Wednesday, November 7, 2012

"Put A Cover On!"

Over the weekend, my husband, baby and I went out to lunch, which is a pretty big treat in our world. We're working hard to be thrifty and the baby isn't always in the best mood for a restaurant but today, everything lined up perfectly and we found ourselves in the Chinese restaurant we were regulars at, back when we were regulars anywhere. There was hardly anyone in the restaurant but everyone there seemed to have a small child with them.

We ordered and Georgia began to fuss a little, so I picked her up and fed her like anyone would. Now, I am not always the most discrete breastfeeder, but when I'm in a restaurant, I really do try. It's not that I feel breastfeeding should be hidden or is in any way shameful, but often in a restaurant one cannot help what is in one's line of vision and I don't need my nipple staring at anyone while they're chowing down on fish in black bean sauce. I was wearing a dress, so I pushed the fabric to the side, popped the baby on, put her little "minky" over the top of my breast where her head didn't cover, and we were off. There was no one facing me, so it was easy to relax and feel like I was doing a good job of caring for my daughter while being a part of the world. My husband and I talked, ordered our lunch, were served our beverages, I switched the baby to the other side, repositioned her minky, and lunch as served.
Just as I was taking my first bites of my meal, a middle-aged white woman with bleach-blonde hair and a business suit walked through the restaurant. As she walked by our table, she snotted loudly, "Put a cover on!" Both my husband and I were stunned and it took us a beat to both ask, "Excuse me?" It felt like everyone in the restaurant was looking at us, trying to figure out what was going on. The woman was already at the restaurant's exit and it took some serious self-control on my husband's part not to run out there after her and rip her a new one. We went back to our lunch, talked briefly about how crazy she was and laughed it off, but it stayed with both of us. My husband was angry, really angry, and I felt embarrassed, and then embarrassed about feeling embarrassed.
The thing is, it is totally crazy behavior for an adult to yell at a stranger in a restaurant, no matter what I had been doing, and as I tried to make sense of it all, I felt the need to remind myself that no one sane with a legitimate beef would have behaved that way. What's even crazier is that woman only saw me as she walked across the restaurant; she'd been nowhere in my line of sight at any time before. That means she went from zero to I Need To Say Something in about 45 seconds. I can't imagine how she runs the rest of her life. But I also have to admit I felt sad that nursing my daughter, which has been so lovely for us, was somehow dirty and disgusting in her eyes. She got her ugly all over me and now I had to shake it off, girl, shake it off!
I emailed Cori as I was licking my wounds and she replied "...She could choose not to look if it bothered her, but to say something like that is totally out of line and just shows her nasty character. I'm glad you and Patrick didn't confront her, she wasn't worth it.... I want to punch her straight in the neck."
After that, I felt better and I remembered something I've said to myself since I was clearly pregnant and dared have a glass of wine in public: You can't live in fear of what people will think. Do your research, make your decisions, and then live your life, knowing full well that someone is going to disapprove. When you're a parent, you've got to toughen the fuck up. 

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