Irony, thou art a cold-hearted b*tch- apropos of two of my recent blogs, one dealing with my unmarried, childless state and another about the painful nature of being judged on one's appearance, something happened that totally blew me out of the water. It's not the first time, but it's been several years (in fact, I can pinpoint it as when I had my very first library job right out of grad school in '95) since the previous incident.
Last night, as I stood patiently waiting to join the iPhone Nation via my local WalMart, a woman wandered up to the iPhone display with her young son, a boy about twelve or so years old. We started talking about the advantages and disadvantages of various cellular plans and phones, until about five minutes into the conversation when she reached out, touched my waist, and asked, "Are you having a boy or a girl?"
In her defense, I was standing with my back swayed, hand on my abdomen, and I was wearing a high-waisted maxi dress that could've easily been misconstrued as a maternity dress, but still...I realized she was earnest, and responded, "Oh, no, sweetie, I'm just fat." Of course, I was thinking, "Wow, that was just one of the rudest things anyone has ever said to me!"
Her son turned beet red and started looking for the nearest rock under which he could crawl. She immediately began apologizing, which only made it worse, because after about the seventeenth, "I'm really, really, REALLY sorry!" I was getting a little tired of excusing her for it.
Adding insult to injury, it turns out that her sister-in-law works with me and her mother-in-law is also a native of the town where I grew up. EXTRA BONUS! The poor kid was standing there about to spontaneously combust; I didn't know that people were still capable of blushing that hard.
I'm not really sure why, but I felt compelled to try to put her at ease...I think mostly for the sake of her son. I guess I should be used to it by now, since my size has made me fair game all my life. Most of the time, I'm simply invisible. Last night, I wished I could've vanished.