Yesterday afternoon I took my car in to the service center for a minor repair (I don't know, some little hole in some little tube somewhere). The polite and helpful technician took my keys and my car and ushered me to the customer waiting area. I walked in to the surprisingly comfortable environment only to find myself in the company of one 13-month old toddler and her mother, and I inwardly groaned. The groan was not prompted by the toddler. No, I actually like kids; it's their parents who usually annoy me.
And almost immediately I knew this woman would embody everything about breeders that I detest.
Upon entering the waiting room, I greeted the toddler with a smile and a friendly "hi there" and nodded and smiled to the toddler's mother as well. They were the only occupants of the room and had made themselves at home by spreading out the toddler's varied accoutrements on the floor, coffee table, and chairs. I politely took a seat at the far end of the room to accommodate their territorial boundaries and promptly settled in with a book I had brought.
Less than 2 minutes had gone by when the woman started speaking to her toddler in a loud, high-pitched voice which indicated that she was not so much speaking to her daughter as she was speaking to her daughter in order to get my attention.
Loud-mouthed breeder: (in that exceedingly irritating high-pitched "baby talk" voice) hahaha…you just won't be ignored, will you? You just love being the center of attention and will do anything to get it! Hahaha
I glanced up from my book to find the smiling, shiny-faced toddler standing in front of me. I winked at her and told her what a pretty dress she had on. She grinned and sort of danced around in that wobbly toddler manner and her mother squealed with delight and used the opportunity to launch into conversation with me.
Loud-mouthed breeder: (grinning from ear to ear) both my husband and I act on the stage, so we knew we were in trouble with her - she's such a little drama queen. She just loves attention. Hahaha. She made her first stage debut at 9 months…my director wanted me to sing the lullaby "Baby Mine" - you know from Dumbo - in this musical review and I said, "sure"…well he found out that lullaby is HER lullaby and told me I should carry her out on stage with me. Well let me tell you! she just completely stole the show! (addressing toddler) didn't you!? you just stole the show! Hahaha
I smiled, I nodded, I contemplated the massive amount of blue eyeshadow smeared across her lids. I said, "how old is she now?" And then (yes, I regretted it almost before it escaped my lips) I said, "she's quite mobile for 13 months". And I felt the last nail being pounded into my coffin. The very proud woman proceeded to regale me with details on how she herself was an early walker and how her precious toddler was displaying the same genius and how any day now she'll be running and how will we ever keep up with her….yada yada yada.
My eyes sort of glazed over at this point and I kept glancing longingly at the closed book in my lap while still trying to maintain a semblance of polite interest ignoring the voice screaming in my head, "SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UUUUUUUUUP!"
She finally paused for air and stopped talking at me. I took this fortuitous opportunity to open my book and made every effort to appear absolutely engrossed. She turned her attention back onto her genius toddler and I tuned out her ridiculously high-pitched baby talk and focused on the story in my hands. Which, in case you're interested, was "Blindness" by Jose Saramago (you may recognize his name as he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 98).
Not ten minutes later, two middle-aged women joined us in the waiting room and the clucking began again in full-force only NOW the breeder had an attentive audience! Neat for me.
So there we all were - three women and a toddler. Upon entering, the two women immediately swooped down to the toddler, exclaiming how precious and adorable she was in the by-now-familiar high pitched squeals reserved especially for infants and small children. I don't get this…why? Why do some people feel the need to increase their octave ten-fold when addressing a small child?
The mother of the toddler was naturally overcome with joy at the attention being lavished upon her and enthusiastically went into her spiel again about being an actress and her husband being an actor and oh lord! we're certainly going to be in trouble with this little one...it felt like an alarming déjà vu episode and it was all I could do to refrain from visibly rolling my eyes.
The three hens clucked incessantly (and so very loudly) for the next 40 minutes (or was it 40 years? I can't recall) about the intimate details of their various pregnancy experiences, including a collapsed lung and how the toddler's name is Bethany, "but we call her Bette!" and again with the walking at 9 months self-congratulatory exclamations. They were all inordinately proud of their reproductive capabilities and were not at all reticent in proclaiming so. This loud discussion was interspersed with those high pitched comments directed at Bette:
"You're just a little ray of sunshine, aren't you?!"
"She certainly is!"
"What would we do without you here to brighten the room?"
"We'd be bored!!"
They kept casting suspicious glances at me from time to time - me without my blue eyeshadow, in my dark grey slacks and black top and my non-frosted hair. I mean, what kind of person sits there reading a book and minding her own business when there is a toddler in the room and a mother who is only too gleeful to talk about it! She must be one of THOSE women!
At one point, one of the women went into great detail explaining why she was at the dealership selling her car. The lengthy (and VERY personal) story involved a couple of marriages, a couple of kids, a couple of divorces and some really bad choices. Really!? Who does that!? Who openly and unabashedly displays the contents of one's personal life to complete strangers?
Three words. Too. much. information.
I don't know...sometimes I have so little tolerance for people. Maybe I'm just not a "people person".