Saturday, April 14, 2007

My bad night at Starbucks

Last week I went for coffee with bff and of course brought little Sweet Pea with me...he was after all only five weeks old. We were at a Starbucks that is a stone's throw from the christian university that I graduated from 10 years ago. While at coffee he needed to nurse and be changed. I nursed him on one side as discreetly as you can nurse a newborn and then he needed to be changed before I finished and then headed on my way home...which was a half hour away. The coffee place had no changing table and so, being the tired momma I was, I just laid out my diaper mat and changed him on a cushioned chair. I did not have my van with me and it was almost ten o'clock at night. I had the VW beetle and there is no good way to change a dipe without having the door open. Anyway...it was not my first choice but like I said I was tired. My mistake.

Anyway, there was a male and female at a table not far from us and they were clearly students at my alma mater. The male had no direct line of sight to me, but the female was giving a play by play and I had already sensed she was disapproving of the NIP (nursing in public). When I pulled out the pad the man went up to management to complain very loudly that there should be a changing table in the bathroom (something I whole heartedly agree with) and he went on and on. I was finished with the change and out the door before he sat back down. I know that my actions can totally be offensive to some, so I left out of embarrassment. (Not the NIP... the changing a dipe)

As we were walking to my car, he followed us out of the coffee house and approached us rather aggressively. I made eye contact with him and asked him not to engage us, we were leaving, but I started going off about the health code violations and so forth. My friend and I were shocked at his aggression and disrespect and she tried to refute him saying we never touched the seat etc. and he just got more hostile.

I then asked him what he is doing with his life and responded that he was a student and I pushed the matter and asked if he went to the college. He confirmed it and I let him know I was an alumni. I went on to ask if that was the christ image he wanted to share with others. By now I'm close to tears and I said that what my son and I needed in that moment was a bit of grace. I was sorry my actions were offensive. He continued to yell about fecal matter and the bit, so realizing that we were not going to be able to reason with him...I after all had committed two cardinal sins...changing a diaper and NIP. So we walked away. As we were walking away he called me white trash. I asked for him to repeat himself and he called me white trash again who lacked all modesty.

I was feeling shocked, hormonal, shamed, exhausted and totally wounded. I collapsed in a puddle of tears and cried for like two day straight afterwards. It did not even occur to us until we were in my car how scared we were and that we should have threatened to call the police.

I left feeling totally beat up and it has taken over a week to get my head around my emotional response...and here is where I am with it today:
1. It sucks when I run into evil disguised as religious piety. His behavior was of judgement and righteous indignation. And he was hostile and aggressive in a way that was really scary. If I come across that kind of behavior again I will immediately call 911. Following us out of the store was unacceptable. And...

2. There really should be adequate changing tables in all eating establishments...babies are everywhere and deserve a clean and safe place for their mommas to attend to their needs.

I'm really hoping that I will mature to the point that when a hostile and angry man approaches me, I will simply not allow it. I am really done with aggressive men.

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