Thursday, September 9, 2010

Unsolicited Advice

First of all, apologies for the hiatus from posting. We've been dealing with a lot these last couple of weeks, but everything seems to be working out for the best. Since the topics of our blog (saving money, eating healthy, etc) have taken a hit as we've been consumed with the other challenges facing us, the topic of today's post is something different that's been irking both of us more and more: unsolicited advice. I have to believe that everyone is subject to this most unwelcome commentary to their life at some point, but for reasons I still can't quite discern, as young women we seem to receive more advice than most. People particularly love to give us advice about raising "my" child (the baby I nanny for), raising our dog, and maintaining our relationship. Two of our favorite conversations regarding the first two topics are paraphrased below for your amusement:

The background to this scenario is that for the first half of the summer, while Alix and I were both working, I would often have to come home with the baby in his carrier in order to walk the dog around lunchtime. I would take the dog out for five minutes, and attempt to gracefully pick up poop while keeping a fussy, sweaty baby away from the rambunctious dog and said poop. One day while I was doing all of this, a man felt the need to stop me mid-poop pickup and tell me:
"You should really put a hat on that baby!"
"Mm-hmm, thank you for your concern."
A. It was a cloudy day. B. We were in the shade of our 12-story building. C. We were outside for two minutes. D. The baby was pouring sweat in the 90 degree heat and would enter full-blown meltdown mode if I insisted he continue to wear his sun hat, which, thank you very much, I do put on his downy head when there is the slightest chance that sunlight will make contact with his skin.
The man walked off, disgusted by my poor parenting skills, while the dog continued jumping, and I continued scooping, before herding us all inside so the baby could nap. Truly, thank you for your concern.

Alix's experience occurred while she was walking Rupert home from our vet's office, a place that Rupert inexplicably loves. He loves it so much, in fact, that he will often put up a huge fuss on the walk home as he strains to walk backwards to his beloved vet, Dr. Walsh. At a particularly trying moment, Alix stood patiently clutching the end of the leash while Rupert defiantly flopped on the sidewalk (this happens more often than you might expect). While waiting for him to move, a large, obnoxious woman came lumbering up to Alix and insisted that "she wasn't handling the situation correctly" and that she "needed to bring a toy along" to entice the dog to walk with her. She then proceeded to attempt to lure our timid puppy towards her, a maneuver that is destined to fail, since Rupert is terrified of anyone obnoxious enough to get in his face. After failing to entice our dog, she took another crack at offering Alix a solution.
"Are you married?" she asks.
"No..." responded Alix, not really seeing where this was going.
"Do you have a boyfriend?" was the immediate response. Without waiting for a reply, she followed with, "The dog must have a stronger bond with your boyfriend, which is why he doesn't listen to you."
Ah yes. Thank you, kind stranger, for your concern, not only with our dog's discipline but with Alix's sexual orientation and relationship status. In a feat of irony, Rupert immediately got up and trotted home with Alix, despite his apparently stronger bond with her boyfriend.
Maybe you should let your boyfriend walk the dog...
Since these two incidences, we've received more advice than we even want to remember. The concerns regarding our relationship probably annoy us the most, since we are happier than literally anyone else we know. We acknowledge this without a sense of superiority, only with frustration at the apparent inability of people to believe that a 22-year-old and 24-year-old can manage a relationship of a maturity and commitment that few other people our age do. Whatever. Maybe thirty years from now, people will stop giving us advice on everything we do. Actually, you know what, they probably won't. Guess we better get used to doling out a steely smile and the stock reply "thank you for your concern."

2 comments:

Wiley said...

hi! I found your blog through the Smithie blog listing and love it! My wife an I are doing a similar thing re: food, that is, trying to eat really well on a small budget. She actually just wrote a post about it here: http://pioneersblog.wordpress.com/

I'm looking forward to seeing what ideas ya'll come up with and reading about the process!

Cait and Al said...

Wiley, I can't believe it took me this long to realize you commented! (I am a blog newbie, as you can tell from our simple layout.) Also, coincidentally, I just found Brigid's blog this morning and am already intrigued. Let's agree to keep reading!