Once upon a Sunday afternoon in the park a perfect stranger strikes up a conversation with Getting Very Pregnant me…
“Wow!” Random Lady says to me, gazing towards my outwardly protruding navel. “Do you not know how this happened the first time? You know, I had my kids three years apart, and it was perfect.”
I pause. I take a deep breath, and I say to myself, Self, you’re never going to see this nincompoop of a silly lady again. So, take a deep breath. Kill her with kindness. Smile broadly and just let it slide. You don’t need to be right, here, there, or ever. It’s okay if she’s completely off her rocker.
I smile my real, genuine, I’m Going to be Really, Really Nice to You smile.
“The funny thing,” I say with a wink and an extra smile, “is that my friends who’ve had kids two years apart say that it’s perfect. And those who’ve had kids three years apart say that’s perfect, too – so I’m banking on this being just right.”
I smile again, mostly because I’m pretty good at smiling in highly uncomfortable situations. I fan myself, because it’s like 250 degrees outside, and I’m sitting in the shade at the playground trying to get some respite from the sun. I glance over at the HBH, sweat dripping down his face as he chases a red-cheeked Cancan down the slide and up the hill, down the slide and up the hill …again and again and again, because this game never, ever gets old. Thinking our conversation is complete, that we’ll move on to bigger and better inappropriate topics, like my sex life and how many more kids I want to have and other such taboo behind-closed-door conversations that need not happen with the Balki and Larrys of this Perfect Strangers world, I glance at her for affirmation.
But that was a mistake, because now it’s her turn to laugh, again:
“Well, no way! Three years, I’m telling you is the only way to go – although I suppose it’d be even worse if they were, like, 18 months apart. Besides, did you ever think about the fact that you’re going to have two in diapers?” She chuckles to herself, shaking her head at my utter silliness – as if I can take away seven months of pregnancy with the click of my swollen, red-rubied heels.
“Huh. Well, nice talking to you,” I muse, sprinkling platitudes of Just be nice, Just be nice, Just be nice over her head. I heave my parched body off the concrete step, and I promise to never, ever, ever say the same thing to another would-be mama-stranger – or friend, for that matter – again.
But I shall keep my trap shut.
I shall refrain from speaking altogether and I shall hermit up, finding my life of quiet prayer and contemplation amidst the hustle and bustle of this world.
Or I’ll just always remember to carry a roll of duct tape with me, in order that I might secure shut the mouths of those who need it most.
What about you? Have you been abducted by words at the most innocent of places, like your child’s playground? And more importantly, do you carry duct tape with you at all times?0