed it.
Over the years, I’ve noticed the steady decline of the traditional good manners that I was taught as a young man; the behaviors that were once accepted as being etched in stone; the actions that were expected of a civilized human being; the things that separated us from the apes.
There are basic behaviors that were once expected of a man - such as giving up his seat to a lady or an older person – removing his hat when entering a building – opening the door or holding the door open for the next person behind him, whether they be male or female - walking on the outside of the sidewalk, next to the street, when he’s walking with a woman – saying ‘excuse me’ when he bumps into someone. There are more examples, but I’ll stop with these few.
What the heck is going on? I’d really like to hear from some of you on this. Either shoot me an email or, even better; add a comment at the end of this column. It only takes a minute to register and you can remain anonymous. No last names are required and your email address will remain hidden. No one will bother you. Come on – let’s get some feedback on this subject.
Rant # 3 – Snow Way!
I have one final rant. It’s about the snow. Lots of snow. Snow so deep it’s up to the windows on the side of my house. So much snow that my thirty-foot driveway is now a fifteen-foot driveway – and shrinking! So much snow that I can’t find my mailbox inside a snow bank that’s the size of Mt. Everest and I have to drive to the South Easton Post Office, which is five times the distance from my house as the Easton Post Office and nearly as far away as the North Easton Post Office, in order to get my mail - which raises another legitimate, yet totally unrelated rant. Why do we have three Zip Codes in this town?
I love snow. I really do. I love lobster too but, believe it or not; when my wife and I go on vacation to Maine or Canada, we eat so much lobster that by the end of our trip we don’t want to see another spiny crustacean for a long time. And it’s the same with snow. Enough is enough! The Board of Selectman has already added funds to the snow removal budget for this season and by the time you read this, if the weather prognosticators are correct, there will be even more snow.
And driving! I don’t even want to go there! It’s nearly impossible to pull out onto the road from a side street without putting your life in jeopardy due to the size of the snow banks. I’m contemplating buying a team of huskies and a sled!
End of Rant #3
I guess it doesn’t do any good to rant and rave, but it’s a great release. It’s not the guys like me, those of us who are vocal, that you have to watch out for. It’s the ones who sit back and say nothing about anything, allowing the rage to build inside them until they explode and they go up on top of a tower somewhere and start picking people off with a sniper- rifle. And when the TV reporters descend on this guy’s neighborhood to find out what made him tick, the neighbors always say, “He was a quiet man. He pretty much kept to himself.” They’re the dangerous ones.
Life! What a rollercoaster ride! We’ll get through it, though. After all, we’re all in this together.
Make it a great week!