24 June 2009

[Imported] A belly debacle

The other day, I went shopping with my mom at Target, and in the check out line we were behind a stocky, but youthful African American woman - she was wearing a puffy, white peasant blouse - with her two young boys. The younger of the two, probably not much older than 24 months, was smiling at us and trying to tell us something (it kind of sounded like "juice," but it also kind of sounded like "nuclear physics," so who knows what he was really talking about). His mom was smiling at her son, obviously glowing in his over-the-top cuteness, and my mom, God love her, tried to make small talk, and noticing her billowing peasant blouse, decided to ask a question, and I knew what she was going to ask before she had even finished the first syllable. Only, it wasn't just any question - it was the BIG one, and the world immediately slowed to a torturous speed as I watched my mom - to my absolute horror - open her mouth and quickly stick her foot in it by asking, "So do you know what your having? A girl or another boy?" And as I heard these words leave her lips, I was praying that the case was true, that there was no mistake, and that there was indeed another life growing inside this woman. But in the lingering and enormous pause that followed the question, I felt myself uncontrollably look from my mom to the stranger and back over and over again, and as a look of shock slowly appeared on this poor woman's face, the pit of my stomach dropped. My mom still had no idea - her friendly, innocent smile proved that - I felt like I was watching a horrifying car crash. The woman, completely bewildered and slightly offended, simply exclaimed, "Uhhhh…neither." My mom still hadn't quite caught on, and as my eyes felt like they were bulging out of their sockets out of total disbelief that she ACTUALLY asked this question, I hit her on the arm to break her out of her happy-go-lucky attitude and asked, "Are you CRAZY?!" as the lady said, "I'm not pregnant - it's the shirt!" My poor mom was humiliated, as was I, though I'm sure not nearly as the poor, fetus-less woman. I would know, since I was asked if I was expecting once when I was 16 (I was wearing a heavy winter jacket at the time)

What surprised me most is just that my mom dared ask the question. Being in her mid-fifties, I was certain that she had learned that life lesson by now, that no matter how pregnant a woman is or appears to be, you just DON'T TAKE THAT RISK. So, here's the moral of the story: if you DO NOT KNOW FOR CERTAIN that the woman in question is indeed pregnant, you DO NOT ask any questions regarding her baby or assumed baby UNLESS THE HEAD IS AT THAT MOMENT EMERGING FROM HER VAGINAL CANAL.

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