Thursday, November 08, 2007

Caught in the Crossfire

Yesterday was gymnastics day. The only thing I like about gymnastics day is that it gives me an hour in the afternoon to read nearly uninterrupted, save the frequent glances to see what brilliant maneuvers the girls are performing at that particular moment. Somersaults...great. So much for Beijing. I'm usually one of the few dads occupying the chatty, mommy and kiddie-dominated observation area. I don't mean to offend here because I know what it feels like to be alone at home with the kids all day long, but I can tell that these moms are craving social activity. It's sometimes hard to hear myself think over the din of moms fighting to get in their daily allotment of words while their kids fight to get the attention of their moms.

I've finally gotten around to starting the last of the Harry Potter books, and it's been so good that I've had great difficulty in putting it down. So to say that I was REALLY looking forward to my reading time is an understatement. After the girls scurried off to their respective classes, I found a chair in a relatively uninhabited area of the waiting room and sat down. There was a pregnant mom two chairs to my left, a mom in front of me diagonally to my left, and a mom with a cute little baby three chairs to my right. I smiled at the baby and Baby-Mom as I took my seat, then dove into my book. Not a minute later, a laptop-carrying mom and her daughter greeted Baby-Mom and slid into the two seats separating us.

Diagonal-Mom turned around and let out a loud gasp. Computer-Mom did the same. "HOW ARE YOU!!" they shrieked almost in unison, as though running into long-lost childhood friend.

"Your hair looks great! You finally found a stylist?"

"I took awhile but I really like her..."

"She did a great job. I love it!"

"Awww, thank you!"

They went on like this for a few minutes, and I couldn't help but feel like I was in their way. I thought about asking Diagonal-Mom if she would like to trade seats, you know, so they could talk more easily, but thought that might come across as rude and self-serving. So I stayed put. And as I really had nothing to contribute to this conversation, I kept my nose stuck in my book. Until they started harping on their husbands. This topic of discussion attracted both Baby-Mom and Pregnant Mom as well. It was like a shark feeding frenzy. I was completely surrounded.

"My husband's out of town until Saturday."

"This is going to sound really bad, but I kind of like it when my husband goes out of town."

"I know!"

"Oh, me too."

"I can get so much more done at home when he's not around."


"I can get the laundry done and completely put away..."

"I stay up as late as I want and do whatever I want...I get the house so clean..."

"...and you don't have to worry about feeding the kids Kraft macaroni..."

CHORUS: "Yes!"

On and on they went until it started to sound like a June Cleaver secret society gone horribly, horribly wrong. At some point in the discussion, I looked up from my book with an amused grin. Part of me wanted in on this conversation, and part of me wanted them to shut up so I could fully enjoy my book. I decided to give the former a shot. The plan was to allow them to notice me listening in on their conversation (how could I not!), and then have them invite me to contribute the masculine point of view, which was basically this: you can do anything you want and you choose to do laundry? You ladies need to get a life!

The master plan was a flop. I looked around and followed their conversation for a few moments, looking for an in, but they completely ignored me. They had no interested in the masculine perspective. Oh, well.
I guess you can't help everybody. They eventually turned their conversation to Crate & Barrel, and really soft bedsheets before redirecting their attention to their children flopping around in the next room. I shrugged it off and peacefully returned to my book, which is all I wanted in the first place.


The Beast Mom said...

We're all better off not knowing certain things about what the other gender thinks. Imagine if we knew everything. That would actually kind of suck. It might cause total social implosion. ;)


the battered ham said...

Aye...ignorance, in this case anyway, is indeed bliss.

muddleman said...

The reverse is also true. As Larry Miller once said, if women knew what men were thinking, they'd never stop slapping us.

As to the women you were with, my wife was almost like them after 6 years of being home with the kids. Luckily, once she went back to work and started dealing with other adults (besides other moms, that is), she went back to normal.