Several people know this story and some keep asking me when I'll post it. It's a fave amongst the Steph-fans. I hadn't really thought about doing it...until this morning when I read my cousin Ashley's post on Facebook. She recently had a baby and someone mistook her for still being pregnant. My reply to her would be waaaaaay too long for Facebook, so I thought I'd share this on the blog.
Throughout the mid-1990's, I worked for MetLife. I met a lot of people there who are my bestest friends to this day. Joanie, Bonny, Diana, Ginny, Bev the happy morning harpy who reminds me of that dancing dwarf from Twin Peaks, but only with A LOT more smiling.
Turn this up to 78 and you have Bev.
Auburn (circa 1995) didn't have the State Street Extension. Instead, that area was known as the State Street Mall. It was an outdoor, stone-paved park with some sad trees, a few benches, and I think maybe a crude wooden jungle-gym thing. I could never decide if it was supposed to be an art installation or a pull-up station, like you'd find along the Nature Trail at the college. Either way it was certainly capable of giving any interloper a week's worth of splinter and a highly-toxic viral infection.
(((I should probably point out that my memory is about as reliable as betting on Anthony Weiner to keep his dick in his pants, so I might be completely wrong about all of that. For fun's sake, just go with it.)))
During the summer, Connie's Tex Mex had a food cart in the small downtown park, which was on the same block as MetLife. One day, Joanie and I decided to walk down to get some tacos for lunch. I don't know who the woman was who worked the cart, but she was uber-friendly and quick to serve.
Joanie ordered hers first, loading her soft-shell taco up with all kinds of great goodies. I came next.
Super-friendly woman: Do you want any peppers?
Me: Oh no. I can't do those.
I patted my stomach, the universal symbol for, "If I eat those, I'll be belching them up all day long." Well, I thought it was the universal symbol for indigestion. I was wrong.
Super-friendly woman: I couldn't eat those either when I was pregnant. How far along are you?
In my peripheral vision, I could see the look of horror on Joanie's face. This well-meaning woman made the incorrect assumption that I was pregnant. It's a well-documented fact that I have never been nor ever will be pregnant. I have no maternal instinct what-so-ever. I can't stand babies or kids or most adults, for that matter. There's a reason I refer to children as the "future felons of America." Not that I particularly expect children outside of our fine nation to be any better. Yuck.
However, was the lunch-lady's assumption based strictly on the tummy-pat or the fact that I was slightly overweight at the time? Either way, I didn't have it in me to embarass both her and myself by pointing out that I wasn't knocked-up. So, I answered the only way I could think of to get out of this situation without one of us having to apologize.
Me: About... four... months?
Yep! That was the solution my panicked brain came up with. I am four months pregnant!
As soon as the words passed over my lips, Joanie took her food, turned away, and walked down the mall in search of a place to sit. Her body trembled from trying not to burst out laughing. She looked like a crippled old lady as she walked with her legs clamped tightly together to keep from pissing herself.
The food cart matron continued to tell me all the weird things that happened to her body during her pregnancy. I nodded and agreed to all of them. She could have confessed to having cravings for hobo dung and I'd have said, "Amen, sister!"
Thankfully, there were other patrons to feed, so I got my food soon enough and joined Joanie, who was sitting on a bench, head bent over between her legs, crying tears of laughter. She couldn't look me in the eye for a solid week. It's ten years later and there are still days that she'll look at me and start laughing. I know she's thinking... About four months.
So, the moral of the story is...
1. The universal gesture for indigestion is to fist-bump your stomach. Don't pat it.
2. When someone makes an honest mistake (especially one you might have accidently perpetuated), don't be a jerk about it. Especially when they're super-friendly and they're preparing your lunch!
3. It's better to laugh at yourself than be embarassed. Twenty years later... we are still laughing.