I think I should just cut my losses and rename this blog “My Life on Public Transport.”
After all, it seems like that’s all I have to write about.
This week, I have been lucky enough to be helped by no less than two bus drivers to lift a folded buggy into the luggage rack of a crowded bus (credit where it’s due), but sadly this laudable improvement in customer service has not saved me from the perils of Ye Great British Bus-Riding Public.
Today, as I took a seat at the back of the bus with a surprisingly well-behaved Piglet, I was greeted by one of these members of said Public, who began his conversation with me by enquiring about Piglet’s gender.
Now, there’s quite a lot I could say about gender here. Like, for example, how as women we are expected to smile sweetly and nod along with the preposterous gobshite uttered by so many of Britain’s less educated males when they regale us with tales of how they don’t believe in Facebook-too full of middle aged women (or, as they may have been described here, “hippos,”) posting pictures of themselves when they were younger and slimmer-oh, the shame!-but I will leave this point for another day. The same individuals always think they know all the latest trends in acceptable child-rearing policy, and can’t wait to inform you (“he’s a boy? He needs a haircut!” “He doesn’t have a dummy? Oh good, it’s a disgrace, all these six year olds going around with dummies in their mouths!”) However, today’s Gold Star comment came when the gentleman in question enquired if I was married (“do you have a hubby?”) He was quite clearly waiting for me to say no, and when I did, he loudly stated the name of a local council estate known for high levels of social deprivation, and labelled it, “The Land of No Fathers.”
Quite what the connection of Piglet and I to this place was supposed to be was not explicitly stated, but the implication was that I was the stereotypical “benefit scrounging” single mother of the type that the Daily Mail loves to hate. I won’t flatter myself by saying I might have passed for a teenage parent (although I desperately hope so, for reasons of vanity) but despite my liberal Guardian-reading moral outrage at the broad stereotyping of an entire geographical area (which of course, I would NEVER DO) the comment was so ludicrously inaccurate that I almost fell off my chair laughing.
Me, the benefit-scrounging, uneducated single mother. Because that’s what we’re all like, right?