THE smallest gestures can have the biggest impact on your day – especially when they’re negative.
I was reminded of this at a movie screening recently, at Robina Common. A children’s park, of all places.
We took the kids along to watch a free outdoor screening of the new Paddington movie and it was a packed session; everyone was practically sitting shoulder-to-shoulder.
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I was perched precariously on a thin wedge of lawn between my cousins and another family, with my four-year-old next to me and my one-year-old on my lap.
I was sitting low, not wanting to ruin the view for the kids behind me, while also waging a losing battle against keeping my toddler quiet and focused on the movie.
She was tired, impatient and wriggly, so after about three minutes of trying to keep her still, I gave up and decided to take her for a walk.
For the guy sitting next to me, it wasn’t a moment too soon.
“For f*cks sake,” he grunted. “Can you do something about her? I don’t want to spend the next two hours with your kid kicking me.”
We were surrounded by children – including his own daughter, who seemed to be around the same age as mine – so his aggression really caught me by surprise.
“I didn’t realise she was kicking you,” I said. I glanced at his wife, wondering if she were as horrified as I’d be, if my husband spoke to a complete stranger like that.
“And we’re moving, anyway.”
He was radiating animosity as we packed up and walked away. My heart was racing for about 10 minutes afterwards – I was just gobsmacked that someone could be so rude and agitated for such a minor reason.
How would he have reacted if another man spoke to his wife so aggressively, I wonder?
It could have (and should have) been a different interaction. He could have said, “Excuse me, would you mind moving over? Your little one is accidentally kicking me.”
If I’d ignored him or grunted or rudely responded, then he could have unleashed the F-bombs and aggression.
But to lead with that kind of response, straight out of the gate?
It’s hostile, and unnecessary.
And it begs the question: if he’s willing to be like that with a female stranger, what is he like with his family behind closed doors?
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