Hate As A Pastime

I was eavesdropping again.

You can’t really help it when you’re out carousing alone. It’s as though you have an antenna that picks up random frequencies, frequently, I might add.

This time I was perched on a park bench attempting to read when a middle-aged couple sat beside me. I did have a rather nice view right in front of the boat pond, but they could have opted for one of the many empty benches…but then I wouldn’t have been so aptly entertained.

I tried not to listen but they were arguing over what I figured was her son by another. “He’s lazy,” the man said. “Why do you let him live off you the way he does? Let him go out and get a job for God’s sake.”

The woman didn’t say anything which let me know this was not new ground. Like every other conversation I listen to, I want to put in my two cents usually refraining.

After ten more minutes of his horrific harangue I turned to him and said, “I gather you don’t have any kids.”

“Excuse me, are you talking to me?” He did have a Travis Bickleness to him which should have sent me running, but we know me better than that.

“Yes…since I’ve had to listen to you carry on as though I weren’t here, I think it’s a fair question.”

Something told me I just addressed Hitler by the frightened look on the woman’s face.

“I don’t see why it’s any of your business,” he said, his tone of voice razor sharp.

“Technically it’s not, but you’re permeating the air with such hatred I must protest. Your lady here clearly can’t be happy you loathe her son so much, and frankly I find it very sad, very sad indeed.”

“You don’t know anything about it,” he said, flabbergasted at my temerity. I mean this guy wasn’t used to anyone standing up to him being an obvious bully through and through.

“Of course I do, since you’ve just educated me. Hell, I could write an essay I know so much (little did he know).

“The kid’s a lazy bum and she just won’t admit it.”

“She? Does She have a name?”

For the first time the woman spoke. “Claire, my name is Claire.”

“Susannah, nice to meet you.”

“And I’m fit to be tied,” said the asshole.

“Hi Fit, how’s it goin so far?” Yes, she was in it now right up to her navy Wellingtons she wore since it looked like rain.

“I think you’re out of your mind,” the guy said, throwing up his hands that I’m sure wanted to choke me.

“Is that the very best you could do? If what you say is true about this kid, then it sounds to me he needs help. Why can’t it come from you?”

The woman shook her head. “He hates him, that’s why.” Boy, did my heart fly open. The sadness in her voice as she said this filled it to the brim.

“How old is he?”

“Old enough to be on his own,” snapped Fit.

“Nineteen,” the woman said softly. “My first husband died in a accident with him in the car and he’s never been the same. You see his father was teaching him to drive. He just can’t seem to forgive himself.”

Now I really wanted to slam husband number two. How could he be so heartless. Yes, I was in full-blown judgmental mode but felt it warranted. I turned and spoke softly to him.

“You know, those are very sad, not to mention unusual circumstances and this kid clearly needs love and understanding in a big way. You strike me as a very strong, forceful man who could probably help him heal. As a bystander, I wonder if you could possibly reconsider your feelings by giving it a try. If not for his mother then for humanity’s sake. (Who the fuck was I channeling?)

To my surprise he didn’t answer. Instead he got up and started throwing pebbles into the pond. It would have had a Huck Finn feeling to it if he wasn’t so outwardly mean.

“I appreciate what you said to him,” the woman said. “I could never have done that. He has such a temper and can’t see the pain my boy is in.”

“Well you know Ma’am, there are no accidents. We shared a bench today for a reason so maybe he’ll soften toward your son. Stranger things have happened. What’s his name by the way?”

“Matthew, like his dad.”

Matthew, what a great name, like the Apostle.



About Susannah Bianchi

I'm just a girl who likes to write slightly on slant. I've had a career in fashion, dabbled in film and to be honest, I don't like talking about myself. Now my posts are another matter so I will let them speak for themselves. My eBooks, A New York Diary, Model Behavior: Friends For Life and Notes From A Working Cat can be found on Amazon.com. Thanks.
This entry was posted in Books, Family, humor, kids, Love, New York City, Politics, Uncategorized, Women and men and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Hate As A Pastime

  1. I will hold them in a positive light for peace, seems like they could all use some along with strength and understanding. No accidents indeed Susannah.


    • Peace is at large, let me tell you. You can’t go anywhere it seems without witnessing some type of aggression or upset. See many couples fighting…kids acting out. I see it on the train…how easily triggered everyone is. The world is sitting on the edge of their seats. It’s very upsetting not to mention scary. Yeah, they’re are no accidents indeed.


      • You are so right. It’s like walking through a mine field these days. I had a woman screaming at me because she couldn’t get an immediate appointment, meaning in that moment..seriously her toe nail clipping could wait another 24 hours. When I hung up I thought people really need to simmer the F down.


      • You said it. You can feel the tension everywhere. When someone is nice and pleasant you stop in your tracks since it’s becoming rare. Just now the young kid at the cafe I go to gave me a free roll because he knows I like them. Wanted to cry at the gesture. So few these days.


  2. micklively says:

    Well done Susannah: you’re so much braver than I.


    • Or stupider…it’s just something I can’t help…injustice…if you saw that poor woman so beat down by her husband’s rantings, I’ll just bet you would have stepped up to the plate too. Just a hunch Mick πŸ™‚


      • micklively says:

        I don’t. I sometimes wish I had but, generally, I chicken out. I tell myself I’m unlikely to make a difference, or the victim may take a beating as soon as I’m out of sight, or other such excuse. Maeve is as crazy as you and likes to wade in.


      • You’re right…who knows what happened really. I hope that wasn’t the case. I’m always ready to defend someone else, more than myself. It happens a lot…especially with dogs…


  3. skinnyuz2b says:

    Oh, Susannah, you said all the right things. I’m so impressed with how you kept your cool and were not overcome by your emotions. And I’m sure you made the first chink in his armour. You obviously hit a nerve. I feel so badly for that young boy.
    I always think of the best things after an incident, when it’s too late. So many people would have kept quiet, or given one FU kind of remark before walking off. You did so good. Wish there were more people like you.


    • No no, there were no heroics, believe me. I’m just nosy and self-righteous to a fault. I always stick up for people who can’t seem to do it for themselves. She was so sad and he such an ass. Imagine disliking a kid that much who’s had such heartbreak not to mention guilt over this bizarre incident. A boy learning to drive is such a watershed in a young man’s life..a rite of passage if you will, just on wheels. My open aches for this kid…oh Skinny…kindness, understanding, compassion…where are they…they’re becoming extinct.


  4. jimmie chew says:

    you did good, youre a good egg!


  5. Elle Knowles says:

    Yes you were brave! I always have hindsight in those kind of moments.


  6. Lisa says:

    Wow really awesome what you did. And that’s pretty horrific what he was doing. No one has things figured out at 19 (I was just discovering myself) so to say he’s old enough to be on his own isn’t always true especially with the economy these days and the fact that he had a traumatic experience only a few years before will definitely set him back.


  7. Patricia says:

    Bravo! Wonder what makes 19 the magic number to be out on your own? If I was Claire I’d have booted the old coot’s behind to Iowa..


  8. katecrimmins says:

    Love your kahunas! They are really big ones! Most people would have moved to a different bench (or city!). Can I borrow them from time to time? Next time I am in a situation like that I am going to say, “What would Susannah do?”


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