06 July 2007

Reason No. 1,209 why I'm not ready to have children

Unlike most women my age, I never had the pleasure of babysitting neighborhood kids to earn extra money. It's not that I declined offers (or an offer) but rather that young mothers looked at me and my neatly aligned Gene Hackman/Mandy Patinkin/Ralph Fiennes Trapper Keeper mosaic, heard the expletive-filled Above the Rim soundtrack blasting out of my chunky foam earphones and took note of the CD-sized "I'm a citizen for Court TV!" button pricked through the front pocket of my Mets-blue Jansport and just knew I wasn't someone to whom they felt immediately comfortable entrusting their children.

Compounding their reluctance was the fact that I didn't have any younger siblings or nearby younger cousins and thus had no firsthand experience wiping, changing, fixing, hushing, and all those other seemingly natural maternal reactions with which a proper babysitter should be equipped.

To my peers, those who spent their Saturday evenings clocking in at this house or that house for a night of child-friendly television and mac-n-cheese-n-Vienna-Sausages, I was the unlucky one, the one who didn't get to coo and frolic on all-fours until Mom and Dad returned from their neatly scheduled once-a-month trip to an upscale chain restaurant.

To me, I was spared.

Besides, Saturday night was for doing extra credit, watching NBC's 'Thrillogy' and scouring magazines for more brooding pictures of Gene Hackman, Mandy Patinkin and Ralph Fiennes to occupy the few bits of available real estate still left in my take-to-school masterpiece.

Now, at the tender age of 27, in large part because I've spent little if any time around those whose years number below my own, I find I'm just not the "Awwww, look at her/him" type when I see a Bugaboo pram coming at me with a nestled-in Juicy-Couture-clad toddler nursing a happy-colored sippy-cup. I certainly don't wince or cross the street when faced with these situations, but I do go out of my way to avoid receiving the mother-to-single-woman "you'll-be-here-one-day" half-smile, because I know how unnatural my "I-sure-will-be-and-I-can't-wait!" expression will look and how prematurely it'll tumble into ambivalence or in cases where EHF-level shrieking is involved, a physically-pained, wide-eyed grimace.

And now, with the back story firmly in place, enjoy reason no. 1,209 why I'm not ready to have children:

Time - 1:35pm

Location - the ladies room at Olive's (16th/K St.)

Characters - unsuspecting 9 year old, unsuspecting 9 year old's mother and myself

The Encounter:

(exiting the right hand stall, moving my way toward the left hand sink)

"Hello," a neither friendly nor unfriendly voice called out.

(looking around and finally seeing the outline of a smallish female frame standing between the left stall and the exit) "Oh, hello," I said, surprised to be addressed by one so young in such a power-lunch destination, "how are you?"

"I'm fine, how are you?" the young girl clad in light-wash denim shorts and a floral-trimmed 3/4-length sleeved t-shirt answered and asked in an up-and-down-up-and-down mechanical pitch similar to the way a language lab tape for newly-arrived immigrants might sound.

(wicking away the moisture from my handwashing) "I'm really good, actually -- the vegetarian panini was delicious."

"I got a hamburger."

(patting my hands dry) "Hmmm, next time, try the panini, you won't even notice you're eating vegetables. It's that good."


"Lotion?" I asked, presenting her with my outstretched hand and in it my next-to-last bottle (probably ever) of Ho wood, lavender and Ylang Ylang infused Aromatherapy Associates moisturizer courtesy of the Mandarin Oriental Central Park South.

"Um, no. No, thank you."

"You really should."

"I...I don't know what..."

"It's best to start young with a lotion routine. Here's a simple rule my Mom taught me when I was even younger than you are now -- if you get your skin wet, pat it dry like this (patting my forearm with a paper towel) and then moisturize. Always. Whether you've just showered, gone swimming or..."

(the left hand stall's lock clinked open and a woman resembling my young conversant exited)

"What are you telling my daughter? To moisturize?" the woman asked in an unexpectedly bemused tone, her noticeably ruddy, hardworking hands finding their way to each respective hip.

"Uhhh...yeah, something like that. Sorry, I gotta go...my friend's waiting for me upstairs"

Note to self: preach the lotion gospel only to those without scaly-skinned chaperones.


bff in chicago said...

awesome. too damn funny. you should've let the mother touch your arm so she could feel just how amazing 27 straight years of contant lotioning feels. that's what convinced me and now I'm smooth as silk. not Johanna smooth, of course, but really, who is?

Dave said...

I thought I was going to write, "Johanna, that's silly. Of course you are." But now I'm going to agree. If you're thinking that moisturizing is the most important lesson you can teach a 9 year old, maybe you ought to wait. Or adopt a 15 year old girl. Now, she'd benefit from your wisdom.

Johanna said...


the answer to that last question is "no one." Some women have dissertations, I have my phenomenally moisturized skin.


You hit the nail on the head. It's a good thing her Mother entered the conversation, for I fear I would've launched into a follow-up lecture promoting the mascara double-coat.

sarahsouth said...

hey hannie, speaking of moisturizing, that st ives' vitamin E lotion that you recommended a while ago is great! thanks for promoting something that i can afford :]

west coast devotee said...

I can just picture you treating this poor girl like a miniature 25 year old. Keep takin' the Yasmin, sweetheart. Your time will come.

Or maybe it won't. Either way, thank god you're back from vacation. I was beginning to wander over to other blogs. The standard of writing is truly terrible out there!

Dave said...

The plus side is that any guy who didn't feel his girlfriend dressed well should send her to you for the weekend. Okay, that didn't make sense when I wrote it. What guy thinks his girlfriend doesn't dress/moisturize/cut her hair well?... But if he did...