Sunday, November 19, 2006

A funny thing happened on the way to...

I was walking down the street, child asleep in the stroller, waiting for the light to change. "What a cute jacket!" someone said next to me. A woman about my age standing beside me, gesturing to Chloe's faux fur. I am accustomed to this by now -- from the moment your pregnancy blooms visibly, you are suddenly open to a slew of commentary from strangers. "Thanks", I say, and lurch forward as the light changes. "I just spent $150 on this and it doesn't fit!" she is saying, talking to me as if we are old friends in the midst of a conversation. I look at her, size her up as I always do in order to gauge the level of "crazy" of the stranger talking to me. Her hair is brushed, glossy even. A diamond engagement ring sparkles. Her pants were a little strange, black checkerboard print, an 80s throwback. But her skin was clear, her sweater clean. Still, I must have been staring back in some state of confusion, since she felt the need to clarify. "Look!" she says, as she bends down to roll up her baggy pants. I instinctively start to panic, afraid of what is going to be unearthed. In the seconds that she takes to pull up her pantlegs I am reminded of the story of a male friend who claimed that a woman on the street lifted her skirt as an invitation for anonymous sex. He denied it was a hooker, and claimed that he followed her home until his legs started shaking as soon as they got through the door and he ran away. I could not run -- I was burdened with a heavy stroller, groceries, and the fear that I would create a spectacle on a busy street. I had to look. At first, I thought she was showing me prosthetic legs of some sort, they were an artificial flesh color. I quickly realized what she was showing me as she held her cuffs above her thighs. Compression stockings. "I am pregnant", she says, and I suddenly notice her small bulge. "And they said I needed these because of problems with my last pregnancy". "Um, yeah, they seem sort of loose", I said, noticing how they sagged in places. "Aren't they supposed to be tight to work"? "Thats what I thought!" she said. I am hoping this conversation will end, but she continues to walk beside me, talking about her baby on the way, the three year old at home. Finally, I see an out. "Is there a Tasti DLite around here?" she asks out of nowhere. This I can handle. I direct her to the ice cream store several blocks in the direction away from where I was headed. "Thanks!" she says. "Good luck," I mutter, and pick up my pace.

I know that all mothers share a special bond -- we readily talk about nipples and sex and episiotimies without a hint of a flush. But when it reaches the point of literally undressing ourselves, perhaps we have gone too far.

6 Comments:

At 12:34 PM PST, Blogger The Humanity Critic said...

Great post. I have the same reaction when people approach me, you know, the whole sizing someone up thing. Granted, I'm a man so I'll never know what it would be like to be pregnant, but I have extremely long dreadlocks, something that makes complete strangers talk your ears off..lol Take care.

 
At 1:00 PM PST, Blogger Amy said...

Hilarious - some people just want to chat -- be it about dreads or undergarments!

 
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