Yesterday was one of those days.
Stella and I were heading downtown, walking along the sidewalk when up ahead of us, an elderly woman came off her bike. Five or six people walked by, eyes everted, heads down, as she struggled to free herself from the pile of bike and shopping, get dusted off, and lift her bike.
(Smouldering. Why won’t anyone ever offer assistance. Polite. Yeah right. Only when when you want something.)
I held her bike while she found her shoe. Then we went on our way.
I had a recipe in mind. A curry. And I was on the hunt for cauliflower. I should have known, when I didn’t see it in any of the fruit and veg stands, that it wouldn’t come to me easily. But my heart was set on mixed veg curry. With leftovers for samosas. I wanted teh cauliflower. When I found it, was monumentally expensive. Cheap, plentiful boring ‘ol cauliflower. Eight dollars for a tiny head.
(Seething. Why is everything in this country so effing expensive. Cauliflower. They practically give it away. Ridiculous. Who pays eight dollars for one serving of vegetables. Highway robbery, this is.)
After errands, I thought we’d cool down in the park. The weather was gorgeous, it was right after kindergarten let out, and the park was practically brimming with children. Stella and I found our usual spot: a shady patch in the sandbox, next to a slide.
Two ladies approached. One asked if I spoke Japanese. Then she said, “maybe the sandbox is too dirty for your baby.”
“Kids are dirty,” I said. “I think it’s fine. Thanks anyway.”
“You should play over there. Your baby will get sick.”
I asked why that sandbox was better than this one.
“This sandbox is closer to the path. The dogs and cats pee and poop in here. It’s too dirty for your baby.”
(Absolutely fuming. We always play in this sandbox. I always see other mothers playing with their kids in this sandbox all the time. What’s the big deal. And, I hate to brake it to you, lady, but if the stray cats are pooping in this sand, they’re pooping in that sand too. And who the hell are you, anyway, to tell me how to raise my kid. Holy effing hell. If she eats a bit of sand, it’s not the end of the world. And enough with your judgment. And, no, I don’t need a reminder to wash my kids hands after playing, thankyouverymuch. The degree of cleanliness of my child’s hands has no bearing on my parenting skills. And you know what, I DON’T GIVE HER A BATH EVERYDAY! SHOCKER! So THERE! fume. fume. fume fume. stew. fume.)
So. It was one of those expat days.
Now, internet, I need you to please talk me down from the ledge. Tell me that these things happen in North America as well. Tell me that it was an unhappy coincidence; a random constellation of annoyances. Tell me tales of kindness and neighbourly love. Because I’m pretty annoyed at Japan. And I need to be reminded.