his words, not mine

Walking through Davis square the other night, I'm behind a gentleman pushing his daughter in a stroller. Now, winter has hit New England like Muhammad Ali thumped George Foreman in the rumble in the jungle. It's cold out. Not frozen-booger cold, but it's not far off if trends continue.

So the guy and the stroller: Daughter is clutching something. It appears to be a coffee cup, but with a straw coming out of the sippy hole. She seems to be otherwise dressed for the weather, but her hands are bare, clutching her cup. Another man--silverhaired, probably pushing his golden years--walks alongside the father-daughter pair and offers, "No gloves for the little person?"

Dad, taken aback, has no comeback whatsoever. Then, a moment later, "I tried to get them on her, but she won't wear them. If you think you can get her to put them on, be my guest."

"Oh, no, it's just that I noticed she wasn't wearing any, and it's cold out, and I thought she should be wearing some." Long awkward pause. I'm not even a part of the conversation, and I feel like crawling out of my skin.

Dad: "Listen, do you make a habit of criticizing people on the sidewalk, or is just a pastime for you?"

Unsolicited criticizer: "Um, well."

Dad, clearly uncomfortable: "Look, I'm sorry. I'm from New York. Maybe I'm just socially impaired."

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