Monday, April 09, 2007

Oh no you didn't

Two young mothers boarded the El this morning with five children between them. The oldest kid was about 8, the youngest, 1. The boys were obviously excited and a little rambunctious, but I was completely unprepared for the way one mother reacted when her son stood up briefly. Her loud string of invectives was so vile, so profane and so shockingly hurtful, you could feel the whole train tense up. It involved four letter words up to and including the big F and promised a beating should the kid dare not obey.

The fifty-something woman in front of her turned around with a disapproving, "Now hush," which I think was more than appropriate, but I was left shaking. I suspected from the family members' ages and clothes--as well as the fact that they boarded the train on Chicago's West Side--that they were likely not well off, but living in poverty has got to pale in comparison to living with a hair-trigger temper like that. My heart goes out to those kids.