Lack of Love in an Elevator / by Courtney Mehlhaff

I was recently on the elevator heading to work along with three other people. A bubbly young woman was chatting with a man who was obviously a coworker, and another woman was standing behind me. Bubbles, as we'll call her, since she was FAR too energetic for a Monday morning, started talking about her daughter.

Bubbles:  "Oh, my baby's never going to leave me. She's going to live with us forever."

Me: How old is this kid?

Bubbles:  "Have I shown you the double pacifier picture?"

Me: Oh, crap. It's an actual baby.

At this point, Bubbles whips out her cellphone, and I make a concerted effort to avoid looking in her direction. She shows the picture to her coworker, who offers an appropriate adoring response, and then shows it to the woman behind me.

Meanwhile, I'm watching the floors tick by and hoping against hope that I stay off her radar. No such luck.

"Here," she says, literally shoving the phone in my face.  "I think you're missing out."

Parents, we know you think your kids are precious. And, most of the time, we're willing to give you the obligatory oohs and ahhs that are somehow your reward for procreating. Hell, we even lie and say your offspring are the most adorable things we've ever seen, even if they look like scrunchy little aliens.

But here's a general guideline: No matter how proud you are, do not force pictures of your child on complete strangers and demand validation. Especially if they've shown absolutely no interest, and especially if they appear tired and/or generally surly.

What bothered me more than Bubbles' audacity (besides the invasion of my personal space) was that she gave no thought to why I might not be ogling her kid. Maybe I'd just lost a baby. Maybe I was having trouble getting pregnant. Whatever the reason, I wasn't interested. But she insisted.

So, when she said, "I think you're missing out," I wanted to reply, "Nope, I don't think I am." 

What I actually said was, "Cute." But I said it through gritted teeth and without smiling, and my lack of enthusiasm seemed to deflate her a bit, which was highly satisfying.

In any case, I managed to get my point across without explicitly telling her where she could shove her phone next. Because hey, I'm a bit of a grouch before 9 a.m., but I'm not a monster.