As a stay at home mom, I deal with my fair share of loneliness. There are times when I realize that I have spent multiple days without speaking to another adult (other than my husband). In New Hampshire, the general feeling of being alone was made worse by the fact that all of my friends lived far enough away that it was difficult to see them during the day. We lived in a crowded area, but there weren’t any other stay at home moms or dads in the neighborhood, so for the most part I was by myself with Zoey during the day. Now that we live in Gardiner, Zo and I have been out and about more frequently, visiting stores and getting to know the area.
Maybe I’ve spent too much time “away” and just don’t remember Maine being like this, but man, people here are friendly. I find myself in conversations with people everywhere I go. 90% of the time, I like talking to people. It makes me feel included, and it’s always nice to talk to other adults. But there have been a few times lately when I’ve been cornered by some kind of odd people.
1) Hitler Guy
This one started out okay. I was comparing prices on hamburg and this little old man was doing the same thing. He said “Things are so expensive now,” and I agreed. Mistake. Agreeing with him apparently set him off and he started telling me about how what this nation really needs is a leader like Hitler to come and get these “damn commies” under control. He continued by following me through the aisles explaining that “Even though Hitler killed some people, he took care of the gangs.”
What do you even say to that? Zoey and I hid in the bra section until he went away.
2) Shoe Lady
I have to preface this by saying that my daughter doesn’t wear shoes. She’s learning to walk and developmentally, those toes are there to help her keep her balance. This is hard for some, usually elderly, people to understand.
Zoey and I were wandering around some store, the way we always do, when a woman walks up to me and starts talking to Zoey. This happens all the time. It’s a little weird because she only knows three words and she sure as hell isn’t going to say them to an elderly stranger, but whatever:
“Hello, baby. Look at your eyes! You have such big eyes! Look at your toes! Where are your shoes? Why are you barefoot? Can mommy not afford shoes? WHERE ARE YOUR SHOES????”
It was like a passive aggressive stream of consciousness. This woman continued loudly asking Zoey where her shoes were, even as I walked away. She never made eye contact with me or spoke to me at all. It was like I was invisible and Zoey had somehow made it to the store on her own.
3) The Stranger’s Baby
This conversation wasn’t with a stranger. It was with a stranger’s child, who happened to head my way. Nick, Zoey and I were at the self check out at Walmart, when a two(ish) year old girl wanders away from her mom/caretaker over to me. Her mom(?) is deeply absorbed in an argument with the check out people about discount chicken, and doesn’t seem to notice that her daughter(?) has taken off.
The little girl comes over to me and points at Zoey, who I’m holding. I squat down and talk to the little girl for a minute about the baby and let her touch Zoey’s hand. All this time, her mom(?) still hasn’t noticed that she’s gone. The chicken argument continued to escalate. After a minute, I send her back over to her mom(?), who doesn’t seem to see that she’s back.
We keep doing our self check out thing. When I look back over, the little girl is trying to follow different strangers out of the store. I stop her, bring her back over to her mom(?), who is still arguing about the chicken.
Finally we had to leave, but I kept checking to make sure we didn’t have a stow away baby following us home.
Because we live in Maine, I usually expect to see people I know while I’m out and about. But sometimes, I get sucked into conversations that I would be happier not to get into.