Saturday September 1. 2001

bad moon rising

My Latin teacher in high school, Mr. Lausch, is one of the smartest people I know and probably one of my favorite people in the world. I didn't learn much Latin from him (none of it stuck, I couldn't conjugate a verb now if my life depended on it), but instead learned how to recognize a fine wine, cried along with him when we watched Tosca on video, and drew on his amazing, encyclopedic knowledge of the Holocaust for my Humanities Seminar. He is truly one of the most interesting people I know, but when he told us once in 9th grade how the full moon made all his students crazy, I thought he was making it up.

"Trust me," he said. "I've seen it happen time and again. Every month at that time everyone gets just a little crazy."

I didn't believe him until today.

Today at work, things just seemed a little...off. Things kept falling over, I scraped and bruised myself on shelves and stacks of books more than usual, and tempers were short. I chalked it up to everyone just having a bad day. There's been a lot of stress going around because we are ridiculously understaffed, as always seems to be the case at large retail stores, and even more stress because the management doesn't seem to be in any hurry to rectify that problem.

But the customers were unusually rude today for some reason. I found myself huddled at the customer service desk, bitching with my coworkers more than usual. Even our general manager (who I'll call Coffee), was muttering expletives under her breath. I hate being treated like less than a human being, I hate when people act as if it's expected that I fucking wait on them.

I was back in music when it happened.

I could hear a baby crying. Ok, no big deal, this happens a lot. Then I saw a tall, middle aged woman, who was in the music section, scream across the store, "STOP THAT CHILD FROM CRYING! YOU'RE IT'S MOTHER, FEED YOUR CHILD, GODDAMMIT! STOP IT FROM CRYING! A PUBLIC PLACE IS NOT THE PLACE FOR A CHILD TO CRY!" In a huff, the woman turned around and started heading towards me. Oh god. The baby continued crying. She turned around again in the direction of the crying child and screamed some more. "FEED YOUR CHILD! I DON'T HESITATE TO TELL PARENTS WHEN THEY'RE NEGLECTING THEIR CHILDREN! STOP YOUR CHILD FROM CRYING!"

She came up to the desk.

"I can't believe the nerve of some people. If I see parents mistreating their children, I'm going to speak up. I'm not one of those people who just stands by!"

I was horrified. I couldn't even speak, I just sort of turned away. She plopped herself down at the listening station near my desk (after I fetched her a stool to sit on like a good little lackey), and between songs took off her headphones and complained to me about what a horrible mother that women was, how she shoudn't have brought her child into a store like this, and on and on and on.

Val told me later the woman she had been yelling at came up to the cafe afterward and was near crying because of what the woman said. Ok, imagine you're a parent who brings your child into a retail establishment. The child wasn't screaming, it was just crying, hunger crying, I want a nap crying, I want Mommy to hold me crying, not I'm being bodily tortured crying. And imagine some stranger not only telling you how you should parent your child, but screaming it in front of a crowded bookstore.

I wanted to put my fist through that woman's face. Or at least tell her off, tell her to get out of the fucking store for being so callous and rude. Decorum (and the desire to keep my job) kept me from doing so.

I really think some people are just born without a sensitivity switch. Either that or it's stuck permanently in the off position.

One Year Ago:
"I really hate funerals."

Two Years Ago:
"I skipped all the pep rallies (hid out in the chorus room and played the piano), didn't go to any dances or football games, and going to the prom was one of the biggest wastes of time and money I've ever had."