Sunday, June 5, 2011

Parting the Red Sea

Cutting in line is wrong.  This is one of few absolute truths that the whole of humanity can agree on.  Cultures may differ on whether society should rehabilitate its criminals or chop their hands off.  They may disagree on whether rain is caused by a confluence of atmospheric conditions or a carefully sequenced dance ritual.  But nowhere in the world is cutting in line okay.  Unless you have small children.  Yes, the rules and norms of society vary widely for those of us wielding a baby.  This should not come as a surprise though.  Normal, healthy, well-adjusted adults do not pretend spoons are airplanes; they do not talk incessantly about the color of bowel movements; and they do not babble incoherently at an unresponsive and immobile victim in hopes of conjuring a smile.  Parents of infants do all these things.  Regularly.  So it should not come as a surprise that this same crowd considers cutting in line not so much a deadly sin, but a perfectible art form.  The first time it happened to me it caught me by surprise.  I was minding my own business, waiting in line at my favorite tool store with some hacksaw blades in one hand and a five-month-old in the other hand.  My son began fussing while we waited, and the person in front of me immediately begged me to cut in line- apparently so I could get my soon-to-be-screaming baby out the door sooner.  In a moment of clarity (rare for those who get so little sleep) I realized that I held in my arms the modern day equivalent of Moses’ staff.  Taking a trip to the store with a baby, once an abhorrent idea, suddenly became welcome.  It was worth struggling with the car seat, finding a cart without pinch points, and cleaning off pacifiers dropped on supermarket floors, all for the chance of being able to move up a few spots in line once I reached the front of the store.  In my opinion, this benefit is worth every bit of the pain and agony associated with childbirth.  I’m beginning to understand why some couples have double digit offspring. 

1 comment:

  1. So you must live in a much friendlier community or I just need to make my children cry when we get in line. I have never been offered to cut. Also I don't think you can accurately say all the pain of "childbirth" is worth it because you have never given "birth"!!!