We’re at Northland Shopping Center – me, Reservoir Mum, Lewis and Maki – and we stop at the Indian Cafe to order two pieces of cheesy Naan bread for Lewis because he’s crazy for that stuff.

While the Naan bread is being bagged I notice three decent pieces of chicken that are heavily spiced to the point of being orange. I’m not really hungry at all but I’ll be dammed if I’m going to let someone else eat that gourmet shit and so I order them all and decide at the last minute to also get a beef Somosa because I’ve never tried one before and it might be very tasty.

RM gets a Coke Zero and as she’s twisting the lid off I ask, ‘Are you going to finish that?’ because a lifetime of clever advertising by the Coca-Cola marketing crew has instilled a strong feeling that I’m missing out on something. Whenever I see someone screw the lid of a Coke bottle I know that’s where the fun is! RM says yes in a way that makes me feel like I’m pushing a trolley full of rubbish and asking her to spare me a smoke, so I order a cappuccino and we find a table and point at strange people for a few minutes and then we watch Lewis shaking with excitement as he devours wheat and cheese and various fats and spices.

20110202769I tell RM that when Lewy’s juiced up on Naan bread he could out pop and out boogaloo The Electric Boogaloos and she says, ‘Oh yeah’ enthusiastically, and then Maki starts getting a bit agitated, possibly because he had his Immunization shots yesterday and possibly because he’s hungry and possibly because he’s a tiny baby and they cry a lot (fuck you baby whisperer) and so to cover all bases RM shuffles a boob free and does the comfort/nourishment trick that was working long before our ancestors  climbed down from the trees and started feasting on the leftover flesh of recent kills – which is what I’m doing right now.

The Indian chicken dish is a ripper and the Samosa is staring at me wantonly and rubbing its legs together like a cricket. As usual, I look around just a tad to see if there are any sneers or eye-rolling at the public breastfeeding because there are arseholes out there who think like that – just read the papers! – but as is also usually the case, no one even seems to notice.

The cappuccino woman calls me over as an old Italian lady sits at the table next to us and smiles at me. My return smile feels insincere and I will never forgive myself. When I get back to the table with my steaming hot drink in hand she’s up and saying something to RM and I’m hoping she’s asking for cash so I won’t feel so bad about my shit smile but as she’s hobbling away RM says, ‘She just came over to tell me I was a great mother for breastfeeding’ and I look to the back of her head desperately, just hoping she’ll turn around and give me another chance at a sincere fucking smile because she’s a wonderful old caring lady who probably fled the old-italian-womanmotherland to give her children a better life and I’m some privileged, coffee-gargling, poonce who’s mother was born in country Victoria and never moved her children anywhere because there was really no point – life in country Victoria is really very good – and after this disgustingly comfortable life of rest and play and overfeeding all I can do is spread my fat lips in her general direction like some gaping dead fish. ‘That was so nice of her’ I say to Reservoir Mum and she agrees and I feel emotional and I make a pact with myself to one day pass that nice gesture on.

‘When I am an old man,’ I say, ‘I am going to hang out in shopping centers and follow around young women with babies and when they sit down to breastfeed I am going to walk over to them, lean in close – smile sincerely – and say, ‘You’re great.’

But RM doesn’t think this is such a good idea.