To the old lady in the supermarket,
When my kids and I stopped to chat to you the other day, this was NOT an invitation to reveal you hated my son’s name.
I’d also like to point out that if you think I was a bit rattled by your rudeness you would be wrong. I was beyond angry.
Let’s backtrack a little. When you started nattering away to me in Woolies without a word of warning, I politely stopped and listened to your rambles. Meanwhile my three boys went bananas, like monkeys at the zoo. Honestly, I’m not sure what I was thinking bringing all three of them with me either, but I guess we really, really needed supplies!
My youngest was doing his best Houdini moves, trying to escape the straps of his seat as he ripped things off the shelves. The other two fought and squashed everything in the trolley. Naturally I was pretty stressed (several older women had already given me filthy looks – not sure what was up their backsides, have they never seen kids before?) but I paused among the chaos to talk to you.
It was a right thing to do, I thought. Maybe I should have known better.
“What’s his name?” you asked about my youngest.
“Elwood,” I replied. And then we were off. Not only did your face screw itself up like you’d just licked a dog poo lollipop, but boy, did you have a lot to to say about it, too.
Remember our little exchange? Perhaps not, but I sure do. It went like this:
“What the hell kind of name is that? What weird sort of country is that from?”
“England, it’s an old-fashioned English name,” I said, tightly.
Your face remained in a state of repulsed contortion, “Well what do you call him? El?!”
“No, Woody actually or Elwood.”
And just when I thought you couldn’t get any ruder you did …
Old, bold and nasty
With your eyes practically bulging out of your head, you then had the AUDACITY to turn to my son and say this: “You poor, poor little boy having a name like that. I feel so sorry for you.”
To say I was shocked was an understatement. You asked about my other boys’ names, Winston and Sonny, and scoffed at them too but by this point I had collected my sanity and was switching off.
You continued on, talking about your own children’s names and your husband’s name selection process, which was an “obvious” segue into talking about how the recent bush back-burning had made your cough worse. Okayyyy.
Lips pressed tightly together in case I said something really bad, I just wheeled my trolley of human chaos away while you were mid-sentence because quite frankly I didn’t want to hear one more word about you, your opinions or your cough.
I don’t care how old you are, you don’t disrespect another’s choices for their children’s names – no matter what they are.
My kids do actually have nice, proper names that I’m very fond of and that suit them well. But even if I had selected crazy made-up monikers, it still wouldn’t have given you the right to critique them in front of me OR directly to them, for heaven’s sake!
Being old and having no filter is not an excuse. I know lots of old people wouldn’t dream of saying anything so rude because they have decent manners!
So old lady in the supermarket, if you can’t control your judgy, negative opinions when it comes to conversing with strangers then I suggest you keep your thoughts to yourself and don’t ask questions you might not like the answer to.
And if I ever see you again you can be sure I’ll be walking the other way and not stopping for a chat because honestly, ain’t nobody got time for that.