Monday, April 24, 2017

Don't Be That Guy

As a mom, I spend a lot of time thinking about our kids, who they may become, what I hope for them, etc. And since CB and I have lofty aspirations for the girls, our overall hope is that they aren’t giant a-holes. I mean, the toddler age does resemble some a-hole adults who I've encountered, but it’s more akin to my drunk friends and me in college. Like the other day, my toddler started crying – with full, thick tears – because I wouldn’t let her repeatedly bang her head up against the wall and told her to be kind to her body. And earlier that day, she threw herself down onto the ground and started tantrum-crying for CB because he helped her out of her car seat and was holding her book bag. We’re such monsters.

So as I walk through life and observe those around me, I realize that I’m focused much less on, say, what career path they choose to take and much more on them never becoming the people I'm about to describe below.

Dear Girls,

Please don't be:

The “that’s not my job” guy.
This person can either actually say those words or simply imply them by their actions. Either way, I loathe him.

I was at Starbucks the other day and they’d run out of half and half. Since I like my coffee to resemble nothing really all that close to coffee, I searched until I saw someone in a Starbucks uniform who wasn’t insanely busy. And actually, I sort of nailed it since this kid was slowly walking out of the back room without any sense of purpose. Perfect!

Me: “Excuse me, would you be able to refill the half-and-half? It seems to be all gone.”
Him, half-looking at me: “Uhhh….” And then he trailed off.
Me, standing there looking around, worried that I’d somehow asked a customer this question by accident. But no! The uniform!: “Oh I’m sorry, are you on break?”
Him, still half-looking at me: “No……”
Me, starting to get nervous out of being confused: “Oh….ok……so would you be able to bring out more half and half?”
Him, walking towards the counter, away from me: “Could you ask someone else? I have to do something.”

And then he walked over to the counter. Where he got a plastic cup of ice. And then walked into the back again without looking at me.


Don’t be that guy, is my point. And while this is an egregious example of someone literally giving zero f’s, there are way more subtle examples everywhere. So, just don’t be this guy in spirit or in practice, ok? Because, as my children, then I’ll be a failure as your mom and I’ve reserved being a mom failure for those times (called current life) where I give you mac n’ cheese three times in one week and that’s only because I ran out of frozen chicken nuggets. Also, don’t bother emailing me about these choices, mom-shamers, because I’m onto you and I, too, give zero f’s.

The person who sends these emails to my Spam folder. 

Have higher aspirations, kids.

The person who takes up the entire damn sidewalk.
You know exactly who you are. You are the person or persons who either (a) walk(s) your dog on an insanely long leash that stretches across the entire NYC sidewalk. Hey, guess what? Other people live in NYC and also use this sidewalk occasionally. I’d like to not have to jump-rope your dog’s leash so that I can get to the subway. And the fact that this seems to annoy you that I’m doing this, makes me want to just scratch at you until you understand how sharing space works. Or (b) walk(s) with your group of friends and there are four or five of you and you somehow think that I should just scooch on over to the street to walk around you guys. Firstly, I can see that you have friends. Rubbing it in my face that you have friends who can walk in a straight line doesn’t make me feel less than. It makes me want to also scratch at you. But secondly, who taught you rules of the road? Because that’s the person I need not to be for my own children, so that people don’t scratch at them publicly or shoulder-check them on purpose out of sidewalk-rage. Not saying I've ever done that, but....I can imagine it happening, is what I'm trying to say.

The person who gets onto a packed train with their backpack on.

Ok, so I realize that I might look a little unstable with this one, since I actually pulled out my phone and took a picture on the crowded train of the guy shoved against me with his damn backpack on. Those are my angry sunglasses in the photo as well. I was too embarrassed to actually just “click” right in his face, so I did it all stealth-like from underneath. But you get the point. 

You’re the worst, this guy, and everyone is thinking it. I can’t believe you didn’t hear me hate-thinking about your choices during this entire 7 minute trip. I’m a loud thinker! And I also tried doing the shame-look at you a few times, too, but you either didn’t care, couldn’t see my eyes through my sunglasses, or thought I was trying to pick you up.

So don’t be this guy, again, is my point.

The person who needs a safe space from ideas that are different. Please don't be that person. Learn to live in the discomfort that is differing viewpoints. Viewpoints that make your blood boil and stand against the very things that you are? Figure out how to counter those viewpoints logically, rationally, and go ahead and throw some passion in there. Rise above. But please don't tell me you need a safe space. You know who needed a safe space? Malala Yousafzai. You know who doesn't get a safe space? Me, when someone gets on the train with their backpack, no matter how badly I want one.

I do realize that some of these seem city-specific, and that some make me sound crazy - that's not news. But again, my dear daughters, it’s not just the practice, it’s the spirit behind the intent. Which is what I will explain to you once you're old enough to understand. At the moment, I find myself breathing in and out slowly and with purpose when you ask me for milk and then I say “Ok, let’s go get your milk” and then you start crying hysterically because I left the room to get you milk. So we’re a few stages away from the “don’t be that guy” conversation, I do realize this. But it's coming. And now we're all prepared.

I love you.

Love, Mom


  1. Holy crap, yes to all of these things!! Except I've totally been the person with the long dog leash and I'M SORRY!