January 11, 2012

The Recent Paterfamilias On: Little Old Ladies

photo by: Lilith Ecate

            The Recent Paterfamilias is growing tired of nosy little old ladies. 

            But please, allow me to explain. 

            Perhaps it’s a New York thing, though I can hardly believe that to be the case, but little old ladies seem to feel it is their right, no, their responsibility to offer their wizened opinion upon any topic at-large.  And the topic at-large which seems to constantly hang about the neck of this Recent Paterfamilias?  Children, parenting, filial conduct, and et al. 

            Just this week, the R.P. was stopped by a little old lady, while crossing Broadway, in the middle of the crosswalk, with turning traffic oncoming, and then she’s there calling “You!  You with the dog!” and what she wants to tell me is that the baby I have strapped to my back looks uncomfortable. 

            Now, I am sure this was true.  The baby (my baby) I had strapped to my back at the time did not care for the back-born baby carrier in which she was being carried about, so, in an act of protest, to demonstrate her distaste, she had bent herself backward at the waist and as sticking straight out horizontally. 

            I did not need some little old lady to point this out to me, nor did I need her to inform me that my baby’s positioning looked unnatural.  So, this Recent Paterfamilias was polite enough to tell the old coot to mind her own business, and then I walked away. 

            On this most recent New Year’s Eve, while walking home from my in-law’s Upper East Side afternoon baby-friendly New Year’s get together, my beloved darling offspring decided to have an emotional meltdown. 

When my daughter does this (which is more often than any human would like), it sounds as if someone is shoving sharpened chopsticks under her eyelids. 

As we were passing an East 63rd Street townhouse just off of Park Avenue, the matron of said townhouse, while putting the finishing decorating touches on her courtyard (and shouldn’t she have staff for that?), turned her focus on the passing stroller which apparently held what could only be assumed by the casual observer as a screaming demon, and, with her scowl deepening, snarled, “Pick.  Her.  Up.” 

The Recent Paterfamilias thought his wife was going to explode.  The R.P. himself was polite enough to tell the old coot to mind her own business, and then I walked away. 

Nosy little old ladies also abound in my apartment building (there must be some sort of honing device in the basement), so, given that my baby and I have apparently become fixtures in the neighborhood, I have adopted a new policy:  When I am running an errand, or taking the dog out, or doing any other single little thing while the baby is being cared for by the wife of the R.P. or the baby sitter of the R.P., when any of these nosy little old ladies catches sight of me, sans child, and comes running over while letting out an exaggerated gasp and exclaiming with all the tone she can muster, “Where’s your baby?!!” I have proceeded to tell them: “Oh, I just left her upstairs to amuse herself with a book of matches and a steak knife.” 

I can’t be certain if the nosy little old ladies believe me or not, but it does serve to shut them up just long enough for me to get of the area and on with my business (which more often than not includes cleaning up dog poop and keeping said dog, let’s call him “Tedward,” from attacking some poor defenseless old Labrador Retriever with three legs, one eye, and less than a half a lease on life).  


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