Thursday, April 17, 2014

Judgemental much?

I was just in the park, looking at my mobile phone when I felt a pair of disapproving eyes upon me. I looked up to see a fully paid-up member of the knit-your-own-tampon brigade giving me a dirty look. I instantly knew she had decided I was one of those "prefers social media to her kids" people you see on Facebook. I feared I would appear, in all my texting glory, on a page somewhere while the postee primly admonished us all to put down our phones and focus on our children - they are not little for long!*
I was outraged. My children's father is fighting in Iraq and I was simply setting up FaceTime so that he could enjoy the vision of our three year old descending the slide. That's not true of course; Andy is in the CBD having very important meetings where lots of people talk in acronyms (TIA) while he thinks about sandwiches.


That's the thing about being judgemental; you don't usually know what it is you're actually judging. Appearances can be deceptive, our own prejudices and failings colour our opinions and anyway who put us in charge of society?
In my role as Empress of the known (and unknown) universe I can be incredibly judgemental. I do it with gusto sometimes (like when I saw a woman in Woolies chastising her 18 month old for having been "a little shit all day" while he sat casually slurping on a can of Mother and thinking he wouldn't visit her when she's in a home and wearing a nappy of her own) and I do it absent-mindedly when someone says something ridiculous (like when a person I thought was quite sensible suggested soaked, sprouted almonds as a viable alternative to biscuits).

I also do it willfully and behind closed doors when someone has a very different ethos to my own. I have judged (in no particular order and with differing levels of severity):
·         People who wear baseball caps backwards
·         Women who smoke while pregnant
·         Men who skateboard over the age of 21
·         Proponents of the "cry it out" sleep "technique" for babies (note judgmental use of inverted commas)
·         Shoppers who don't return trolleys
·         Every human being with bad manners who has ever walked the face of the earth
·         BMW drivers 
Admit it – we all do it. Not those things specifically of course, we all have our own personal bugbears, but I’d bet $4.11 that every person reading this blog post (Hi, how’s it going? We must catch up more) have, if not today, then this week, judged another person without knowing the whole story. It’s hard not to. But we should probably stop it. At the risk of sounding all Biblical and whatnot - “Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged.” Yes, it’s hard to hear but for every fag-smoking, non-trolley returning, skateboarding, BMW-driving, bad-mannered, pregnant woman in a backwards baseball cap planning on leaving her child to scream, there is a fairly sensible person looking at you and thinking “OMG, I can’t believe s/he is doing that.”
And YOU know you’re a decent sort right? So maybe they are too. Perhaps we could take an Easter pledge, fuelled by Christian love and chocolate driven endorphins, to cut each other a bit of slack. Except for BMW drivers, they’ve got it coming.

*For the record, I agree that we should put down our phones and play with our kids; they are grown in the blink of an eye and they LOVE IT when you give them your full attention. And what I was actually doing in the park was photographing Aggie on the swing and Whatsapping the photos to my Mum in England - you know, fostering a loving grandparent-grandchild relationship across the miles. How d’you like them apples disapproving-playground-wench?!

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