In the past 24 hours this story has morphed from anger inducing to a wonderful little ancedote. The change was because of the absolutely lovely reactions of the people I’ve shared it with. There is nothing like the joy of telling a story that leaves your listeners with their mouths agape and asking, “You’re kidding, right? What the…? You are kidding. No, you’re not…. What the…?” Now that I’ve calmed down I present….Yesterday at Work.
During the course my adoption planning there has been one reoccuring theme from one person I work with. At least once a week she will ask me angrily, “What in the hell are you going to do with a kid?” My answer is always something along of lines of either “What do most people do with kids?” or “I don’t know. I don’t know what she likes to do yet.” (I blame the influence of the unschooling email list for the second answer.) I then blow off the whole conversation.
I’m not a person who shares emotions. My default setting in social situations is sarcasm. The stupider the question I am asked the more physical difficulty I have supressing the automatic sarcastic response. This has led certain people (like my mother) to conclude in the past that I am a cold hearted [email protected]#$^ without a shred of human decency. I suppose I am when the people I am dealing with are presenting themselves to be absolute morons.
So yesterday after the “What the hell are you going to do with a kid?” question the two receptionists started discussing my parenting qualifications or lack thereof. This led to questions asked very seriously such as, “Are you going to let her sleep in the house or will she be staying in the barn?”
Stupidity level – Incredibly High. My response – “We just paid several thousand dollars to finally get someone to finish her bedroom. She’s staying in that room whether she wants to or not.”
Note to self – sarcasm is wasted on people who would seriously ask you that question in the first place.
Next question – “Are you just getting this child to be a slave?” I didn’t even honor that with a response. “Do you realize that you have to be nice to children and tell them that you love them and be affectionate with them?” By this time I was giving them a look. It did penetrate one of their thick skulls enough for her to say, “This isn’t any of our business.” That didn’t stop their discussion though.
Then the one looks at me and very sanctimoniously states, “Dr. (me), I don’t think that anyone should give you a child. I’m very serious about that.” She has added mightly to the world’s overpopulation problem and thinks that she is the final authority on all matters child related. I consider her to be an arrogant, snide, and secretly very angry woman who is very lucky that I have many years of experience of calmly looking at people while calling them all kinds of names on the inside without going over the desk and giving them the smackdown that they richly deserve. She is also lucky that her opinion does not influence me in the slightest and that I really can’t afford to be fired to beating up employees.
I’m not sure where this might have gone if the other one who is very clear on her racist viewpoints hadn’t suddenly asked, “The child will be white, won’t she?”
I smiled ever so sweetly and said, “Probably not.” The stunned silence was worth all the crap before. She then said, “I don’t think I’d be able to look at you again if you have a black child.” It took every ounce of energy and willpower I had to refrain from saying, “Well, that would solve a lot of problems, wouldn’t it?”
Discussion followed about her opinion of black men which I won’t even begin to repeat. I was then asked how my family would react. I said that both the husband and I have close relatives who have married outside their race and have kids so our families are already fairly multicultural.
The response – “Multicultural? That not what I call it.” More diatribe ensued. At this point I brought up what a wonderful influence my friends who are a interracial married couple and their adult daughters will be. (She is one of the people I told this story to this morning. She found it hysterical that I brought her up as a good influence since she plans on teaching my child all kinds of ways to annoy me. Oh well, when poking at people’s bigotry you have to use what you have.)
I walked away from the conversation because I didn’t know how much longer I could refrain from sharing my true thoughts with them.
I called my sister-in-law on the way home and asked her if I was a horrible awful person who could not be trusted with a child. She gave a gasp and an astounded, “No, you are not horrible!” I laughed and told her that she was the only person I knew who would give me that answer without prompting. I had already asked my brother when he answered the phone and he just laughed.
Like you I have a hard time controlling my sarcastic gene. You have far better control over than I.
I wonder, do the secretaries ask all potential parents these questions, or just you?
Jeeze, don’t you have anything like Human Resources you can report the nasty old bags to?!?!?! Or some sort of harrassement threat to hang over their heads. I mean, that’s what their doing….. What horrid, horrid old grumps!!!! (Silently thinking of a lot more horrible names to call people of this nature that just aren’t suitable for public forums.)
And how does anyone “QUALIFY” to have a kid. Would that there was some sort of decency standard, my SIL wouldn’t have two spoiled brats that she doesn’t give a rat’s patooty about, and considering a third. And biddies like the 2 at your work wouldn’t have been allowed to marry, muchless concieve. Just…. Wow!!!!! The insanity of their attitudes is appalling!
It seems to me that your coworkers are projecting their insecurities on to you, and in the meantime trying to rile you up. They don’t know what they would do with children, so they assume you won’t either.
When I was going through the foster parent licensing, I heard all kinds of things about how horrible the children would be.
Don’t take it personally and don’t take it personally. I know, easier said than done.
It is too bad that you aren’t getting support from your coworkers about this. Raising a child is hard, and the more support you have, the easier it is to do it. Even if they don’t do anything for you, just knowing that others care makes you feel more empowered and capable.