Food For Thought

I’ve been thinking.

About how awful our world has become.

No, this is not about Paris or any of the horrific events that one keeps reading about on a daily basis. Though, I have to admit that it’s probably the culmination of the little acts of unkindness that go on. In everyday lives, by ordinary people. Maybe even me.

It happened on Sunday. After a trip to the mall, grocery shopping and all our usual activities, Hubby, toddlerT and I reached a popular pizza place to eat our favorite Chicago Style Deep Dish  pizza. ToddlerT loves being outside and was being an angel (contrary to her terrible two behavior at home) and more. A mostly quiet toddler- check. Good food- double check. Nice ambience- check. Weather- triple check. (I was getting away with just a sweater in November in Illinois, after all). Great conversation- check.

And then we heard it- a soft voice humming a lullaby. We looked around, realized it was the table behind us, a family that was leaving. Afraid of being thought as prying, we looked away. A few minutes later, the lady who’d been humming came up to us and apologized for her child. (the family was just leaving.) The child had some challenges and had been a little loud throughout dinner. And so, she came up to us and apologized. We were taken aback and could only muster  a pathetic ‘Don’t bother. We have kids too!’

I wondered what all the family had been through, that they felt the need to apologize to fellow diners. I’m guessing they had been judged and scorned and made to feel queer, unhappy and self conscious for their child. I felt horrible, because I am part of that society that has wronged them, right?

Our next neighbors were a sophisticated twosome. But twenty minutes into the meal, they started being tipsy. And loud. And a little annoying. Actually, really annoying, especially as I was trying to shush toddlerT from saying ‘No shouting’. Luckily, we were done with dinner and exited the place.

But it occurred to me in the car, that this was wrong. A nice mom was apologizing for the behavior of her child- something that he had no control over. It’s almost as if expected. But no one expected similar things from the slightly inebriated duo. Not to say, that everybody must be a teetotaler or anything, but just saying. I did not even give them an angry glance, which is more than what the other lady must have been through. And that’s when I started thinking, we turn the other way, with drunks, with judgmental superiors, with intolerant higher ups. We don’t stand up to the small acts of nastiness, unkindness, intolerance. Isn’t that giving way to bigger issues?

I am not sure if this is a rant. Or an act of despair. I am just confused. I also have no idea what I can do to correct this. Probably that is how I am perpetrating injustice. I am sorry.

The only thing that I can do is be nice. Be tolerant. Be forgiving. Be more compassionate and cut everyone some slack. And teach toddlerT to do the same.

And to the Lady at the Pizza Place, No issues. You and your son were no problem at all! Ad to all reading this, sorry if you felt bad at any word pr phrase. It was unintentional. And I am truly sorry.

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