I’ve never been to Europe.
Wait. Let me amend that: I had previously never been to Europe. I am now currently in Europe for the first time ever and I am having a wide variety of interesting experiences. One of them is this here high-speed train ride I am currently enjoying. 120 mph of PURE SPEED. All for the bargain price of approximately 10% of my monthly salary. If the UK is nothing else, it is expensive as all hell. But hey, I’m blogging from a TRAIN hauling ass through the completely gorgeous English countryside, so at least I’m getting something other than just a seat for all my shiny pennies…
Like one would expect, I am not alone on this train, which means that I am having one of those previously-alluded-to “interesting experiences.” I’ll start with the bad because I do believe it’s best to end on a high note, just as a general rule in life.
So far, I have been on this iron steed of speed for just under two hours. For the entirety of those ALMOST-TWO HOURS, THE MOST HEINOUS CHILD IN THE ENTIRE WORLD HAS BEEN CRYING. But not just any kind of crying, melt-down crying. And to boot, the child’s own mother is fully aware that the kid is FAKING. She keeps saying ‘oh ______, would you please stop faking?’ and then the kid GIGGLES and keeps on screamin’ on! This apparently entertains “mummy,” and so sometimes, she giggles too because oh goddamn isn’t it just SIDE-SPLITTINGLY HILARIOUS that my kid is having a marathon session fake tantrum!
My friend Rachel, who just gave birth to a beautiful baby boy, Joseph Danger, on May 16 (dudebaby weighed 6 lbs 10 oz at birth. So did I. Therefore, Joseph Danger will be awesome) was joking recently about how moms sit around and have weird conversations about things like the colors of their children’s bowel movements or upchuck, and other such delightful topics, often times without realizing that such discussions would be considered completely inappropriate in any other audience. Rachel was also wise enough to note that when she found herself in those “kids do/say the darnedest things” conversations, she could also envision the same conversation with her non-parent peers and where they might lack a similar level or interest or compassion. Parents, she knew, seemed to always forget that kids – theirs or just kids in general – usually aren’t that funny to people that don’t have kids. In fact, that’s often why we choose to not have them…
Here’s the thing: I like kids – OPK (other peoples’ kids). WHEN THEY DON’T SUCK. I hope to be the World’s Best Aunt (to all my sisters – DVC 4 LYF) to Joe Joe Potato Danger and Erica’s bun-in-the-oven and any other babies that grace my friends’ lives. But when I encounter BAD babies (that wasn’t an acronym… I really meant bad), I feel a strong urge to express my inner Mike Tyson. And yes, that is another reason I think I’d best not have a baby. My step-mom is a frickin’ genius. She understood, like Rachel, that the seemingly infinite compassion and emotional/physical endurance moms can sustain in order to attend to their screaming babies would not exist outside of herself. So, like the brilliant woman she is, she drugged her kids. Yeah, you heard me. DRUGS. Hush little baby don’t say a word/mama’s gonna give you an antihistamine. Benedryl for all before flights = no crying baby, which, coincidentally also = happy EVERYONE ELSE. So for all you people out there who are wondering how to be a good parent AND a good neighbor, the answer is drugs.
Moving on to interesting experience #2 – the good one.
I am sitting across from a nice lady and man, both of whom appear to be in their late 40s, but more likely their 50s. They’ve both got “parent of grown kids” written allllllll over their faces. First, the guy gets on his cell phone and as far as I can discern from some basic key words, he’s speaking English, but I swear to you oh faithful reader, I could not understand ANYTHING he was saying. There’s a faint possibility that perhaps he was speaking Welsh, but in any case, it was the first time I can remember hearing my own first language and not understanding one iota. It blew my mind. I hope it happens again.
Then, his wife, who is really kind, beautiful, but faintly reminds me of Long Island women – or maybe just Mike Meyers’ impersonation of Jewish menopausal New Yorkers – with the amount of HUGE gemstone rings she’s wearing on each finger, starts to loudly acknowledge to me her shared sense of frustration with socially-insensitive mommy. I start thinking that this woman really could be just the sweetest stranger I’ve met so far… I don’t know, there’s just something so “British countryfolk nice” about her pear-shaped English plumpness (or is it Welsh??? The jury’s still out…) and her bright and slightly ill-fitting Gap trench coat. She and her husband chat quietly, smile genuinely and often, and are otherwise perfect gentlepersons when BAM! Linda Richamanshirecastletowne yawns and flashes her TONGUE RING! Even now, I don’t know what to say except THIS TRIP HAS BEEN AWESOME.