What a wazzock I am.
This morning I took Reuben to the doctors because he’s had a couple of mole-like spots come up on his neck and has scratched one off his chest, making it look very sore and almost like eczema. So, onwards to the doctors to check that it isn’t anything to be concerned about – better to be safe than sorry is my philosophy.
Turns out, it’s totally nothing, where he has scratched he has given himself dry skin and we were given a little prescription to go and grab some cream for his little itch, just to make sure he didn’t spread it and make it worse. When we were in the chemist there was a man in there, clearly suffering with some form of addiction. He appeared under the influence of something, I suspect hard drugs though I can never say for sure, and he was on the phone. Within seconds of spotting us he started to talk to Edith, asking her to say hello down the phone? Who does that? Why?
Edith is standoffish with the vast majority of people any way, especially men who aren’t her Daddy and who she doesn’t deem worthy of her smiles and waves. She is, for all intents and purposes, the snob I try hard not to be. The major difference is that at 2ft tall and in pigtails, she’s cute and I’m just a bitch. Anyway, I digress.
Immediately this put me on edge, it was too familiar, too odd. He then started to ask Reuben to say hi to his girlfriend on the phone – which Reuben though was hilarious and did without reservations, putting me further on edge. “Haha talking to a very handsome young man there on the phone, I’m a bit jealous”… just… fuck off and stop talking to my kid dude, my maternal instincts and sending me to a place where I want to rip you limb from limb Walking Dead style. Back off.
That being over and done with, Reuben turned his back and proceeded to talk to the chemist’s assistant about his transformer toy… but again the man jumped in “You like transformers mate, me too, Optimus Prime was my favourite”. Cue a 20 minute long conversation about Transformers where Reuben became best “mates” with Dave (I’ve changed his name just in case, though he did give Reuben his name and asked his), told him his name, his sisters name, that he slept in a bunk bed and pretty much his whole Xmas wish list. I spent the whole time trying super hard not to take my eyes off them, with Reuben getting more and more familiar and at one point almost sat on the guys knee. I couldn’t help it, I wanted to scream get away from my son. You are a threat!
Was he though?
Sure he was an addict, you could see that from the colour of his skin, his speech and the fact that he was merrily chatting to his girlfriend when we walked in about “Dr says no more drinking like, but we both know how thats gonna go”… he was unclean, dressed in a tracksuit and his overt friendliness intimidated me. It set off every sense I have that screams “danger” and “protect” but WHY? He was nothing but polite, genuinely nothing but kind and friendly with Reuben. I will be the first to admit that I hate people being overly friendly with anyone, however I don’t usually feel as threatened as I did. What was that threat based on other than a pre-conceived notion that someone who is suffering with addiction is automatically dangerous, a common misconception? Unpredictable, possibly? But a threat to a child? Why would I think that?
Which brings me back to my original assessment: I’m a total wazzock.
After the guy left (with a handshake for Reuben complete with “see you late brother”, a stroke of my arm and an attempted stroke of Edith’s hand, which earned him a scowl and “NO!” form her majesty) I told Reuben that he shouldn’t give out information to strangers, tell them his name or really talk to them in general… but he was baffled. Why would I feel that way when I thought he was sweet and polite for chatting to the elderly, female receptionist in the surgery. What about saying good morning to the other man sat with us in the chemist.
It boils down to being a judgey-pants. You know what I was being? Yes, a mum who was concerned about someone being overly friendly with her kids, and I firmly believe I had every right to feel uncomfortable from that perspective, but as to the rest of it? I was being the thing I dislike the most, an over privileged, silver spoon kid (which I was by the way, I rarely wanted for anything until my late teens), a middle class wazzock who couldn’t see past her own preconceived misconceptions, and I am ashamed to say that all I taught my son in that instance was that when mummy says don’t judge people, be kind and fair to all, she really means don’t judge people she doesn’t want to judge.
To the man in the chemist, thanks for being so friendly with my kids (maybe dial it down a bit next time so someone doesn’t feel so overwhelmed) but I’m truly sorry I judged you.