Sunday, February 16, 2014

Breakfast conversations...

This morning at breakfast I had to put my fork down and take out my phone to write a quick note. Brent asked if I was okay and I said (very quietly) "Just needed to make a note for my blog." He nodded and said, "Wealth of material right?"

See we went to Arleta Bakery Cafe this morning and it's a very small restaurant. Only about 7 tables in the place and they are very close to each other. The couple who pretty much sat with us (a mother and son, not couple like married or dating) talked. A lot. And it was all just so, well, just so...

There was the point where son told mom very excitedly about talking to his Anatomy and Physiology professor about options for a Phd. program and the interest this instructor has been showing him and his academic and future professional goals. Great right? Well mom followed this very quickly with telling him to go back to his professor and ask for her. Because she wants to do the SAME thing! Isn't that exciting? And fabulous? And...shhh...Mom..shh...don't make him lie to you about talking to his instructor on your behalf. This really isn't about you...

Then there was when he told her about having it pointed out to him that women are socialized differently than men. See in class if a female student walks in late, or asks a question or joins a conversation she apologizes first. Whereas the males just talk. This is an actual phenomenon that is super interesting to behold and he then said, "So now when I'm talking to a girl and she apologizes I tell her not to." Which mom then said, "Well, I see the point but it's not up to you to tell her how to behave, right? Isn't that the same thing she's been socialized in, in the first place? Apologizing for being who she is? Maybe instead of telling her not to you should ask her why she does. She might not even be aware, because the apology isn't an admission of wrong doing, it's a female verbal tic." Which led to an insightful discussion on....nah...I'm just kidding with you. What she did was list a whole bunch of slights that women get, such as going in to sit by themselves in a restaurant and having the greeter say, "Only one?" where they never say that to a single man, or to a couple, "Only two?"

Which is complete bullshit. First off, as a woman you have no idea what a server says to a man. You just don't. But I can tell you as part of a couple we get hit with, "Just the two of you?" all the time. It's not a condemnation that we should be part of a bigger group, it's a clarification that we don't need a bigger table. And Brent did say on the way home that when he travels and eats solo he gets the "Only one?" all the time. See, as a man in that situation he knows what men get asked. There are real, actual, differences in the way men and women are treated and her early 20s son just now seeing them and reacting to them is a perfect opportunity to instill change, but not if you just rail against the world instead of opening a further discussion.

There was the stretch where I felt sad for her. They were talking about Crater Lake and the son was going to go this summer with a friend camping there and she volunteered to go with them as a tour guide. Watching his reaction to that suggestion she back peddled, "you know, only if you want me to, but you don't have to, that's fine." I feel her sting there. Kids and wanting to be adults away from their parents...the nerve.

But she lost me as she started to bash her ex. Oh please, people, if you split up from your partner and you share children don't do this. Please. If your ex really is a piece of shit, trust me, your kids know. They don't need you to drag them in to the petty grievances. Just remember that the person you are talking to is half you and half that piece of shit. That's what you are telling them. You know the half that is like your dad? Or the times you act like your father? Well I think he's a piece of shit so take that with you. Just keep the kids (even if they are grown) out of it. The problems you have in your personal relationships aren't theirs. They are yours. So hush.

And then there was the line that made me pull out my phone. Because it was too beautiful to miss.

Son is telling mom about girlfriend and if they are going to buy a house. He doesn't think so because her credit is even worse than his. He's tried to give her some tips but...and here mom said, "well you can try and help someone by showing them how to be logical and reasonable.." and son came in..."yeah but she's..." and mom and son together..."yes, she's a Scorpio."

So there you have it. You can try to help someone be logical and reasonable but...Scorpio.

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