I’m so sorry; I didn’t mean to take up this much room on the sidewalk. I am obviously less than six feet away from you! Our stroller is enormous, I know, and it’s not very considerate of me to have such a big stroller and be in your way. This is so embarrassing! I really should have gotten the smaller stroller, despite its capacity to hold things like toys for the park (back when we could go to the park), because you had to walk around us and waste a precious four seconds of your day. Even worse, I was speaking to another mom when this happened, the first friend I’d seen in three months, and we just took up way too much space while grasping at human companionship. Did I say this was embarrassing? I meant humiliating. Try to forget this ever happened, and please, get back to not picking up your schnauzer’s poop.
Please forgive me for buying groceries while my daughter is crying. She was asleep in her stroller when I came in here, but then she woke up after I’d already started shopping, which is clearly my fault. I promise just to grab a few things for dinner, as quickly as I possibly can. It’s also my fault that I didn’t realize we needed groceries in time to order online and set up home delivery; I didn’t think we could wait until Wednesday for 1% milk. I’m so, so sorry that she’s cranky, and I’m out of gummy bears to bribe her with, and we’ve utterly ruined your cucumber-buying experience. This sacred time for you has been spoiled, and for that, I express my sincere regrets. On reflection, we will leave immediately, and I just won’t make dinner for my family tonight. If you could please refrain from making eye contact with me as I leave, I would appreciate it, as the shame I feel is extreme. I’ll just back up and walk down that other aisle, because you blocked me with your shopping cart and walked off to take that phone call from your chiropractor.
Frankly, it is inexcusable that we are picking up our takeout at the same time as you. I have no acceptable explanation. Selfishly, we wanted to take a walk somewhere as a family, and to not have to do our own cooking for a change. We’ve been sheltering in place inside our two-bedroom apartment since March, but here I go being a narcissist again. We are clearly self-centered monsters. There’s no other way to say it. Even worse, we’re letting her play with my husband’s phone, probably warping her young brain as well as further corrupting her already questionable behavior, in hopes that she’d sit still and give us five minutes to talk about our mutual depression over the shitstorm that is 2020. Our inability to make a three-year-old sit and color quietly so you can wait for your burrito while pressuring Facebook friends to buy your Rodan & Fields in peace is, in fact, a huge personal failing, and we should be in therapy.
Stop, you don’t even have to say a word. I can tell from your intense eye contact that you are justifiably repulsed by being on New Jersey Transit while seated two rows away from a couple with a small child. We’ve packed a new toy for her to unwrap every ten minutes of this half-hour train journey from Penn Station to Orange to keep her occupied, we have a fully charged iPad (and headphones, so you don’t have to listen to it!) with age-appropriate games and movies, and we deliberately chose a mid-day train to not disturb any essential workers at the end of their shifts, but it’s obviously just not enough. We have well and truly failed to be responsible parents or citizens of the world. It doesn’t matter that our daughter is quietly wearing a mask with hand-drawn Princess Elsas, or that we’re visiting my mother-in-law, who has been at home in total isolation for three months and is so desperately lonely that she’s taken to writing alternate universe fanfiction about co-hosting Family Feud with Steve Harvey. We will destroy thirty minutes of your life by our mere existence, and I don’t think I can live with myself if we do that. Please, avert your eyes, you can continue that loud conversation about how your wife got so pissed when you gave her the Peloton and told her it was time to “lose those saddlebags,” and we’ll get off this train to go home for at least the next seven years. I am so incredibly sorry.