Posted by: emjb | September 22, 2005

Unsolicited Commentary from the Experts

It’s been a banner week for Unexpected Conversations With Strangers.

On my way out of the Duane Reade, the greeter says, “Have a nice day! Don’t be giving birth today!”

Hey dude, for all you know I’m two weeks overdue and dying to give birth. Lay off me.

In the elevator, a lady with a shaven head and a dashiki demands of me “What do you want?”

“What?” I answer. She’s staring at my stomach so I make a guess at what she’s asking. “I’m due November 1st.”

“No. What do you want? Boy or girl?”

“It doesn’t matter,” I say somewhat snappishly, “we’re having a boy.” The door opens on my floor.

“Blessings on you!” she calls after me cheerily.

In the CVS (I spend lots of time in drugstores, apparently) I ask “Is the register open?”

“Well of course the register’s open for you and the baby!” smiles the cashier. “I know you’ll be in here soon with that baby just crying and carrying on!”

I don’t even know what that means. Why is she saying this??

Another day, same CVS, the pharmacist calls out as I walk by “One or two in there?”

“Just one.”

“OHHHHH,” she says, eyes big.

Jeezus, people. I am NOT THAT HUGE.

On my way to Taco Bell for my grease fix, I’m crossing the street.

A young, maybe high, maybe just REALLY friendly guy says, “You about to go any day now?”

“Yes, soon,” I reply, watching him warily. Is he a con man, or is he going to ask me for money? Because I really can’t conceive of any other reason why he’s talking to me in the middle of the street.

“Twins or just one?”

“Um, one.” What, again? Dammit!

“Well, you know the mamas just gotta eat what the baby wants; all those cravings for things you never eat are just for the baby!”As I edge away warily, he calls out “Good luck!”

“Um, thanks.” I wonder what that last part was about. Was he trying to backtrack cause he thought the twins remark implied I was fat?

Pregnancy just makes some people nervous, I guess. They feel the need to comment. I don’t really mind, but it is so very random, the things people say to you.

At the same time, it can be kind of sweet the number of smiles you get. People are just happy to see pregnant ladies. Perhaps it’s simply that we’re so comical, with the waddling. Also, nothing is less threatening than a pregnant woman. We can’t possibly hurt anyone. Like a puppy, people think we’re kind of cute and cuddly.

I’ve not yet run across any that want to put their hands on me, for which I’m grateful. I would not be able to be gracious to strangers wanting to rub me like a good-luck Buddha, as I have heard sometimes happens. I get a lot of stares though, as I roll down the sidewalk like a one-woman parade float. I’m a curiosity. And I do get out a lot, belly and all–maybe more than a lot of pregnant ladies do? I’m not sure.

But I can feel the speculative glances; sympathy from older women; curiosity and a little fear from younger ones. Curiosity and embarrassment from men, oddly enough. Maybe pregnant ladies make them think of S-E-X or something.

In which case, they need to get over themselves. And then give me their seat on the train.



  1. I race with old or pregnant ladies for the free seat, and when I take it, I look up at them and hiss. Curiosity and embarrassment? I need to start showing some disgust and hostility … just to balance it out. 🙂

  2. Yes, but you’re Satan. Not everyone on the train is Lucifer spawn like yourself….

  3. Just enjoy the positive attention,after that little kid is here and sceaming, everyone avoids you like the plague. At least when he is 2yrs. old.

  4. deanpence –

    “Start” showing some disgust and hostility? Isn’t that your default setting?

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