This is the transcript of a recent conversation between me and a check-out clerk during a recent shopping adventure:
Clerk punches some keys on her machine. “Hello. How are you today?”
Me: “Good, thanks. And you?”
Clerk: “Fine, thank you.” The clerk notices Sweetie sitting in my shopping cart. “Are you off today?”
Me: (Casually) “No. I’m on every day.”
Clerk: (Trying again) “Oh, you have her with you today?” (Nodding at Sweetie)
Me: (Picking up that the clerk does not recognize me as a stay-at-home Dad) “Uh, I have her with me every day”.
Clerk: (Still trying to connect with me) “That’s nice that you can bring her with you on the job.”
Me: “Yeah, umm, she is the job.”
At this point, the man putting my items in the cart decided to chime in.
Clerk #2: “Oh, I know how that goes. When I was unemployed it became my job to take care of my kids. I brought them with me everywhere.” (Without any explanation on his part this made me think of chicken-wing lunches at the local sports bar.)
So at this point my cart was loaded and my groceries paid for, so I politely wished them a good afternoon and rolled on. As I thought about the conversation I got frustrated. During the entire ride home my frustration festered. But it was not the clerks’ collective ignorance that got me (this isn’t an online forum for me to piss n’ moan).
In reality I missed a perfect opportunity for some “dadvocacy”. Instead of joking around with the clerk I should have simply explained that I was a stay-at-home Dad. (I do have a tendency to think that I am hilarious, even though sometimes it is not entirely true) Maybe we would have both taken more away from the conversation. I can’t expect more people to “get” the SAHD reality if I am not going to talk about it…even with perfect strangers. Oh boy, something else to work on.