Whether its strangers,neighbors, distant relatives or even close friends, they all do it-rub my protruding stomach as if Im a jeanie lamp. Some of the License to Feelers go as far as breathing their hot morning coffee breath on my belly as if its an office intercom:
"Well hello-baby-in-there-hello!" "How's my baby"? (Your baby? What custody battle do I not know about? Even if Christ came down in a white robe and leather sandals, talking sweet nothings into my stomach, I would still pull away.
After these brief public encounters, what I need besides a hot shower and a crude sandwich board that reads, "Don't Touch", is a sociologist who can document this unnecessary human behavior via spy cam. It really is quite comical...
Which brings me to the second, more tolerable group of people I encounter, The Maternity Soothsayers, those who predict the sex and outcome of my future child. The Maternity Soothsayers come in all shapes and sizes from a Haitian cabbie to a college-aged barista at an espresso bar. The cabby was happy to inform me that I was shaped like his wife after the birth of her fifth son. What did she look like before the birth? That doesn't make me feel to good.
At the barista's bar:
Kali: "Are you sure that's decaf?"
Barista: "Yes, Im totally sure".
Kali: "You're from a coddled generation. Are you sure that's decaf?"
Barista: (giggling) "Of coarse Im totally sure. You totally look like my Mom when she had my brother-you're having a boy-you are so having a boy!"
Kali: "Your mother?"
Wow, I thought. I looked old enough to have a coffee-addicted teenager? How did I spend the nineties again?
Barista: "Well my mom had me at seventeen and she said she almost had an abortion-"
That made me feel better.
Kali: "Glad the picketers were out that day-I men-for your sake."
Barista: "Ditto!! One decaf Americana! Have a good day!".
Which brings me to my third and last group, The Chatty Informants, the yappers who are happy to share a friends personal pregnancy tragedy in the check out line of a suburban supermarket:
The Chatty Informant: (hands coupons to cashier without looking my way as if we were being watched) "When are you due?"
Kali: "Excuse me?"
The Chatty Informant:(swiping her credit card now-still not looking) "Your Baby? Due? When?"
Kali: "Couple of months.."
The Chatty Informant: (signing the magnetic pad) "Know what your having?"
Why am I even answering her? She finally turns me way and I thought this was my moment to start applauding-like the Broadway actor you can hear backstage, who finally enters on stage revealing her identity.
The Chatty Informant: (all smiles now) Congratulations.
Kali: "...Thank you-"
The Chatty Informant: "My girlfriend just had twins and one died in ICU. She was in her seventh month".
The Chatty Informant: "Yeah, they thought he would pull through but his lungs were like the size of those really tiny lamb chops. I had them once at a wedding."
Kali: "I don't eat lamb".
The Chatty Informant: "The umbilical cord almost killed the other one. She had to have an emergency C...anyway, I shouldn't be telling you this since your pregnant".
You think so, you dumb jackass?
The Chatty Informant: (pushing her oversized grocery cart) "Good luck!"
And that brings us to Reason Number 7,643 why I will never move to the suburbs.
(Funny cartoon by Mark Stivers) http://www.markstivers.com/