it takes a village to raise an army...wait no that isn't it

so something strange happened to me at the park today. maybe strange isn't the word,as those of you reading this that live in my neighbourhood will likely not find it alarming at all. perhaps unsettling is more apt.

so i decided to take cohen out to the local park this afternoon for a little blanket r&r. i naively thought it would be sparsely populated but once i got there i realized that it is saturday so of course it was packed. but not just packed with kids laughing and playing gayly with inflated balls. no it was mostly packed with people who came directly from the liquor store to the park bench and had since settled in to an afternoon fiesta. i parked us down on the grass anyway. live and let live and all.

so i am taking some pictures and explaining to cohen about how alcohol is something that one should try not to abuse when over walks a 30 something year old semi-homeless boozey smelling but seemingly nice woman and the oh so familiar words "how old is your baby?" leave her lips. 4 weeks was my reply and then the awkward silent pause followed.

now regular readers here know that i have been struggling with the idle stranger conversation. but i have come to a conclusion about it and it is this: i am completely incomepetent at speaking with strangers, they slightly scare me and i simply have no idea what to say. i got this way from a childhood of being taught to fear strangers and from living in vancouver where most of the time talking with a stranger is an enormous mistake. but this isn't good. i am not proud of it. most importantly, i don't want cohen to feel the same. i wish we were more of a community, that we all didn't look at our feet all the time. so with that in mind i smiled at the woman.

this was mistake number one. mistake number two was when she looked at him and said "do you mind?" and i didn't ask "mind what?". in fact i didn't say anything, there was no time. she had scooped him up into her unclean arms faster than i could say "huh?" and there he was completely enclosed by her more than ample body, her face leaning in to his to talk baby with him.

what the hell right? but wait no it gets better, so much better. the aside here would be that i am a chicken. a total and complete wimp when it comes to confrontation. when a person is approaching me, in my path on the sidewalk, i am always the one to move to the other side. it is just easier. so when she started walking back over to the park bench where her husband was sitting, with my baby in her arms, i froze. then i followed her and depsite the fact that in my head i was screaming, out of my mouth came nothing. when she got to the bench she handed him to her husband and then he promptly handed him back to me. clearly he could see the terror in my eyes. then she said thank you for letting me hold your baby and i know that she meant it. i could tell it meant a lot to her. but still i couldn't help thinking, is there not a line? cause i think there is and i am pretty sure it was just crossed.

and yet looking back i am not sure how it could have played out different. i need to get tougher, more affirmative. or more relaxed i guess. i can't decide.

afterwords i found that cute hipster hat at the used store though and somehow it helped to shift the world back to right.

1 comment:

m said...

Oh my god. I don't know what I'd would do in the same situation. Probably the same and totally freaking out on the inside. What can one do?

My guess is that you were at the park at 8th and Brunswick. I used to live there (an apartment, not the actual park) and know the park well. I strongly suggest frequenting other parks.