HUMOR – A few days ago an elderly woman riding a motorized shopping cart heckled my children and me as we walked into a nearby grocery store. This experience may not sound especially unsettling until you imagine the combined hatred of all of the trolls from the Internet embodied in one old woman sitting on 12 volts of shopping cart muscle. That was this woman. She was mean and she was terrifying.
There is an episode of “Cheers” in which Norm says, “It’s a dog-eat-dog world and I’m wearing Milkbone underwear.”
I am having a Milkbone underwear kind of week.
My family is on an extended summer vacation in Louisville, Ky. and I am desperately homesick for St. George. I have never been publicly heckled while grocery shopping in St. George – “publicly” being the operative word in this scenario.
Not to overdo it on the “Cheers” references, but as the theme song says, “Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name and they’re always glad you came. You want to be where you can see our troubles are all the same, you want to go where everybody knows your name.”
St. George does not have a Cheers bar where the locals can gather and commiserate, but St. George does have Swig. I miss sitting in the line of moms in minivans in the Swig drive-through looking for a hit of carbonation and caffeine at 10 a.m. Those minivan drivers get me. Our troubles are all the same.
“Home is not where you live,” Christian Morgenstern said, “but where they understand you.”
Strangely, as a stay-at-home mother of four, I rarely feel understood when I travel outside of Utah. Families with more than two or three children are becoming increasingly rare and the stay-at-home parent is on the endangered species list.
Jim Gaffigan put it this way: “Big families are like waterbed stores. They used to be everywhere and now they’re just weird.”
I wish I could record the looks on some people’s faces as I have dragged my children through downtown Seattle or Dallas or Cincinnati. The look says it all. It says what Jim Gaffigan said so eloquently on another occasion: “Four kids? Well … that’s one way to live your life.”
I am constantly asked if “all of those children are (mine)” in the same tone that one might use if I showed up to a Sierra Club meeting driving an SUV, wearing the pelt of an endangered wolf and a desert tortoise shell as a helmet.
Last summer I even had a street performer in downtown Seattle stop mid-folk song and tell me over his microphone that I had made a lot of blonde babies. Thank you for the reminder, Seattle street performer, without your help I might never have remembered where all of these little people came from.
What is happening in society when being a parent classifies you as one of the crazy people? What does it say about society when a stay-at-home mother cannot walk into a grocery store or down a city street without fear of derision?
I miss St. George. I miss Swig. I want to be with people whose troubles are all the same. And I really want to get the “Cheers” theme song out of my head.
Elise Haynes chronicles family life in her blog Haynes Family Yard Sale. Any opinions stated in this column are her own and not necessarily those of St. George News.
Email: [email protected]
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.