Tuesday, March 25, 2008

From a Friend...


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?

Rod Stewart