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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Breastfeeding in Public Part Deux

So yesterday, I had to drive 4 hours one way to pick my stepdaughter up from Ohio. Well, actually, I didn't drive. I rode. We also brought all four kids, leaving just enough room for DSD. Luckily she is big enough to not need a booster, or we'd have all been screwed.

On the way there, The Babe started hollering to eat. We were a little more than halfway to our destination, which was good. I thought we'd have to pull over sooner.

Anyway we got off US23 at an exit in what appeared to be the middle of nowhere. If you turned left, there was a gas station full of cars, and if you turned right, there was an empty lot. It had been a gas station at some point, because there was still a tall Sunoco sign, but there wasn't a building or anything. The lot was dirt but appeared well traveled and maintained. I decided to make DH stop there instead of the busy Speedway, because then I wouldn't have to worry about covering up.

I got The Babe all snuggly in my arms while DH stepped outside the van to have a cigarette. Within a minute (and I mean a real minute, 60 seconds) a cop came screaming into the lot. He pulled up real close while I tried to cover up a little bit, and DH just kinda stood there and looked at him. He was a really stereotypical cop, with a buzz-cut and mirror sunglasses. We were about 45 miles West of Detroit (which is pronounced day-twa, thank you very much.)

Anyway the cop pulls his Crown Vic up next to my window and says to DH, "Can I help you out?" but not, you know, in a nice way. He said it more like, "Get the fuck out of town." (Except there wasn't a town, but whatever.) DH was really calm about it, because of course we have no reason to be afraid of the police. "My wife is breastfeeding the baby, and I'm just standing here having a cigarette," he said.
"Well," the cop replied, all huffy, "a lot of people stop in this parking lot to cause trouble." He was almost accusatory about it, and leaned out of his car to peer in my window. I didn't know if I should cover up or not. I didn't want to get hauled in on indecent exposure charges, but I didn't want the guy to think we were lying, either. I decided to unlatch The Babe and put him on my shoulder to burp him. The cop kind of glared at me and said something about "Why don't you just bring a bottle?" I acted like I didn't hear him, and he pulled off really fast, leaving a big cloud of dust.

We stayed there for another twenty minutes or so feeding, and then maybe five to change an extreme blowout diaper. And would you believe that cop drove by four more times?

I realize the cop was worried about people starting trouble, and being in a kind of secluded place. but there was no need for him to say what he said (about bringing a bottle) and no need to be such a jerk about it. He never asked us to leave or anything like that, just kind of hassled us.

I was glad to get back on the road, obviously, and I just can't help thinking about this incident, and the incident last month at WIC. Are people going backwards? Or have I, by some stroke of luck, avoided this type of people in the past?

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