June 14, 2017
Here I am, a grandmother, and I got in a bar fight on Monday. Not fisticuffs, mind you, but a shouting match with a young mother who thought I had been rude to her. This began when her baby screamed like a siren in a restaurant-bar, where I was seated with my friend -- we'll call her Felicia. She is a lot of fun, but a political animal who is over-concerned about her image.
When this toddler's scream seared into my eardrums, I put my hands over my ears, issued an epithet, and looked to see from whence this sound came. Across the way, there was a table with a toddler, and a mother trying to soothe him. I rubbed my ears again, perhaps overplaying the wounded eardrums a bit. I do have a sense of melodrama.
My friend Felicia waved to the mother as if to say, no worries, it's all right. I thought that curious, as I expected the young mother should be waving an apology to us. But Felicia doesn't like a scene, unless she's making it, so she kept waving to the woman in apology for something her toddler did.
Overall, Felicia and I did have a grand time talking until it was time to leave. On the way out, she introduced me to the owner of the bar -- she had chosen this particular place because she knows the owner and, as I said, Felicia likes to show off.
As I was greeting him, the young mother came up and said, "Well, I hope you won't be as rude to him as you were to me."
Stunned, I told her, "I wasn't rude to you. I was reacting to your child's screams, that's all."
But she insisted, more loudly, that I had been rude. So I told her that she was now being rude to me. At that point, I would have turned and walked out, but my so-called friend Felicia suddenly took this woman's side and told me, "You were wrong, Pat."
I was shocked. What? I was wrong for reacting to a child's scream that truly hurt my eardrums?
All I could tell myself was, for God's sake, don't get in an argument with Felicia, too, as that would make this situation even worse. So I found myself yelling even louder at the young mother, although I was really yelling at Felicia, who did only one good thing during this debacle, which was to say, "Calm down."
When I did, and we walked outside, I didn't want to start another argument by telling Felicia how angry I felt at her turn-coat behavior. Instead, I put my words into psychobabble, saying, "I don't like being attacked."
Felicia patted my arm and said, "I know. That woman should have let it go."
Oh, so outside of earshot, Felicia felt that the young mother was wrong. Inside, I was the bad guy. But it was Felicia's overriding concern to save her face in front of the restaurant owner and the young mother that made me lose my temper in the first place.
Next time I go for drinks with Felicia, it won't be to her choice of venue. Not that I intend to get into another bar fight, but with Felicia along, I definitely want to make sure there's someone around who's got my back.