Today I met the biggest tool in Woodstock.
He sat down right next to me (believe it or not, I look a lot more inviting than I sound) at breakfast at Oriole 9 (best french toast in Woodstock). He must have thought he would have a good audience in me because he decided to share my bench. First he tried to move it - with me on it - eating my french toast. When he had trouble lifting it, he asked "do you mind..." at which point I lifted my fanny, mouth full of french toast, so he could move the bench to his liking. I smiled so he would know I was fine with it.
He laid out all of his "paperwork" (I use quotes because I'm not sure he was actually doing anything useful - just trying to look useful). He was "jotting" notes down on his paperwork furiously while simultaneously looking to catch somebody's eye so they could inquire as to what somebody so "busy and useful" might be doing.
I could feel him continuing to look at me. Waiting for his opportunity to start a conversation.
Then he heard me asking the waitress if she knew of anybody who babysits in town because I was in from LA.
"Los Angeles!? You're in from LA?! I have a place in LA! It's so nice to hear somebody say the words "Los Angeles." That last line should have been a warning.
"Yes. I live in LA." Then I made my first mistake. "Where's your place?"
"Santa Monica. Well near Santa Monica (which is already weird because nobody from Santa Monica ever says "I live NEAR Santa Monica" to somebody else from LA. ). But I also have a place in the city. So I have three places really. And now I'm here. I'm not sure I want to keep paying for all three places though..."
Mistake #2 "Oh. Well what do you do that you can be in all three places? Are you a writer?"
"Yeah. I'm a writer. And an editor. And a musician. You know, I write music for movies and stuff. All kinds of things..."
The waitress showed up to check on us. I should have waved a white flag because he went on and on about I'm not sure what. But he was incredibly passionate about it. Whatever "it" was. Somehow we got on the topic of the new Woody Allen movie and I said "I really liked it, even though I don't like Woody Allen."
"What's a Woody Allen" asked Ben.
"Woody Allen is a director. He's a person. He makes movies. And I don't really like him." I said.
"Because he married his daughter and it's gross."
The tool then responded. "I think it's great he married his daughter! YEAH, Man! Go!"
Livi looked at me like she just saw the face of crazy for the first time.
"Uh huh." and I turned away from him to break up a fight between Ben and Livi and hopefully end our conversation politely.
We ordered. Then we waited for our food. During which time Ben was all over his sister. Pulling, pushing, grabbing. Doing things hungry kids do.
"Ben, keep your hands to yourself, please."
Now anybody who knows Ben knows he's kind of "handsy". He can't help himself. He grabs everyone and everything.
Our food came and calmness ensued. That's when the Tool leaned over. "Do you mind if I discuss something with you?"
Thinking he wanted to talk about "writerly" things I thought I'd be friendly and said "okay..."
He then proceeded to tell me how he couldn't help but overhear me ask my son to "keep his hands to himself" and how I should never tell my son to "keep his hands to himself." (what more could I expect from somebody who respects Woody Allen's romantic choices). "It's important he learn to be free and loving."
Then he added "I really appreciate you taking my advice on this. I just see you squelching his natural urge..."
I'm not sure what he said after that but I wanted to squelch HIS natural urge. I couldn't believe this TOOL was giving me parenting advice!
Unable to control myself, I smirked at him. Actually laughing while I spoke to this idiot. "Do you have kids?"
"I raised two boys from ages 3 - 10." I wasn't even going to touch that weird statement or engage it since I was pretty sure he wanted to talk more about why he got the kids so late and why he doesn't have them anymore.
"Ah." I continued laughing and turned away. I thought that would just shut him down. But no.
He went on to tell me how important it is to allow my son to express himself however he wanted. There was more - I just don't remember any of it. I couldn't stop composing my next blog post about him in my head.
I didn't even bother responding.
What do you say to people who just want to impose their advice on you? They don't know you. They don't know the children. They know nothing of the circumstances and yet they feel qualified to FIX you. Unbelievable.
Some tools are useful. Helpful objects that help you achieve your goals - fixing a sink, hanging a picture...and then there are other tools - the ones who want to fix everybody else.
Yeah. What a F*cking Tool.