Grocery shopping is one of my favorite activities. But, more often than not, my zeal wears off the minute five people decide to have a neighborhood watch meeting in the middle of an aisle; or two post-coital undergrads’ steamy make-out session overflows into my cart; or a buttoned-up asshole hovers right in front of, but makes no move toward, the flour. And then there are the inattentive parents.
Alright, go ahead, roll your eyes. Here it comes: gay man rant about absentminded parents.
I don’t mind kids. I used to be an incredibly annoying one, I’m sure.
I have held two babies approximately three times—meaning, three times between the two. Clearly, I’m no baby-whisperer. And I don’t want to be, because that just sounds creepy. It’s clear that parents have to deal with drooling, pooping, crying machines at home every single day. And then there’s the baby.
Now, I don’t mean to sound callous. Several of my closest friends have recently had children, and they’re ridiculously adorable, and have even made this cynical brute smile and coo. I know what you’re thinking: He’s not butch enough to be a “brute.” And you’d be right. But here’s the thing: I can deal with kids; I can watch them if need be; I can let them drool on my hands; I can—with enough liquor in me—probably change a diaper without vomiting. More than that, though, I can respect every parent’s decision to have their kid.
Just don’t let little Sundance run in front of my cart while you ogle the quinoa and ask the Whole Foods sample table staffer if the probiotic salad dressing—hand-squeezed from free-range honey badgers that morning—is really organic. Because I’ll run the little munchkin over. Dimples and all.
And I have.
Here’s the scene three months ago: I’m pushing my cart after a long work day, and trying not to freak out about the fact that the three things I’ve gotten total approximately thirty dollars. And then something squeaks, and my cart comes to an abrupt halt. Or maybe it’s more of an “Eeeek.” Regardless, I look down and notice there’s a child stuck under the front end of my cart. I’m not kidding: Kid-under-cart on Aisle Five. Then again, I don’t think Whole Foods has “Aisles.”
And I just stare. Because, I mean, what else am I supposed to do? I’m wearing work clothes, and the kid might be bleeding.
You’d think that such a scene would, I don’t know, draw attention. But, meh. Apparently not. So I have to (1) Back up my cart [insert eye roll here]; (2) Make sure Run-Over Child isn’t too physically damaged; (3) Scan nearby hippie-dippy, way-too-pretentious-for-hemp-
By the time I get to Step 4, the identified parent/guardian snaps out of her Kombucha haze and walks over. Thankfully for her leaf-and-bark sandals, she takes her time.
Right at that perfect moment.
When sincere apology for inhibiting Random Gay Man’s shopping experience is appropriate.
I nearly snatch the bandana out of her dreadlocks.
Stunned, I stand in the middle of the aisle. And then I become that person in the middle of the aisle. Thoroughly disgusted, I check out and tote my small bag to my car.
And there, two rows beyond mine, I see Run-Over Child and Disaffected Mother getting into a Land Rover.
Grade A. But curdled.