It started off a somewhat disappointing day. We piled into the supercool minivan and headed to the Farmers' Market; it was opening day, and the short people just couldn't wait to get there. The weather didn't cooperate, 55 degrees, windy, rain-ish. There was asparagus and some really expensive strawberries.
Maybe next week.
We ran a few more errands and decided to visit the library. It's been a REALLY long time since we've been there, thank God for multiple renewals, and the short people chattered and chirped as short people always do. Except Elliott. He's been a little on the shriek-y side lately, and I made a point of shushing him as I put the books in the return slot, while watching the top three make their way to the elevator, magic portal to the Children's Room.
I didn't want to put all of the library books in the return bin, we are using some for school, and they needed to be renewed. While I was sorting and watching and returning and shushing, a man got up from his computer station and walked over to me.
Him: Did you know your children are playing in the elevator? He was sneering at me.
Me: I did know that. Thank you. I continued to sort and watch and return and shush.
Him: Your children are obnoxious. Even my three year old knows to be quiet in a library.
Me: Well. Good for your kid. And to be clear, I did not say that. I thought it.
I'm not sure if it was the lack of response that flipped his switch, but the man WENT. OFF. I can't remember what he said exactly, but he was up in my face and screaming about calling Child Protective Services and having my kids taken away.
I was really scared. Never in my adult life has a large man wanted to fight me in a library. Or anywhere. And also, nobody's really ever picked a fight with me before, which is good, because I think I'm kind of a chicken.
I was also furious. How dare he tell me I am an unfit mother because my kids talked in a library? Who is he to call the authorities and report me? He was being threatening and intimidating and a general crazy-ass jerk, and there were at least 25 people watching him rip me a new one.
I did a very, very bad thing. People, I shouted in a library. LOUDLY.
How about you practice a little bit of grace, hmmm??? Maybe a little kindness and understanding for a mama who is CLEARLY on top of things, and who does nothing but parent these small people 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, with NO.BREAK.EVER. And how about you pull that stick out of your ass, sit down and leave me alone.
Oh dear... I did two bad things. I shouted really loudly in a library, and I also shouted ASS in a library, in a very superty loud voice.
He continued on with his rant, and his promises to call CPS. I happen to know the number, because I've called it before, so I shouted it to him. Twice. Maybe three times. And I backed away from him. His last comment was something about how that day was the last day I'd see my children.
Really? Tell them my name is Pamela Dayton, and I say BRING IT.
And then I threw up a little. Thank God my children were playing in the elevator.
Not one of those 25 people said a word. Not the library staff, not anybody. Well, one of the library staff mouthed, "Sorry" to me. But they did not remind him of the rules, they did not ask him to leave, they did not call him out for being a menacing bully. Epic fail, library. Epic.
Thank God that I am friends with the Children's Room librarians, and that one of them was there when I walked downstairs. The director of the library came to the Children's Room to apologize to me for his behaviour, which was a nice thought, I guess, but really? Not enough. Not nearly enough.
It is never alright to allow a bully to be a bully. It doesn't matter if the bully is 5, 18, or a 40-something 6-foot-plus man weighing over 200 pounds. It is not okay.