…that I’m worse than a Celtic slave. I don’t think the little birdie is even capable of imagining how wretched a slave’s life could be and that comparing that life to mine is rather unfair but I, secretly (and, might I add, shamelessly) reveled in that moment. I belong to a dying breed and in my world a considerable number of conversations go something like this:
Stranger I’m meeting for the first time: “So, do you work?”
Me: “I’m a housewife”
Stranger: “Oh! Lucky you” or “What do you do all day?” or “Don’t you get bored just sitting around?” or ” It must be nice that you can have fun while your husband’s at work”
Me: “No, I keep myself busy.”
Stranger: “Really!! Doing what??!!??” (jaw drops to the floor, gasps, goes into psychogenic shock, turns purple, body goes limp, and collapses to the floor)
Me: “Well…this and that” (smiles, calls 911 and walks away)
I’ve been through almost 12 years of such conversations with strangers and many more that turned out to be exponentially worse, hurtful, belittling, and in extremely bad taste with people who weren’t quite that unknown to me.
And then it happened. A few months ago my little one learnt about the Celtics at school. One afternoon, as she was having a snack she started a conversation with me. It went something like this. She asked me, out of the blue, why I kept doing something or the other around the house. I told her that it was my job. So, if I didn’t do it, who else would? Besides, her daddy and she didn’t help me much and so I had to do it myself. She pointed out that she goes to school and her Appa goes to office. I agreed but pointed out that her Appa and she do get free time after they come back from office/school, they get sick days off, vacation time, weekends off etc. They don’t have to get up at 5 am every morning. They get to watch TV while I cook. They get to go out with friends whenever they feel like it. She thought about it for a few minutes and said, “Amma! You are like a Celtic slave! They used to do all the work in the village and the Celts protected them in return. Do you get protection?” I told her that I didn’t think so. I am pretty much alone at home the whole day, and when I do go out for my classes or grocery shopping, I have to fend for myself. In fact a couple of times, guys on a bike tried to “push” me when I was walking to class from my parked car and there was nothing I could do.
Now her mind went into overdrive. I could see that she was giving some serious thought to what I’d just said. After few more minutes of considering all the angles she declared, “Amma, you are actually worse than a Celtic Slave!”
Having gotten that thought off her chest, she continued working on her snack, letting me get back to whatever it is that she had distracted me from. To her it was just an irrelevant observation, a passing thought of no consequence. To me it was something else. It made me smile. Somebody had finally noticed me 🙂