Friday, October 24, 2008

adventures in surrealism


I ran into our local pet store yesterday to pick up some food for Gumby's rat. It was a nasty, wet day and as I first entered the shop, I stood in the entryway to wipe my feet and shake some of the rain off of myself. There's a little seating area by the door, and I noticed a lady in her sixties sitting next to the bench on the floor.


She was holding a baby and very carefully wrapping a blanket around it. All around her was strewn baby detritus - a bottle, toys, a knit hat - and I just assumed that she was there with another kid who wanted to keep looking around the store when the baby got fussy. As I walked by her, she laid the baby on her shoulder and started singing softly.


I grabbed the ridiculously overpriced rodent food (they're rats, for the love of pete. Rats. In the wild they eat garbage and rotting food. Why am I paying a buck fifty nine a pound for rat food?) and headed to the cashier. While I was in line, my eyes strayed once again to the lady with the baby. She was fussing with a bottle, and I noticed that the baby now had the hat on.

I was impressed. None of my kids was that mellow as a baby. None of my kids stayed that quiet and calm. None of my kids...


Was a plastic doll. The baby was a plastic doll. I looked. I looked again, through squinted eyes. It was a doll. The size of a baby. And she just kept fussing.


As I got in my car to leave, I peered through the window one more time. She was pulling a diaper out of a bag. The doll, hat on, wrapped in a blanket, just laid there. Was it some sort of social experiment to see how many people noticed? Was this woman simply off? What in the world?


Weird...

14 comments:

Devon said...

I often think that I have either entered a third dimension, or some bizarre social experiment. Then I remember people are just weird.

I, being one of the afore mentioned weird people, couldn't register my comment yesterday, but wanted to say I am glad your wait is over and you can really move on. I liked your video... that was perfect for the post!!!

Happy days!!!

ciara said...

do you know they actually have some kind of dolls that are so realistic & women actually buy them and treat them like real babys? for the life of me i can't remember what they're called. it's weird alright.

WT said...

Coincidentally, I saw an article about this on TV a few nights ago. I didn't understand any of their explanations.

-Ann said...

That's so strange. I like that your first thought was to wonder if it was a bizarre social experiment, instead of immediately deciding that the woman was crazy.

I was in our local pet store yesterday too. And the weather was miserable here too. But there the similarities end.

Maggie May said...

I am always seeing adverts in our magazines, showing dolls for sale. Realistic babies that are frighteningly real. They ARE very attractive.

There was an old lady round here who used to push a real baby pram and inside she had several of these dolls. She used to say, "There is a boy baby in there. He has a proper willy & all!"
She was either VERY lonely or had gone back to second childhood.
I'd have given my eye teeth for a doll like that when I was little.
Sad really.

Irene said...

That's a beautiful picture of a baby that you have up there, is it a real baby or is it a doll? If it is a doll, I want one just like it. I could dress it and hug it and pamper it and sing to it...nobody better try and take it away from me!

CrazyCath said...

It sounds like one of those lifelike baby dolls. Very creepy.

It also sounds quite sad - that the lady is filling a gap somewhere. Sitting on the floor in a store? Really sad.

CrazyCath said...

(I hear you 100% re rat food. Right with you there...)

TZT said...

I saw a special on these on BBC America a couple of weeks ago. They're called "reborns" and there is a very involved process in adopting them. On the show I saw, one woman adopted hers because she wanted to be treated like a new mother without the actual responsibilities of mothering (she liked to buy expensive clothes & talked about how she had no worries about poop and vomit). Another woman missed her grandson, who had moved all the way to New Zealand, so she had one made to look like him.

Very weird, and sad.

TZT said...

Excuse me, "adopting" should have been in quotes.

the planet of janet said...

there was a whole thing about this realistic baby doll bizarreness on the today show a few weeks ago.

women take these things for walks in strollers and car seats and everything.

weird. totally weird.

Marti said...

I didn't play with dolls much when I was little, so I don't think I will be playing with them as an adult...besides I have the drama of a 12 (almost 13) year old in the house. That is enought already!

Tiggerlane said...

There are women in our local nursing home that go on and on about 'their baby' - and the staff has found that if they give them a doll, the problem is solved.

Probably some form of dementia...setting in...making us long for those days when we nurtured those little ones.

The maternal instinct must be DEEP within us.

Iota said...

I found that very sad. I wonder if it is coincidence that she was in a pet shop. Maybe she needs something to look after.