Dear Checkout-Lady from Woolworths,
I just wanted to write you a quick note, apologizing for the fact that the way I live my life doesn’t seem to meet with your approval. Maybe I should have explained myself properly at the time, but let me make it up to you by doing so now.
When I came through your checkout, it was during the last part of a very long day. My family lives on a farm a good 40 minutes from the nearest town we can do a decent shop in – your town. So when I take my kids there, it usually means we do a BIG shop so as to not have to return soon. We had already spent the day suckling at the big-business teat and engaging in crass commercialism – having visited Bunnings for plants, Harvey Norman for electronics, Aldi for the first lot of groceries, Big W for toys and Subway for lunch with their mother who works in your town. Our energy was low and our finances were lower by the time we got to the checkout of your store for the second lot of consumables.
So no, I didn’t have the energy to give a detailed answer when you said to me “So, you are the babysitter today huh?” I must admit, it never occurred to me looking after my own children was babysitting, I just thought it was being their dad. But anyway, my answer of “No, I’m the househusband” seemed to upset you. I guess you expected that a decently dressed male looking after two kids mid-afternoon was just experiencing an aberration to his usual routine. You must have thought that it was a one off and that the next day I would be back pouring cement or desexing camels or some other manly career. The idea that I look after my kids (no – it’s not babysitting) every day didn’t resonate with your idea of the world.
And then a few minutes later the second unpleasant surprise for you occurred. You put through a little Transformer toy – a $5 Autobot from the latest movie to come out – and went to hand it to my 4 year old son with a smile and a “Here you go”. He took it, looked at it, then handed it back to you and said “No that’s for my dad”. The look you gave me said it all as you took the toy back and bagged it with our groceries. Not only did this guy you were dealing with not have a job, but he was buying children’s toys for himself?! Freak alert, freak alert! No wonder you didn’t make eye contact with me or speak again for the remainder of our transaction.
So yeah, I had better explain myself.
I worked as a teacher for SIXTEEN YEARS lady! Sixteen years of damn hard slog! And for nearly the past 5 years my wife had looked after both our home and our two children she gave birth to during that time. She wanted to resume her career and I needed a break from teaching so we moved states and swapped roles. Now I’m the one looking after our home and children while she goes to work – is that OK with you? I also look after our 120 acre farm and animals if that makes it more socially acceptable. Oh, and I’m self-teaching propagation so hopefully one day both my wife and I can make a living out of it and set up our own plant nursery. Perhaps in your eyes I should be content with saying into a microphone “Clean up in isle 3”.
Why is it that, even in the 21st century, a woman is applauded for taking on a career yet a man is still treated like a leech if he takes on the role of homemaker? Could you explain that to me Ms Checkout Lady? Since I’m such an unemployed bum I obviously have the time to listen.
As for buying that little $5 Transformer, well yeah, you’ve got me there. It was for me. However before we came to your store we had been to a different one where my son had gotten a $20 Transformer and my daughter a $20 My Little Pony. I’d also bought a relatively expensive thermos for my wife ($45 but it was in her favorite colour which makes it OK) so that I can make her soups to take to work for her lunch. So no, I wasn’t splashing out on myself while the rest of my family did without. And guess what? I’ve got THOUSANDS of Transformers at home! That’s right – literally thousands! Been collecting them since I was seven years old and I intend to open a museum one day! So if I restrained myself to buying a little $5 one then for me that is pretty damn good. And the toy says 6+. Well I don’t know how good your maths is since you just scan everything, but 39 is definitely on the plus side of 6!
Why the severe judgment for what I spent that piddly amount of money on anyway? I wasn’t buying myself booze or smokes. I wasn’t buying myself chocolate or sweets or junk food. I wasn’t betting it on a horse or sticking it in a pokies slot. I wasn’t earmarking the money to buy weed or pills or get a blowjob in some dingy back alley. I was buying a little toy. Out of all the things I could be spending money on – a teeny action figure should rate pretty low on the objectionable scale.
So I’m sorry Ms Checkout-Lady from Woolworths (I won’t call you a ‘checkout chick’ since it’s mildly sexist and you looked way too old to refer to as a chick anyway) that my lifestyle choices offend you. I’m sorry you found the way I go about my existence unsettling to the point you wouldn’t speak or make eye contact with me. But you know what – I LIKE my life! I like looking after my kids. I like tending to my farm. I like making meals for my wife. And yeah, you better bloody believe I like Transformers! And none of this is going to change any time soon.
So if the way I live still offends you, then next time don’t try and make small talk. Just shut your damn mouth and bag my f*cking groceries.
Got something to say about the above? Would love to read it in the comments section below!