Who are you?

The howling can be heard from the aisle, right behind,
perforation of prima donna eardrums has begun.

Child sprawling on the floor, red faced, chubby
arms drumming on the floor, Keith Moon style.

What’s wrong with that mother, assumes stiletto lady,
positioning her fish eggs and brie in the trolley,

next to her organic bananas, closely escaped
from Cyclone Yasi, fully embraced

by short term market forces,
but who’s counting lady.

Can you please control your child, she hisses
her exasperation at such an infringement

on her perfect, botoxed life, so smooth
and predictable, furrow free.

The mother growls, showing off his t-shirt
I’m autistic, what’s your excuse!

________________________

ps. Best to read while listening to the song (click on the Keith Moon link)

32 thoughts on “Who are you?

  1. My lady may be a bit of a caricature! This has never actually happened to me, but to plenty of my friends with kids who have ASD. Before I had kids, I probably was thinking the same thing as ‘the lady’ but I’d never say them out loud 😉 It’s funny how your perspective can change so much over the years.

  2. “I’m autistic, what’s your excuse!” I wanna a T shirt! I wanna T shirt!
    That felt so good. Actually I am a bit deaf and I have a badge that reads: ‘I am not deaf, I’m ignoring you!’

  3. Well said, Gabrielle! What’s that about walking a mile in the other person’s shoes? Even the brightest people just don’t think sometimes.

  4. People with sensitive ears should take responsibility for controlling their own noise. I ALWAYS travel with ear plugs. Sleep with them, too. Screaming kids are everywhere. So is Musak and loud TV’s in waiting rooms. Who cares?

  5. what a great response! it reminds me of this story about the car, breaking down, in traffic, at a light. and the light turns green and the car wont move. and then someone behind the car starts honking
    and shouting “move it you —hole”. and the driver gets out, walks over to the honker and says, “excuse me, i will sit there for you and swear and honk your horn if you will get out and come over and start my car”

    1. She just had to wear stilletos Aletha (I am not anti-stilletos, but wearing them shopping is just ridiculous). I am not sure if you would get the cyclone Yasi reference (banana stocks were decimated because of that last huge cyclone we got and the stock that were left were more expensive than gold 😉 ). Thanks for your lovely comment 🙂

  6. Great poem Gabrielle … and a situation that rings so true.
    Perspective can be a funny thing … I probably rage inside my head against things that in a few years time will not bother me at all (I’ve already noticed that with other previous irritations).

    1. Thanks Tracey – and it’s funny that our perspective and temperament can also change completely depending on simple things, like if we are hungry or tired – I’m terrible on an empty stomach or caffeine deficient 😉

  7. You capture the challenging dynamic of public meltdowns in this poem. Hard not to growl in response when criticism (or even just looks) are given–I know I have before 😉 Hard to deal even with people you know are well-meaning but unable to help, like the woman who approached my raging son last week and said firmly to him, “Your behavior is not acceptable,” as though that would help me out. Impossible to have enough energy in the moment to explain the whole of WHY such help is not helpful when also trying to work with my child.

    1. I am sure the woman meant well (and thought she had the right approach) but how annoying. I suppose that is why some people use the t-shirts 😉 – not that I have done that – they are really big in America apparently.

  8. OMG. I Love this. From the Keith Moon style drumming to the bananas closely escaped from the cyclone. I have seen those women in the supermarket. Uptight, is putting it mildly. I think most of them live in gated communities. With butlers. You’ve done it again. I bow to you…..

    1. Bwahaha – you crack me up Selma (gated communities with butlers – haha). I’ve just realised on re-reading my poem that it might sound like the mother is saying the last line ‘I’m autistic, what’s your excuse’ but it is what the t-shirt says 🙂

      1. I read it as being on the T-shirt. I suppose you could think the mother was saying it but I do feel it’s clear enough that it’s on the T-shirt!

        1. Thanks Selma – you never really know how someone will interpret a poem – my ‘growl’ was meant as an image (the protective mother bear type thing) not as an utterance – glad you got it.

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