Kids Today…and What We Can Teach Them

May 28, 2018

So Michael and I went to Whole Foods after our work out this morning to pick up some snacks for later today and also to have some pizza. Because Whole Foods makes really, really good pizza.

When we arrived, there was no cheese pizza. The guy making pizzas told me it would be about 10-15 minutes because he had a to-go order. I said that was fine, that I would wait. I stood patiently watching the French Open as this very nice man made his pizzas.

Shortly after he had finished the to-go order and had put a cheese pizza in the oven, a very tall father wearing a red t-shirt, with three school-age kids, all wearing Vineyard Vines, came over and began milling about the various available pizza selections, which, at that time, were limited to lemon ricotta zucchini and mushroom/meatball. Which is great if you’re an adult, but not so much if you’re a kid. The family walked away, then came back. They stood right next to me, not two feet away.

Another guy came up and asked the chef if there was any cheese pizza. The guy looked right at me and said, “yes, it’s coming right out, and this lady is waiting.”

The pizza comes out, the guy puts it on the counter (it’s self serve), I reach for the spatula, but Red T-Shirt pushes Vineyard Vines toward the counter. I’m standing RIGHT THERE. Kid take the spatula and Dad helps him get a slice.

I say, “you know, I’ve been standing here 15 minutes waiting for the cheese pizza.”

Without even looking at me, the guy says to his kid, “say you’re sorry,” in a tone of voice that communicates, “there’s nothing to be sorry for, my precious, perfect child who can do no wrong, and fuck you, you dumb bitch.”

The kid says nothing, takes his pizza and walks away with Red T-Shirt.

I call after him, “You saw me, the pizza guy told you I was waiting, and still you allowed your kid to butt ahead of me.”

He turns around and with a really nasty look on his face says, “He said he was sorry, and he’s nine years old. What’s your problem?”

I say, “Actually, he didn’t say he was sorry, and nine is old enough to know to wait your turn. So is forty, or however old you are, for that matter, but if you don’t know how to take turns, I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that he doesn’t, either.”

He said, “hey, you got your pizza, didn’t you?”

Which, indeed, I did. It was good, too.

As I ate my pizza, I wondered if perhaps the kid was on the spectrum, or had some special needs, and that made me feel bad about how I had acted, except I’ve parented a child on the spectrum, and in our house, that wasn’t an excuse not to follow the rules.

Then I thought, maybe he’s having a bad day and really just needs a blow job, and I felt bad for him, but then I thought, that’s true of many men, and it’s also not an excuse not to follow the rules.

Then I thought, to what extent did my impatience to get my pizza (recall, if you will, that Whole Foods pizza is REALLY good) influence my behavior, and I thought, more than it should have, and that’s not a good reason to be confrontational.

Later, we saw the guy in the parking lot as we were getting into our car. He was struggling with a stroller. I said to Michael, “I owe him an apology.”

“No, you don’t,” he said. “You didn’t do anything wrong. He was a jerk who needs to teach his kid some manners.”

I felt bad about it nonetheless, and if I had been alone, I might have approached him and said I was sorry. Since Michael is smarter than me and contemplated the very real possibility that this guy might have punched me in the face, he kept driving.

Once at home, I got out my pruning shears and trimmed up a few trees, all the while asking myself how I could have handled things better, and I wish I had handed my empty pizza container to the kid and said in a sincerely nice old lady voice, “hey, can you get one for me, too?”

I don’t know if that would have made the point about the social contract that we should always wait out turn, but perhaps it would have clued the kid in, for a split second, at least, that the world does not revolve around him, as I am fairly certain Mom and Dad have taught him it does.

So that’s what I’ll do next time.

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