Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Insensitive comment or what

I was at my usual Tuesday evening dance class with my youngest this evening. It’s a 12-week beginner’s course and we’re kind of enjoying it. It would be better if we hadn’t had new people start every single week, which meant the instructor taught the same dances week in, week out. Anyway, she’s offered us the opportunity to stay on each week for the improvers’ class free of charge. She said that it wasn’t her fault we’ve been fast learners. Hmm. Anyway, I won’t complain. I quite enjoyed staying on and observing, and joining in the more advanced class a little tonight.

The evening was tarnished somewhat by an exchange though. It all started when my 15-year-old got a text from her mate in the middle of the class. The instructor was going through something with the newbies. Some of us had done it all before and were chatting away until she finished. My daughter decided to reply to the text. I noticed and asked her to put the mobile away explaining that it was bad mannered to send or read texts in the middle of a class. The instructor noticed and asked her to put the mobile away telling her it was considered poor etiquette to use a mobile during class. I thought she handled it well and my daughter put it away.

Ten minutes later, during another lull, I noticed the mobile out again and in a somewhat irritated tone said, “Put it away – now!” Another woman smiled at me conspiratorially and said, “These kids and their mobiles.”
Then she turned to my daughter saying, “You know these phones are not good. They can cause all kinds of problems. You can even get kids crossing the road using them.”

I interrupted, “Thanks but actually ...”
“You never know what’s round the corner just using a mobile and suddenly...”

Again, I interrupted, “Please don’t. The thing is ...”
“They’re so focussed on these daft phones - they don’t see the car coming ...”

Again, I tried, “No really. Please stop. Please don’t. You see...”
“And then, before you know it, they’re dead. Just like that.”

It was too late. She was so focussed on the lesson she wanted to give, she just hadn’t been able to listen.
“Yes we know. That’s just how my son died.”

“Oh dear.” Her expression flickered for just a second. She looked unsure - just for a second. Then it was replaced by a look of, well the smile was almost triumphant, “And that just proves my point. Don’t use a mobile” (little nudge to my daughter’s ribs accompanied by a conspiratorial wink at me) “They’re bad for you.” With a laugh, she turned back to get in line for the next part of the lesson.
I guess my son’s death was at least useful then. It reinforced her point so I ought to be grateful that she was able to support me. The thing is that what I would have preferred was that as soon as I had said how my son died, she could have replied, “I’m so sorry. I can see how my example might be difficult for you to hear.” It was the smile on her face as she smugly announced, “And that just proves my point,” that made me want to slap her.

I won’t recount this incident when I’m at work tomorrow because I just know that I’ll be met with, “Oh she was probably embarrassed”, or, “She probably didn’t mean it like that/it came out wrong”, or the old chestnut, “Well people don’t know what to say do they.” As if that excuses it.
I accept that any of those might be an explanation – but never an excuse. Never!


  1. OMG!! i'm sorry. my heart just sank as i was reading this. but i never expected the reaction she gave upon hearing the news of your son. how heartless and classless. sending you lots of love...

  2. I think the answer is she is a stupid insensitive bitch. I've had two incidents like this in the the last week or so: http://susansobspot.blogspot.com/2012/02/cracker.html I think the thing is, it's almost like people think, oh - it was ages ago - you are over it - you are OK with your child dying.

    There is no excuse. I couldn't give a shit if she was embarrassed or not. And even if she was shocked or said the wrong thing without thinking, she could have reprieved herself by coming up at the end of class, or sending an email/note etc afterwards. She is a nasty cow. If something bloody horrible happens to her, then she'll get it, and until then, she probably never will.

    Big hug for you Bev - you are a lovely lady, and she is not. A shame this horrible person is trying to teach your daughter manners!

  3. What a horrible woman. I don't think she was embarrassed I think she was unembarrassable (is that a word?). Anyone with any social conscience would have apologised. If they were the kind of person that got hyper embarassed then she might have just skulked away. I don't normally criticise people I've never met but what a monumental idiot.

  4. Right now I want to go and slap her. Bitch.