On the bus into work: A very smart specimen of the dreaded species Chiswick Mummy got on, pushing a huge baby buggy with a very small baby inside. She sat down, picked up the baby, and immediately began to change its nappy. Perfectly natural, I grant you, but rather smelly, and clearly embarrssing for an elderly gentleman a couple of seats away who I think had not been prepared for a dung-y infant's scrotum on the bus at 8.45 am. However, on finishing this job, Chiswick Mummy then, without washing her hands, proceeded to do her eye make-up and lip gloss. She then opened the front of her dress and began to breast feed the baby (needless to say the elderly gent by now was unable to look up with embarrassment, and nearly missed his stop because he was staring at the floor).
I just keep thinking about the sequence; baby's bum, mum's eyes, mum's mouth, baby's mouth. In that order, with no noticeable attempts at hygiene in between.
Am I getting squeamish in my old age? Have I got the wrong idea about cleanliness and babies? Should I in fact be commending her for exposing her infant to bacteria nice and early in life, in order to toughen him up?
Chiswick Mummies scare me slightly; they drive in heavy traffic while talking on their mobiles, they cut-up cyclists, they park on double yellow lines because it's too far to walk, they yell abuse in their exquisite voices at helpless pedestrians who dare to cross the road at the zebra crossing; they career round supermarkets, blank-eyed, plugged into ipods or yapping endlessly into what one suddenly realises must be handsfree 'phones, and smashing into other shoppers, their trolleys loaded with Plymouth Gin and organic ready-stuffed portobollo mushrooms... Now I have reason to believe they are capable of trying to poison their own offspring. Please don't let them win; please don't let this be the future of my country, my gender, my species...