the kindness of strangers

Friday, jun. 12, 2009   |   0 comments

Many, many years ago, I formulated the Cortina Principle, which is my humble theory about how the world is packed with people who desperately want to talk to each other, they just need a ready topic to give them an excuse. Any vaguely out-of-the-ordinary accessory will do — a cute dog, an eccentric pair of shoes, a moderately rare vintage car.

And a visibly be-babied stomach? Is the mother of all conversation starters. Tidbits that strangers have shared with me since my front first exploded onto the scene include:

  • The restorative qualities of carrying, at all times, a backpack loaded with 15 pounds of dead weight. Supposedly this counterbalances the baby and makes your back feel fantastic? However, since walking up a scant flight of stairs currently leaves me feeling like I’ve just summited some horrible, oxygen-thin witch mountain, the idea of adding 15 pounds to the mix sounds like a recipe for non-stop weeping. So I guess my lower back will just have to suck it.

  • The location of the nearest public swimming pool, along with a very concerned and motherly, “It might help” — and I was actually looking pretty chipper that day.

  • The fact that, should my baby prove to be female, I ought not be afraid when her wee vagina fills with blood three days after delivery. (Apparently this actually happens? Yay?)

  • The news that the woman in front of me in line at Walgreen’s is obsessed with watching the weather report each and every morning, but no matter what they say, she always brings an umbrella, even though her daughter tells her she’s crazy, something that I, too, will be hearing first-hand soon enough.

  • Multiple “Congratulations!”

  • Multiple declarations that it’s clearly going to be a girl.

  • Multiple declarations that it’s clearly going to be a boy.

  • One very unwelcome “Twins?” And thank you, sir, for making me feel extra XL…and for triggering my fears that I’ll soon be having an abnormally huge baby passing through my Personal Canal.

  • And finally, my all-time favorite, from the homeless man who pointed at his stomach and yelled, “Hey!”

    I looked down at my stomach, and nodded encouragingly. Yes! The miracle of life! It is true!

    “How old,” he asked incredulously, “ARE you?”

    Me, shaking my head: “Pretty old!”

    PRET-ty old.

more words on: all knocked up


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