One of my favorite things about living in a Northeastern city is cutting the bullsh*t. I do not need to pretend to be nice to people and they, in turn, do not pretend to be nice to me. It is an enormous relief to not have expectations of people. I KNOW they will not hold the door for me or they will cut me off in traffic or they will cut in front of me in line. I know this so I do it right back. I hate faux cheer and saying hello to strangers. If I don't know you, I don't want to be talking to you. End of story. People mind their own business in a city. Occassionally I do not like it, like the time I sprained my ankle while running, fell down and cried and people just walked over me. That was sweet. But mostly I like my anonymity and I like being a part of what many people consider the rudest city in the country. It's not rude, dude. It's realistic.
All this changes when you have a baby. We had a mini taste of this with Rocky, but oh lord it is 100 times worse with a baby. I have never had more people offer to hold doors, help carry the stroller upstairs or (most annoying of all) talk to me on line when I am stuck and then must feel uncomfortable for 20 minutes as we continue to wait and I have nothing left to say. Everyone is up in my face, oohing and aahing and asking questions and commenting. Gee, you think my baby is small? NO ONE else has mentioned that. Thanks so much. I am probably not SENSITIVE about it or anything. Or how about: "Is your baby sleeping through the night?" Love this one. When would you ever ask a stranger if they had a good nights sleep and why do you care. Chances are, if my baby is NOT sleeping through the night, the last thing I want to do is chat about it with a stranger on line at the post office. So, my plan is to make a handy list of answers to questions that I will hand out as hush fliers. When a stranger looks like they may open their mouth to talk to me, I will place my fingers over my lips, say "shhh" and hand them the following:
"Thank you. My baby is super cute. We love her. I think we will keep her (insert laughter). Yes, her father is so tall, we have no idea why she is so small. But her doctor says she is just petite. It's ok. She's healthy. She is sleeping through the night, thanks so much for your concern, actually. She started when we brought her home so it is really nothing we have done. No, we do not credit anyone for it. Just luck, I guess. I did not have hemorroids during my pregnancy, but I did have one after labor. Wanna hear about it? Also, I hear you are having money troubles and your husband is out to lunch with a young blond who has a nice rack right now. Have a good day. Thanks for chatting."
And they call this city rude.