A conversation I couldn’t help but overhear this morning.
I was providing technical support to an office that will remain unidentifiable for obvious reasons.
Two women who work there, chatting freely in front of me (not minding my presence). Topic of conversation: a kindergarten year-end performance.
The younger one is describing a detail she felt indignant about.
She got to notice it, she elaborates, because she has no daughters. (?)
The girls attending her son’s class were all wearing miniskirts for the occasion. Or better: short denim skirts, ostensibly following some instruction from the teachers.
But there was also this tiny lady donning a long pleated skirt.
This woman insists twice during her recollection on stressing the following concept:
You definitely ought not to send her out dressed in such a fashion.
“I mean, she looked like my grandma.
Poor thing, she shouldn’t look like my grandma, at 4!”
(Yeah, right! Imagine the risk of her developing some worrying quirks. Like playing, quietly growing up as a kid, instead of caring for looks at 5, asking for designer clothing at 6, getting into makeup at 7 and so on. Picture the horror of a girl with such an upbringing, one day possibly exceeding in modesty!)
Immediately after that observation, she adds vehemently, stoked as the proverbial Pavlovian dog through the recollection, by mental association, of some former misdeed of the wicked mother of such an unfortunate fledgling:
“But again, if you are up for it, have three children!
Not five or six!!!”
Right on cue, the older woman grumbles lowly, with gravity:
“The problem is religion.”
With the tone of someone carrying the weight of a helpless awareness, wise words that you are sadly barred from uttering in public…
The young lady piles on by badmouthing a guy from Senegal she happens to know: just a day ago she asked him if he’s finally done with having children!
Meanwhile I was lost in a different train of thought, sort of: imagining myself getting reprimanded by my boss for making a scene quarreling with clients.
I restrained my tongue.