Monday, March 22, 2010

The old me would have bitch slapped you!

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Although many of the communities that I lived in growing up were small-ish ones, the impact of that was never fully understood. In my teen years (the ones I was most likely to screw up in), we lived in Air Force communities...the last one in Germany. British Air Force bases. The one in Germany was rather self contained and although we did venture out to explore Germany and Holland, we tended to hang out on base. We did stuff, we screwed around, we came home and discovered that somehow our parents already knew what was happening. It was like they had spies everywhere on base, watching our every move and reporting back to our parents.They probably did. The thing is, the whole "small town" thing was never fully impressed on me because I was a teen who didn't give a crap about anyone but myself and didn't really care how my actions affected my parents.

Flash forward to now, and I'm suddenly having to learn all this small town etiquette. I'm not sure I like it. I'm naturally very outspoken (shocked aren't you?) and it's difficult for me to hold my tongue in many situations. I fear that I may soon have to get a gag or something! You need examples?

Exhibit A) Being a small town in NZ, surrounded by vineyards and farms, there is a lot of good ol' countrified stuff to do. Seriously, we're just one step away from breaking out into a hoe down in the middle of the street some days. So this past weekend I decided on behalf of my lazy, tv loving, family that we should go out and actually do something. One of the schools out in the country was holding a Country Harvest Fair. Sounds awesome right? The spawnlets had pictures of ferris wheels and carousels dancing in their heads, Hotty Hubby had thoughts of drinking beer while perched on a hay bale and I was looking forward to cows.

When we got there, it was little more than a school fundraising gala, but we figured we'd stick around. I let the spawn hop on a trailer ride, I stared at some really ugly turkeys and the rear end of a sheep, and HH stared into space. Then I spotted it!

A table FULL of books was not 20 feet from me. I headed over there to check it out and the first thing that caught my eye was a box full of encyclopedia type books for kids, all about their health and internal systems etc. The two right at the front were all about reproduction and babies and how we develop, so I grabbed them. Then, because I was only blessed with two hands, I put them down on the table right in front of me so that I could continue to look through the box and see if there were any others I wanted.

Colour me shocked when this woman walked up, looked at me, looked at the books, TOOK the books and carried on browsing through the table in front of her.

Me: Um, I was actually going to get those.

Her: Well my grandchildren will love these.

Me: Yes, but I'd already chosen them, and just put them down for a minute.

Her: Well my grandchildren will just think they're great, they're all into this stuff now

My internal dialogue was going crazy the whole time, wondering how I could get the books away from her without seriously injuring her.

She wouldn't give them back. I had to walk away, biting my tongue til it hurt. All because this is a small town and chances are that she knows someone who knows someone who knows me.

Exhibit B) Girl Spawn, at the ripe old age of 7 and a HALF (!!) is still rather partial to dressing up once in a while. Fine with me. For "Book Character Day" at school last year, she dressed as Pinkalicious and we still have all the bits of the costume. She spent a good portion of Sunday afternoon dressed up like this.

In the late afternoon, I needed to run to our NZ version of Wal-Mart. She wanted to come. She was still dressed as a fairy, but what do I care? She's 7. And a half. If she wants to go out in public dressed like that, who am I to say no? So off we went.

We wandered through the store, picking up the few things we needed and then got to the kids department. I grabbed a pair of jeans in a flash of genius and sent her to try them on (so that I know what size to get when I go to the thrift store!). While she was in the changing room, I was approached by a woman who I can only surmise is what retired hookers, who moonlighted as clowns, look like. G-String hanging out the back of her ugly, ill fitting jeans. Boobs pushed up and out, and not even in a remotely attractive way. Make up to rival Bozo the clown and hair teased from here to kingdom come. She looked like an 80s reject. She sidled up to me and said:

You know, I think that in future it would be more appropriate for her to be wearing "real" clothes out in public.

As the voices inside me went absolutely nutso again and my hands started to flap at my sides just aching to bitch slap her, I heard a totally foreign voice come out of my mouth and say:

I'll take that under advisement.

And then my feet took me in the opposite direction of her when all the old me wanted to do was let loose a tirade about how in future it would be in the best interests of the public if she could please just stay indoors as I was pretty sure she was scaring every child within a 50 block radius and even the clowns were running home to rethink their wardrobes lest they be confused with her.

But I kept my tongue because in a small town like this, she probably knows someone I know. Like my mother.

Then there's just the little things like people cutting in front of me at the grocery store and not being able to cause a fuss. (Normally I'd wait for my spawn to speak up and just answer them in a snide manner, loud enough for the perpetrator to hear, but they were silent on the most recent occasion). Or idiot drivers and not being able to flip them the bird.

One of my friends commented on Facebook yesterday that I moved to NZ and became "Nice Maggie", that the old me would have bitch slapped the second woman and what happened to "old Meg".

Believe me, the "old Meg" is still there, itching to come out and play. Unfortunately I'm unable to do it in public most of the time. Small town bullshit etiquette and all that. I guess that's why I blog. So I can vent here. Although, had the whoreclown made that comment in front of Girl Spawn and hurt her feelings, you can bet I would have thrown all good behaviour aside. No one messes with my kid.

