Kiss Lady

(Written in 2002--some info no longer current.)

I now hate the sound of the Spanish language.

I took Spanish in high school and enjoyed it, and spoke it fairly well for a sheltered little non-Hispanic girl who'd never been to a Spanish-speaking country. I generally like Spanish, and the people who speak it. And until recently I had nothing against the sound of it either, but I realized today that that had been ruined by one person.

There is this bitch who comes into the bookstore where I work, every couple of days, with her damn one-year-old. She allows the child to trash the bottom two shelves of most of the kids' books section. Guess who's department head of the kids' section? Yeah. Guess who has to repeatedly clean up after this monster? Yeah.

So when I hear this lady running after her one-year-old calling out in hushed Spanish that I cannot understand, I wince, I flinch, my blood pressure goes up, and it sucks. I know when I hear her voice that shortly I will see kids' books all over the floor, and possibly juice spilled and baby-gummed crackers left all over the table (yes, they do this too, and make no attempt to clean up or apologize). Doesn't this lady think about what she's doing? Our store isn't her daughter's playroom, you would think she wouldn't let the kid destroy the store day after day.

And the weirdest thing about the whole situation is that this lady repeatedly bestows kisses upon her child. Lays the kid on the dirty floor and goes "mwah-mwah-MWAH!" between excited praise in Spanish. I was very scared the first time I saw this. Now I just pray for them to leave.

And today, I heard some people talking in Spanish. One voice sounded remotely like the lady (I found out later it was not her), and immediately upon hearing it, my heart started pounding with annoyance and anger that soon I would be playing maid to a kid I did not birth. Relief washed over me when I saw the source of the Spanish: A different family, in the intermediate series section, calmly looking at Goosebumps books.

I realized then that the Spanish language has been forever ruined for me by a total bitch.

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Comments from others:

Mikey: It is a real sad truth that just about anyone can be a parent and have the callousness to not respect others' things and have the common sense to teach their children this valuable lesson.

Viorica: Bratty kids and indulgent parents . . . takes me back to when I was babysitting and the mom always said "He's just being a normal kid!" even if her "Normal kid" had tried to push his sister down a flight of stairs. GAH!!! I quit.

Dove the Unoriginal: Oh, do I understand that feeling so much. I work in a bookstore and no one likes the kids' section for this simple reason. Many of the parents don't even go back there with the kids or else don't seem to give a damn. My heart literally leaps with joy whenever I do hear a parent say something like "You have to put it back before you can get another one" or simply "Time to put them back" because it happens a lot less often.

There was also one woman I recall, who hasn't come in much since, who was very ditsy and simply didn't know how to control her son. I didn't think it was my place to tell someone else's toddler what to do and I could almost swear she was hoping I would (or just hoping I wouldn't blame her for not knowing how to handle the situation.) I think she said something about his older sister being a lot less of a handful but I could be wrong. Either way, it wasn't much of an excuse.

Irritatingly enough, there are three boys that come in frequently and read books from the manga section. They sit on the floor, around the shelves, and read the books, sometimes bending them badly without even paying any attention to it. I'm almost certain they never actually put the books back on the shelves properly. They either leave them on the floor or pile them on top of the books still on the shelves. I've started to loathe the very sight of them.

I am pretty certain they don't understand that what they're doing is wrong. But things shouldn't be that way. I want to slaughter them but the truth is, I'm much angrier at the mother/some other female guardian who drops them off, disappears, and then comes back to collect them later. (She may not leave the store but she certainly doesn't stay with them.) I blame her for not teaching them better manners with regards to other people's things.

I realize raising children isn't easy and it probably isn't the intention of some of these parents' to not teach their kids better. But you don't take an unruly dog, that bites, out for walks in a high-density public park without facing some consequences. ;P

Kiss Lady: El lenguaje es un muro dificil de atravezar, y un mundo dentro de otro mundo donde nadie se entiende es casi una locura. Yo me asustaria igual que tu con alguien que hable ingles desesperadamente, como asustado.
Suerte ;)

Ed: "I now hate the sound of the Spanish language."

"...and immediately upon hearing it, my heart started pounding with annoyance and anger..."

A very sad example of how Pavlov's classical conditioning works.

I can only hope you are cured by now. Some people even after strong doses of mEducation (spelled just like that) still can't get cured from feelings like this so they actually put together support groups:

I hope you never subscribed to the views of the well-known "support groups" mentioned above, but I know for a fact that if they ever read what you wrote they would put it on their page along with a huge picture of you any day. They love to collect all sort of stories like your little essay to arrive to some all-encompassing conclusions about the world order.

Now, a course of action that I think could significantly reduce the symptoms you describe is to watch a movie like the movie "Labyrinth" a few times.

Now, classic conditioning on the topic of kisses will totally vary from person to person. My mother's kisses are a treasure in my heart that have accumulated a great deal of interest and I'm not sure that I could live a day without kissing. I mean, if there's not a significant other (of the opposite sex in my particular case) I always kiss, cuddle and tickle my cats : )

swankivy: The above poster didn't put an e-mail address, so my reply goes here. In case anyone is unaware, the above posting was mainly deliberate exaggeration, and the anger response I had was directly related to thinking the Spanish-speaking guests WERE Kiss Lady (whose presence always caused me to have to spend twenty to thirty minutes cleaning up her crap). It really wasn't like a Pavlovian response to hearing Spanish (since if the Spanish-speaking family hadn't sounded like Kiss Lady I wouldn't have cared), and it DEFINITELY doesn't indicate any generalizations about Spanish-speaking people based on this psycho lady. I was just annoyed at the time that now if someone spoke Spanish in my store and sounded like this lady, I was going to have to wonder if she was back (though that situation didn't end up happening again; she stopped coming eventually, and during the time that she WAS coming nobody else ever sounded enough like her to make me grit my teeth). Outside the work atmosphere I never had anything like this happen either.

Bree: I really want to learn spanish, partly for this reason.