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Social commentary over nectarines

Very well-meaning guy at the grocery today. A bit older. Maybe he was lonely and just wanted someone to talk to? Maybe he was just trying to be friendly. (Hey, hey we're the Monkees!) Maybe he was trying to comment on the kids more than me. Starts to give me the "looks like you've got your little helpers today" speech.

But it had...that tone. The tone where you've tried to be subtle and open up a dialogue about the ongoing situation. I know it's partly generational. What is it about my generation that makes us refrain from speaking to strangers in public places? We don't strike up small talk in line at the checkout the same way others do.

Standing there trapped in the produce aisle trying to pick nectarines. I wanted to reply "they kinda never leave my side so today's not that special." But I just did the smile and nod. A little resentful that a man with 2 preschoolers in a shopping cart looks noteworthy though.

Maybe he would have said the same thing to a mom? Which, I suppose, takes on a whole different realm of social awkwardness. And, in my mind, begs the question about why speak at all if no matter who you say it to it looks odd.

As a civilized human being, it puts you in that horrible spot of now being rude if you don't reply. You spoke to me, now I must engage you. Why is the fact that I'm in the produce aisle with my kids a topic of conversation though? Ask me if I think the plums look any good.

Of course, this poor 50 year old dude met us again in dairy. There it was a speech about good-for-me because I was teaching Cole about the cooler room behind the shelves and how food arrives at the store and waits to be on display for sale. This gentleman claimed he was 8 before he knew that. So, ok, now you've given me a weird parenting compliment.

I suppose that's what the "little helpers" was supposed to be, too. He had no clue it may be offensive...that's the wrong word. I'm not offended. Very little offends me. World hunger offends me. The Nazis, they offend me. A guy shopping at Whole Foods? Not so much.

It's just that I need far less social commentary while choosing stone fruit. Keep it to yourself, buddy. You may think it's cute. But it's my everyday reality. Ordinary. I'm just a dad out with 2 rather precocious children. Yep, they're mine. You may see us sometimes--out and about. It happens.

Those are my kids, aren't they wonderful? Now I have some cream cheese to buy, please go away.

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