Quick, Ma, The Flit

I hate children. I hate their piercing high-pitched voices, their inane ignorant prattle, their dawdling, their glommy fingers. I hate the smeary secreting faces of the ones young enough to be stuffed in the seat of grocery carts, so I can appreciate their inflamed, vaguely diseased-looking mugs up close, in the one place I cannot freaking get away from them. They do not have to be screaming to be a blight on the landscape.

I’ve been trying to find a kid-free hour in the local Trader Joe’s grocery, I really have. I frequent the place because I can find a lot of organic food cheap, you don’t get lost in the store and they do cater to people who are cooking just for themselves, rather than a whole household. Given that, you’d expect there to be less Kid Infestation but no, every time of day I try, there’s a Yuppie Mommie in every aisle dragging around at least one and more often two of her proud fuck trophies. It doesn’t help that the chain hands out balloons to kids; at least they have stopped keeping kid-sized mini-shopping carts. But the major chains are just as bad, and have nothing I want.

Today, at a few minutes before ten, I felt like I was being stalked by a woman with a pair about nine and ten, just old enough for girly self-importance, shuffling their flip-flops at a glacial pace in double file so that I had to maneuver to get past them — repeatedly, since they somehow seemed to be clogging up every aisle right when I wanted to get down it, no matter how much evasive action I took. “Mom, was yesterday Opposite Day?” Mumble. “Was yesterday WINSday?” Mumble. “Well WINSday is OPPOSITE DAY and” — it’s all I can do not to clap my hands over my ears at this point. If Rush Limbaugh or a revolting jingle comes on the radio, you can turn the dial, but there is no dial for this idiotic twaddle and the parents won’t shut them up.

The woman in the line parallel to me had two pre-mobile crotch droppings in her cart. Yes: they were in the cart, and all her groceries were on the bottom rack, so that she had to bend down and wrangle them up onto the counter (usually, in this chain, the clerk lifts things from the cart to the bagging surface, sparing the customer, a polite touch). Her choice, I know, but it’s offensive to watch. Those brats have no business in a food store exhibiting their snot to everyone else in the place, to say nothing of mom giving herself lumbago so they can ride.

People used to say children should be seen and not heard, and somehow that went out the window over the decades, on the assumption that it was discriminatory for children not to be allowed their opinions on a matter or their side of the story. There is a time and place for that, but I think we lost sight of the fact that most of what children say, loudly, in public, is annoying and usually criminally stupid.

What ails people, anyway? Don’t they watch the news? Haven’t they heard that we’re running out of fuel and arable land? What in hell makes them think that the world needs their child — and not just in the abstract, in this case, but under our noses early in the day?

You can buy dog crates. You know the things? They sell them in any size, up to one that will hold a Rottweiler if that’s what you need. I think this is the perfect solution. If you really, truly feel you cannot leave your children at home while you grocery-shop and have no one to watch them, bung them in the dog crate, lock with a padlock if they are old enough to work the spring latch, and get about your business. Nothing is going to happen to the little wretches during the 45 minutes it takes you to go to the store; they won’t starve, they won’t strangle. And everyone’s life will be so much more pleasant.

I doubt anyone is going to adopt this sensible proposal though. I am looking for an old fashioned Flit gun.

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21 thoughts on “Quick, Ma, The Flit

  1. Kids are on holiday here now and I made the mistake of going into town today ……. [actually, and I hate to say it, I saw some delightful, well behaved little humans …… please don’t tell anyone]

    • I’ve spent time in London and other parts of the UK. There was much better behavior among the children I encountered there — they were actually trained to be noticeably courteous and fairly quiet. America has been losing that battle for decades.

  2. I would say children are more “fuck parting gifts” than “fuck trophies.” You actually want a trophy, but no one wants a parting gift like the one you get for losing at Wheel of Fortune.

    Also, more ammunition in my war against flip-flops.

    But yes, we must destroy the children.

    • See, eleven is an age when you can have an actual conversation with someone, about books and music and history and news and death and love, if they are reasonably smart. Eleven is an age when people are in at least some shape to realize that whatever just drifted through their heads may not be of interest to the whole universe. Up till then, it’s all 39,000 variations on “look at me” and claptrap about what’s in the kiddie media or their grade-school subculture.

      And anything under the age when they can’t read or, worse, talk is basically the equivalent of having an untrained dog around, which is why I promote the idea of the crate. And maybe a shock collar.

