Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Must've Failed Math!
Yesterday at an unfamiliar grocery store with both kids. Liv is teething so outings are a bit more manic than usual. In my haste to pay and exit, I hopped into a line that was relatively short. After placing about half of my 30 or so items, and now with an elderly lady behind me in line, a middle-aged lady walks by and I notice a perturbed look on her face as I'm turning back and forth loading the belt. She mutters something to the elderly lady. It takes me a few to figure out what she said. But then it comes to me, "He must've failed math in school." I look up at the aisle light/sign that indicates whether or not the aisle is open. Sure enough, "12 items or less." Now I feel like an ass. I apologize profusely to the elderly lady behind me and offer to let her go in front of me. She declines, indicating that its an understandable mistake, especially for a father with two kids. I say [not to her] it's an understandable mistake for anyone shopping with two kids -- especially when the item limit lanes aren't at the end where they are in most other stores. My wife did it once recently and said that no one should have to go to the store with two children.

Being a SAHD, I find that many people are more open to giving me some leniency. Which can be a bit of a double-edged sword. It's good for me -- hey, let's forgive the well-meaning but somewhat bumbling dad. It's not good for the movement away from gender-stereotyped roles for M and D -- reinforces the image of a bumbling father when it comes to the care of children and home. [That JCPenney commercial "Where's your mother" used to make my blood boil.] The funny thing about it is that I'm really not a bumbler. I do pretty well in the grocery and other stores, I keep a reasonable house, and I am working to raise two happy, well-adjusted, and loving children.

oh, yeah. I saw the woman who criticized my math skillz in the lot. I couldn't help but assure her that I hadn't failed math, and in fact, obtained an engineering degree with honors from an Ivy League school. I reminded her that sometimes people make mistakes.

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