I had an odd interaction with the Stella D'Oro Cookie Man man at my local big box grocery store yesterday. It happened as I studied the shelves in search of the perfect cookie for the chocolate creme pie I was planning to make at home.
This started when an elderly woman commented that I seemed to be very serious about my cookies. I explained my intentions, and she chuckled and said, "Well, aren't you ambitious."
The Stella D'Oro Cookie Man, stocking the lower shelves where his sub par cookies lived, looked at me and said, "You don't have kids, do you." Not a question. A statement.
"Uh, no," I replied.
"I used to like to cook, but now I have teenagers and all they want are pizza and hamburgers."
I murmured some words of consolation and began examining cookies further away.
"Hey! Do you want some teenagers" echoed up from the bottom shelf, in a tone that was curiously both joking and imploring.
I laughed and said emphatically that I was childless by choice, a fact which occasionally engenders grief from those members of our society who judge people for making choices different than their own. (I was trying to make him think that not having kids wasn't all that and a bag of chips.)
Mr. Stella D'Oro replied. "Those people are just jealous of you. I mean, the good things about having kids are really great. But, the bad things are just worse." He sighed.
At this point we were about 8 feet away from one another, and I hoped he couldn't see the slight consternation that passed across my face. Who WAS this guy complaining about his kids to a stranger in a grocery store. "Hang in there!" I called as I grabbed a package of Nabisco chocolate wafers off the shelf, and quickly rolled away.