      It would be a bit different if the current state of our culture didn’t regard it as child abuse to make the little bastards work to learn something and acquire some skills. I’m still bitter that there was no one expecting kids in my elementary school to learn Latin, or any other languages for that matter, back when it would have been a neurological snap. Meanwhile every hour spent watching TV or in aimless playground yelling and screaming — which teaches nothing but that noisy infantile behavior is an acceptable pastime — is another hour of a person’s life thrown straight into the grave unused. Maybe if we expected the under-elevens to measure up to something, the eleven-to-thirty crowd wouldn’t be so lacking in enchantment to some.

  3. wow – that’s quite a rant. I’m not overly enamoured with children en masse but have had some lovely times with quiet well behaved mini adults. And I’m not even talking about my own!

    I raised my eldest son much the same way my parents raised me (children should be seen and not heard) but have to admit by the time I had my second one eight years later I’d become a bit more lax with my parenting. He once threw a tantrum in a supermarket (nothing like the horror in that very funny ad) and I remember leaving without my shopping rather than endure the embarrassment.

    Why don’t you order supplies online so you can avoid the little monsters?

    • I have seen incredible temper tantrums like this at grocery stores. I have also seen some monster ass whippings for them too. But the ass beatings never happen at the upscale markets.

      At the organic food stores the little shits get away with anything and woe unto the poor shopper or employee that is near to well moneyed SUV mom. The blame for the behavior will be placed squarely upon the nearest innocent adult. At the Walmart, the locals will spank the hell out of the brats on the spot. That does nothing for the noise problem however.

  4. If I could get what I wanted delivered, I would be so all over that. In fact I do order everything I can if for no other reason than that the traffic around here is ridiculous, but organic groceries home delivered aren’t an affordable option.

    I have honestly loathed the majority of children since I was one. They all seemed loud, brainless. clueless and useless, and I wanted nothing to do with them. The library was so full of books…

  5. Well, the commercial made me laugh at loud once the tag line happened. I don’t hate all children. I try to remember that bratty children are the result of clueless parents. And as I mentioned above, we were all children once.

    I don’t know about where you are, but I found when I lived in the Big City that shopping at 5 a.m. or even at 2 a.m. was the most peaceful experience you can imagine, as long as you don’t mind the sound of fork lifts and pallet jacks, which are actually very peaceful sounds compared the screams of children throwing tantrums.

    • I love to shop at night and you are right. The number of kids is generally low (not of Fri/Sat night, but the rest of the week). I like to think the whole store is mine for the taking when I’m there at night.

      A friend and I used to work the night shift, take the subway to where my car was parked and do our grocery shopping at midnight. I worked out very well.

    • Alas, the places I shop are open from maybe nine to nine, so I am running out of hours that I could hope for kid-free-ness.

      We were all children once, but just think: when you want to shame someone, you say “stop acting like a child.” It’s a condition to outgrow and avoid as quickly as humanly possible, compounded of stupidity, selfishness, triviality and casual cruelty. The most maddening thing to me isn’t even tantrums — parents will most likely at some point try to remove or suppress the offender — it’s the ones who are playing and farting around and asking idiotic questions in their piercing little voices or talking grade school trash as if it were the most important thing in the world. And yes, parents for some reason lean into it: if the kids themselves aren’t irritating enough, then Mommie is chatting them up in a voice that carries all the way down one aisle and across two: “Put that in the cart! Now we’re going to get some cabbage because Daddie likes cabbage! Do you have your little doggie? Here’s some orange candy! Do you want orange candy in your lunch this week?” AAAAAGGGHHHH!!!!!!! I once had a woman pop off at me in a parking lot because I asked her two five-and-sixish sons, who had been playing among the display racks and obstructing me all the way from the checkout counter to the door, to please get out of the way. (Funnily, she didn’t find the term “crotch droppings” at all humorous.)

      When I was young, we got our groceries at the Army commissary and children under ten were strictly forbidden to be on the premises. The base provided a nursery but I wanted nothing to do with the snot-nosed amoebas that inhabited it, and as far back as I can remember preferred to sit in the car with my book; with MPs at either end of the parking lot, it was safe. I realize that the average strip mall grocery might not be a place people would feel they could do that. So if they can’t be trusted home alone, dog crate.

  6. Oh, what I really really hate is the parents “conversing” with their children in that “Listen everyone, I care about my child!” way. The children would probably rather be left alone, too. I spent all my mother’s shopping trips in the car, reading. I’d rather have died than gone into a grocery store.

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