Saturday, October 01, 2005

The Devil Inside

Where I work, we get a lot of kids coming in with their parents. Young kids, in huge Hummer-type strollers with moms who seem over-pepped or underwhelmed. I have started getting used to them, and make goo-goo faces, and say "So cute" when the baby smiles at me. I also find it easier to take a few seconds making them laugh than it is to listen to the wailing and the crying and the screeching.

But sometimes, they come through that door all smiles. Their tiny bodies lounging in their oversized mobile LazyBoys, eyes big and round, little fingers playing with a sucky, or a sippy cup, or some other attention distractor provided by their mother. Then, at some point, the demon surfaces. Out of that tiny body, a noise that crawls from your toes and erupts out of the top of your head is emitted. It burns your eardrums. It makes your eye tick. It makes me want to run for the door and never look back, or at the very least pull that baby's sweatshirt over its head hockey-fight style to muffle the noise.

What kind of creature out of Hades makes these noises? Do their parents know that these children are possessed by demons? Do these babies make these noises all day long? If so, why, oh why would these parents subject us innocent bystanders to this wrath? Do they take some kind of pleasure out of torturing others? And I can tell the parents who feel bad, who shoot apologetic looks all around, ask us to put their merchandise aside, and head to the baby-station equipped bathroom for a diaper change, or to a more private space for a feeding. But what is with these people who just keep pushing their bohemoth prams around like they own the joint, browsing and fiddling and acting like nothing is going on at all. Are they wearing earplugs?

I dread the day that more than one of these babies comes in at a time, and that first screech sets off a chain reaction. I think it would rattle all the clothing from their hangers, shatter our glass storefront. I'm pretty sure that will be the day I quit. Or at the very least am committed to an insane asylum when the demons possess me too.

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