Tuesday, March 25, 2008


It happened again.

Yesterday, I parked the car in the Safeway lot.

As I was walking toward the store, I saw a baby, under 2 years, sitting in her car seat in the back of an expensive late model car - alone.

The front passenger side window was lowered. Lowered enough for me or anyone else to open the door.

I saw no parent.

I turned to a woman who was standing not far away and asked her opinion of this situation.

"Is it just me? Am I completely crazy?" Like that.

She agreed that this was not looking good.

The "mother" came out of the store.

Thirty-five-ish, attractive, beautifully dressed in casual sports clothes.

"Excuse me, Ma'am, do you think that leaving your child unattended in a car is really a good idea?"

She smiled benignly at me. Clearly I am a lunatic.

"I was about one second away from calling the police." Last year, in a similar situation, I did call the police.

She smiled again, even more warmly.

"Well, you do what you think you have to do."

She was so kind to me in my distress.

She got into the car and put it in reverse.

"Perhaps you could think about this today."

She smiled and drove off.

I ask what I asked several months ago when I wrote about the talking couple in the movie house.

Why is she happy?

Because, believe me, she is happy. Nothing I could have said or done would have upset her perfectly coiffed equilibrium.

I went across the street into a fruit and vegetable store, bought some broccoli and tomatoes, paid for them, and turned to leave, forgetting the vegetables.

Half an hour later, I was in a shop on Fourth Avenue. I paid for my purchase and asked the two young women the same question I asked the first lady in the Safeway parking lot.

"Is it just me, or...?"

They freaked. Thank G-d. They would never leave their child alone in a car for one second. No running in just for a minute bullshit.

I thought of that British couple who went for a quiet intimate dinner in Portugal (Spain?), leaving their daughters alone in a rented condo.

Has the "Me Society" peaked? Is it all about MY shopping needs and MY dinner needs?

And dare we speak up without being branded a public menace?


MurdocK said...

Because, David, for far and away too many of the 'happy shiny people' children are to be neither seen nor heard.

This woman is in for a rude shock in a few years when that 'polite' child takes out their frustration at being so constantly ignored by really destroying something...


sadly I think this is a general malaise in our society, brought on by the constant 'protection' we try to do, something that keeps otherwise vital capable adults living thier lives as perpetual children.

Anonymous said...

It's not you David. I see this all the time. What really gets me are the"caring" mothers who do not put their children in car seats or seat belts. AND what really concernes me is the parent who lets their toddler run a head of them on a busy sidewalks and streets like west tenth. The kids move like lightning and the parents don't. I remember hearing a terrible scream once when a mother grabbed her child as he was running through the parked cars onto west tenth ave. She caught him and then sat down with him in her arms hugging him tightly and crying very loudly. This would make a wonderful educational video BUT I doubt if it would have any effect on parents. It seems to me that the kids are now in control from a very early age. No wonder they get into trouble later.

PelaLusa said...

David, there's no better caption for this story than "Ignorance is Bliss". Of course she was smiling: Morons are always smiling!

It would be nice if one could report the license numbers of such cars to 911 or perhaps some number related to social services.

Anonymous said...

What the hell! Why didn't you phone 911 immediately? These morons don't deserve a break. (And no I'm not a member of the BCTF}