Do you live in a small town? Do you have to censor yourself? How do you deal with situations like that?

** I'm over at Looking For My Feet today as well **

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  1. I can't get beyond the retired hooker moonlighting as a clown..bwhahaha!!

    The book deal would have pissed me off...but I would have walked too..the comment about your princess (mine wore plastic stripper shoes to walmart at that age) would have sent me into psycho mode. What's wrong with people??

    Yes, I do live in a small town. However, I'm new to the area and have the luxury of not caring who is who or fitting into the 'community.'

    Let's move to a commune and let our kids dress bizarre and do whatever we want?!

  2. Damn! I live in a small town too, but a small town about 15 minutes outside of San Francisco. My grand daughter wears a tutu over her pj's and a crown when we go to lunch. I dare anyone to say a word! Meg, stop worrying about "what people will say" and hold up for yourself, no matter where you are! Poor baby! I hope HH is helping you work this crap out!

  3. I live in a small town. I don't fit in. Ah well.

  4. I live in a small town and while I am reserved by nature (although I'd smack anyone who got near hurting my kid), the biggest lesson for me is to have to say hello to people I know. Even when I just don't feel like it. And be friendly and all that shit.
    I can't believe someone who is a GRANDMOTHER would steal your books! I might have tackled her. And that's whoreclown? Maybe she was just jealous...and was hoping you'd buy new clothes for girl spawn and sell her the princess outfit.
    yea that must have been it...

  5. I live in a big town, grew up in a big city, but I censor myself just because I realized I can't beat everyone's ass. There have to be a few people out there who could take me out, so I try not to get myself hurt. ;P

  6. I live in what used to be a small town but urban sprawl has taken over... maybe that's a good thing because not everyone knows me or my family unless they are lifer's here too.
    I would have spoken up and made a fuss over those books. The more of a scene, the sooner the old bat would have handed those books back over.
    Clown Ho - she sounds downright scary!
    Small town BS blows cow pies.

  7. Tell them to kiss your arse! To hell with it.

    My parents live in a small town, they're pretty good at watching their comments, but I'm not. Which is why I don't live there.

  8. Argh! Now I have that lame-ass John Cougar song on repeat in my head!! But, yes, while the town I live in is not THAT small, it's small enough that cussing people out or flipping them off might come back to bite me in the ass someday. *sigh*

  9. My loving wife wishes I had an inner monologue and wishes that I understood self-control in situations like that.

  10. I live in Chicago but let me tell you it still feels small town in the neighborhoods! I would have given up the books...maybe, but I would have snapped at the woman in the store. My son loved costumes at that age too. He wore Bat Man capes all the time. You should have said You're just jealous because my daughters costume looks so much better than yours!
    Yikes with the small town. Let them talk. They'd probably say. You GO Girl!

  11. Oh man I so would have slapped her! How rude is that? People are nuts

  12. Teach me how you do that...I tend to spout off first and then think about it later.

  13. Colour me speechless on your behalf!! Unbelievable--especially the scary Wal-mart lady. Eek. And here I thought all Kiwis were keep-to-themselves type of people.

    I admire your restraint! Truly.

  14. Awww, good on you.... I would have punched the first woman in the neck - STEP OFF (not really but I would have done something evil) There are a lot of freaks out there, small towns or big.

  15. Holy moly. You have some A-mazing self control!! Not me. I live in a small town, but I still have a BIG mouth!! LOL

  16. Screw the small down, you should have went off.

  17. Thoroughly enjoyed this post. What in God's name is wrong with those people? I give you mad props for keeping your mouth shut regarding the comment on your *unafraid to be herself* daughter! I believe in allowing kids to express themselves at an early age!

    I look forward to more posts on this topic!

  18. Tell them to kiss your butt.

    I live in a small town but I hate everyone in town so I never worry what people think.

  19. Very small town here. And small bullshit etiquette is the only way to describe it!

  20. I'm currently can't see me I know, but I'm bowing. Thank goodness for blogging, right?

    I'll take that under advisement....

    Amazing....I don't think I could've done it.

  21. My town use to be small but not so much any more. I work in a school and honked at a lady in front to me and it turned out to be a parent! So I stopped honking!!

  22. I do live in a very small town and the gossip is absolutely outrageous. You have to be super careful what you do and say and if you're living clean, they'll just go ahead and make up lies instead.

    I hate small towns!

  23. I live in the middle of BumFuck Nowhere.

    But I came from the city.

    I let fly. People know me. I really don't care. Because NO ONE DARES cut me off now.

  24. Man! I hate when little old ladies do something mean and NOT little old lady like. Stealing books. Creepy! And the lady in {your equivalent to} Wallmart was ridiculous. She should wear her fairy costume wherever she wants for as long as she wants. That is just silly!

  25. What incredible self-control you displayed during your attacks by the stupers (short as you know, for terrifyingly stupid persons). Wow! I'm sure you realize that even if you had indulged in bitch slapping, their shows would go on, as not even violence affects their empty heads. Truly, you have my admiration.

  26. OMG, I would have had a field day with those bitchy woman. The one with the books and ESPECIALLY the one at the store. F them. You're going to have to not bite your tongue one of these times. Terrible.

  27. quoted me in your blog. I feel loved now. ;-)


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