I say "I try not to judge" a lot. It's not strictly true. I try not to judge too harshly. I try not to judge out loud too much. I try not to judge based on things that people can't help.
These groups do not make that task easier.
Although there are many reasonable inquiries on the first timeline - which gymnastics program is better for young children, request for hair stylist recommendation, has anybody tried the new Italian restaurant - there are also frequent indications that many of the moms in my area are of a venal, sub-intelligent, parsimonious type.
First there are the "Let me Google that for you" questions: what time does Wal-Mart open? What street is this dentist on? How do I wash lamb's wool?" Then there are the seemingly topical inquiries that inevitably devolve into unseemly gossip: "Why are there so many sirens down this street?" "I drove by and saw an accident." Good, there's an accident, everybody avoid driving in that area. No wait, there's more. "It was three cars and there are five people involved and one was drunk and two are wearing fur." "Last week near there I saw a woman almost hit a dog. I could tell by looking at her that she doesn't breastfeed." There was a thread about police cars and ambulances at a house near my son's school and people speculating about what had happened in the family that was really quite icky.
The appeals for hairdresser, doctor, dentist or optometrist suggestions usually result in a good number of honestly helpful ideas and testimonials. But there is often one person who feels the need to contradict at least one referral, while offering some horrendous personal experience as a reason: "OH GOD, don't go to Lisa at Hairy's, she cut my daughter's hair into a 666 pattern and then charged me seventy-five dollars!": "I can't believe anyone is recommending Dr. Patterson at Optometrists R Us, he put up an eye chart that had obscene words in it!": "Avoid this doctor's office, you will be drugged and sold into human slavery."
|Photo by Eunoia|
And finally, the inquiries about where to buy goods or services that all end in earnest requests for economical recommendations: "Where can I get winter tires without spending a bunch?" "Best place to get custom-made birthday cake without spending an arm and a leg?" "Who sells mattresses at a reasonable price?" "Does anyone have a yacht for really cheap?" Look, I get it. Times are tough and no one wants to spend more than they have to. But really, what do they think people are generally going to suggest? "Go here - it's extremely expensive." "Oh, ask for Roger, he'll screw you right over." "We paid way too much at this place and we STRONGLY SUGGEST YOU DO THE SAME."
I know, I know, I could just remove myself from the group. It clearly doesn't bring out the best in me. When I'm not rolling my eyes, I'm weeping in envy at the ease with which women with small children can now find other people in similar situations to get together with - this group could have saved my sanity ten or twelve years ago. I guess you have to take the bad with the good.
I feel like that's enough snark for one post, so I'll save my Prolegomena on any Future Metaphysics of Freecycling for a post later in the week.