“Concerned” Strangers

20140522-183436.jpg I took the baby boy on his first LRT ride today because I needed to go to the mall nearby to buy some stuff.

This short trip was decorated with two conversations with two complete strangers. I must say that babies and young kids seem to make great conversation starters with people I don’t know, but today’s conversations made me feel like telling these “concerned” strangers, “If you don’t know, you don’t have to say a thing.” Of course, I didn’t tell them that. I just left the almost-one-sided conversations the way they were – one-sided for the strangers.

A lady got on the LRT at the same station and sat next to Breyen and I. I knew she was looking at us and I just kept a straight face while making sure that Breyen was comfortable in the baby carrier.

Lady – So cute hor?
Me – *entertains her with a smile*
Lady – Two months old?
Me – One month.
Lady – *looks surprised* Girl?
Me – Boy.
Lady – Oh… I thought girl. Look like you.
Me – He looks more like his elder sister.
Lady -*looks even more surprised* You have an older child? But you are so young!
Me – *knowing where this is going* I look young but I am not that young.
Lady – Really? But you look so young.
Me – I am 30 years old.
Lady – Oh? I thought you are 20!
Me – *entertains her with another smile* (Breyen squirms and stretches a little while sleeping in the baby carrier)
Lady – I think he’s not comfortable. You should use a stroller for such a young baby.
Me – It can be difficult to move the stroller around in the mall.
Lady – Oh… You going for checkup?
Me – Going to buy some things.
Lady – Okay…

And then awkward silence until we reached the station and she quietly got off.

Alright lady, thanks for your concern about my baby being in the carrier, and for “complimenting” that I look 10 years younger.

I decided to get Mos Burger for lunch. I got to the counter and before I could place my order, the slightly elderly staff at the counter had something to say.

Staff – Aiyo… Baby so young, shouldn’t carry like that.
Me – *Tries to place my order*
Staff – Less than 4 months, don’t carry like that. Later the baby twist his neck.
Me – *keeps a straight face*
Staff – What would you like to order?
Me – Yakiniku rice burger, clam chowder and fries.
Staff – You shouldn’t take clam chowder yet. Not 4 months yet. Corn soup is better for you. *proceeds to key “corn soup” in*
Me – *a little exasperated* It’s okay, I want clam chowder please.
Staff – Oh… So cancel corn soup?
Me – *keeps quiet, thinking “I never ordered that in the first place”*
Staff – Okay… *continues to process my order* Baby so young, don’t carry like that… No good for the baby…
Me – *keeps quiet and makes payment*

I must say that I almost wanted to cancel my order and just buy my food somewhere else. I acknowledge that this staff was being a concerned stranger, but please don’t place orders on my behalf, and please don’t sound like I don’t care about my baby’s neck.

So… Concerned strangers? Or nosey pokers? Oh well…


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