“See, no one in the South asks if you have crazy people in your family. We just ask which side they’re on.” – Dixie Carter as Julia Sugarbaker, Designing Women
Ah, crazy people. They have a baby detecting radar and I am convinced it picks me up in a special infrared setting. Beware: this is a reach-out-and-grab-you-story.
I was about 10 weeks along and in that unpleasant beer gut and nausea stage. Joys of pregnancy, my foot. We were invited to a fellow soldier’s wedding in Birmingham and decided to drive the several hour trip. I needed to get away and do something…something like eat wedding cake. I was still nursing emotional wounds from comments like, “Aw, your ass got huge! Yay!” and “You look like you have a beer gut now!” When it comes time to fight, men go to the mattresses, but women go to the wardrobes.
Sick of feeling gross, I finally found a classic gray dress that would clearly indicate pregnancy by nicely highlighting what I then thought was a huge belly. Oh, I knew so little. After a monumental effort, I finally looked cute, wedding appropriate, and pregnant simultaneously. My husband took about 12 minutes to shower, shave, and put on a tailored suit, which is all it took for him to look outstanding. Men. It’s not fair, I tell ya.
The wedding ceremony was lovely and the setting was stunning. As pictures were snapped, the guests shuffled into a magnificent plantation mansion that felt considerably smaller than it looked when full of people. As I tried to stand out of the way, my beloved slipped away to get some ginger ale. He was gone about 3 seconds when a thin, blonde woman in her 50s saw me, reached out her hands, and pulled me in with some odd tractor-beam-power. I had nowhere to run. Almost immediately her hands were on my belly as she gushed, “You’re having a baby! How far along are you?” I was barely capable of polite stammering, which is what I did. She slipped her hands to my back and gave me a sort of distant awkward hug. The stranger’s hands slid down my back to the top of my rear. We were now in middle-school-dance position. God Bless Texas- I was totally paralyzed. Stranger Danger lessons were totally inadequate for this attack and I had no mace in my clutch. Her hands were on my butt. I frantically looked around the plantation mansion’s entryway for an escape route or rescuer. Sadly, my husband was still out of sight and Rhett Butler didn’t seem to give a damn.
“It’s going to be a boy!” she announced triumphantly in my ear. Until we had the picture confirmation, all but two people had declared the baby to be a girl. No one was a shocked as I to see that it was a boy. I found my voice and leaned back to avoid licking her eye as I answered, “That’s interesting. Everyone’s said it will be a girl.” (This is a nice way of saying, “You’re crazy and wrong!”)
Incorrect? Not she! My assailant was undaunted. She reached further and pressed my hip bones.
“Well, let’s see. You are a little pronounced back there. Let me double check. Yep, a boy.”
Yes, I’ll wait while you react. Go ahead.
I leaned backward in this ‘hug’ position when my knight in a suit showed up carrying two small glasses of ginger ale. He came up and said, “I see you’ve made a friend.” No, I make friends in the restroom. This is a full-blown attack!
Delighted, my assailant turned and beamed. “Is this the baby daddy?” she gushed. Seriously? Even if he were, that is no way to ask. Still, I’m Southern. Someone’s poor manners toward me is no reason to respond with poor manners. Now that the boa constrictor had released me I regained a bit of composure.
“Yes, this is my husband and father of my child.”
Thankfully, this turned her attention to him long enough for us to scoot toward the buffet line. 50 year old bleach blondes love a man in a well-cut suit. Naturally, we were followed and loudly questioned on all things parenting. The poor man across from us in line nearly choked on a cheese-puff when he overheard the inquisition about breastfeeding plans.
There was another girl I had politely chatted with earlier who was also in her first trimester as well, who was a few people back in line. I turned and mouthed to her, “Run” and head-bobbed toward the Inquisitor while poor Hubby heard all about the make-up for the bridal party.
God Bless Texas- whose aunt is this woman? No one claimed this plunker in the gene pool. We shuffled room to room, said polite greetings to the bride and groom, and then made our way to the door trying to avoid eye contact and goodbyes as much as possible.
Now, if one woman tells a story about a ‘crazy encounter’, it will launch hours of story-telling. I’ve heard some good ones, but I think one of my favorites came today over lunch in response to my story.
With an 8 week old in tow, a young couple went to Kroger for groceries when they were accosted by hillbillies. There is no more accurate description; an old couple of hill people. Despite polite social cues and nice requests for a little space, the new-baby-smell was irresistible. As they invaded the poor baby’s personal space, the mother noticed that Madam Hillbilly’s front two teeth were a little…loose. At some point in the adoration process, the two front teeth fell out of her head and landed in the car seat, under the pad. Hilly was unfazed. “Oops! ‘Squse me as I get my teeth!” She reached in and retrieved her chompers from under the baby’s rear. Soon afterward the folks returned to ‘them there hills’. Being polite but horrified Texans, the couple waited until they were out of sight before bathing their daughter in Germ-X and rushing her home for a bath. Gag, gag, gag.
The phrase, “His jaw dropped so hard that he nearly lost teeth” is now forbidden in this house under penalty of motherly gross-out.
Crazies- they are out there. Some people freeze, some are rude, and some carry tasers. I…well, I blog about them. Every family has some form of crazy. As the earlier quote goes, we just ask which side they’re on. As for me- they are usually right… behind… me.