As a parent, there is nothing more infuriating than what happened to me yesterday as I took a peaceful walk to the park with my two children.
Walking back along the cycle path at the end of our road, BUB.1 was on his scooter behind me, stationary, looking at the blackberries, while BUB.2 languished in the buggy. The path is as much used by walkers as it is cyclists, it is wide, it is tree-lined, it is my sanctuary.
My phone vibrated and I took it out of my pocket to check the message – we are selling our house at the moment and searching for another one, so I’m receiving a lot of calls at the moment, which demand quite rapid attention. As I punched out a text to the estate agent, with the three of us immobile at the side of the path, a huge, looming cyclist, accentuating every word and projecting like he was on the stage, boomed:
“Mummy’s on the phone, cyclist coming through, and he’s passed and little boy is fine”… and whoosh he was off.
I wanted to punch him in the face. What was the point of his shouty checklist? He wasn’t shouting to warn me of his presence because we weren’t even in his way. Does he usually suffer from children hurling themselves under his cycle wheels?
And how DARE he. How DARE he refer to me as ‘mummy’ and insinuate that I was somehow being neglectful or endangering my child by sending a text message, an important one at that. He knows nothing about my life, that I spend the majority of it, all of it, looking out for those children and I don’t get many seconds in the day to do all the other stuff that needs doing. I wonder if he felt bad or knew how bad he had made me feel on my nice, peaceful walk?
Probably not – he just saw a woman, a mother no less, using her phone for a second while he cycled past us. How very dare she. But surely much worse is a mummy who shouts out a naughty “W” word in front of her children. And he made me do that. So I hope he feels bad about THAT.