I nearly struck a small child this afternoon on the train, because he was poking me repeatedly with an umbrella. Possibly the only thing that stopped me was the memory, trapped, no doubt, at the cellular level, of the look of horror on my sister’s face some years ago when I recommended that a screaming child on the Acela be euthanized.
“It’s very clearly broken,” I explained. “Maybe we could get its people a lovely shar-pei.”
Today’s child wasn’t a babe in arms, which makes his behavior much less excusable. In fact, he was old enough to walk, although not old enough to protest when his parents dressed him in a teeny set of overalls and weirdly girlie pink rainboots. So I’m guessing about four or five. He poked me in the side with his small-person-sized umbrella, and then – this was the worst part – he smiled.
“Oh, you think that’s funny, do you?” I said.
He giggled. Poke, poke, poke.
“A little lower,” I said. “See if you can get the kneecap.”
His Dad, who seemed to only speak Mandarin, took no notice. The ladies across the train, however, thought the whole thing was hilarious. Which brings me to my next two points:
1) I have the least scary face in the world, even when I’m annoyed.
2) Kids, dogs and cats will insist on sitting on me, even though – maybe because – I’m slightly allergic to all of them.
In anticipation of your protests: There are many pets and people of small size near and dear to my heart. I love my sister’s dog, and both of my cousin Shannie’s little girls. But these are blood relatives (yes, even the dog) and therefore much easier to understand.