There’s a law on the east coast that I never really appreciated or even consciously recognized until I moved out west. It’s an unspoken rule, a kind of social contract that everyone enters into ‑‑“Thou shall mind thy own damn business.”
On the east coast we walk with our gaze fixed ahead of us, hands in pockets, with an “I’m on a mission” attitude that says without words “I got places to go and people to see. Don’t slow me down.” Don’t get me wrong, people are often friendly. We yield the right of way on the streets giving the mandatory wave; we smile at adorable babies and we nod empathetically at overwhelmed moms. But we don’t often offer our two cents. That’s not the case in
I first noticed it on the roads. And before you ask, I am a good driver with a clean license. I learned to drive in
Fourteen years in
Where are the laid back, bohemian, surfer, hippie types? They aren’t in the supermarkets either. Today in the P&W with my three kids (not your warm and fuzzy Piggly Wiggly) I got another dose of unsolicited advise. The market was empty, so I told the kids they could explore as long as they kept track of where I was and met me at check-out. They ran off giggling and didn’t get down one aisle before an employee admonished them to “Stop running!” Ok, that was wise. I agree. Not five minutes later, my little one ran up to plea for Twix yogurt when a silver haired, well-coiffed, schoolmarm asked me in an irritated tone, “Are those your children?”
“Yes, they are. Is there a problem?” I asked.
“Well they are climbing the boxes in the detergent aisle!” she explained, lips pursed.
“Oh, well I will take care of that,” I said. “Thank you for telling me.” I turned to walk away, thinking that would suffice but it didn’t.
“You would think you could maintain some degree of control…” she went on. I was rather floored.
“Didn’t I just say I would take care of?” I replied.
“I would hope so!” she said.
That was it. I’d had it. My default position is to be polite but when strangers stick their nose in my business but when it relates to my children --that presses my buttons.
“Thanks for the input Grandma,” I sneered and walked off to gather my kids, who were enjoying an innocent game of hide and seek among the toilet paper packages.
I thought Californians were supposed to be laid-back? Chill. Relaxed. Boho. Live and let live. Not so in the