a newspaper man adjusts his pen

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Baby don't ask

Just bag the buns, please...

By Amanda Gillooly

“The secret of a man’s success resides in his insight into the moods of people, and his tact in dealing with them.” – Josiah Gilbert Holland

The cashier began giving me the stink eye as soon as we scooted our cart into her lane, she took exception that my boyfriend and I didn’t have a store shopping rewards card. When I asked her if I would still receive the scant price reductions it offered on the items, she raised her voice to tell me that I’d have to take it up with customer service.

Not wanting a hassle, and knowing there was no one in line after us, I told the lady to kindly wait a moment. I walked five feet to a nice older gentleman, who, thrust his key chain holding his rewards card into my hand the moment I mentioned it would add to his “fuel perks.”

When I went back to the line, the cashier looked insulted. Her one wandering eye searched feebly around, while an ugly snarl developed on her face.

She was rude from the beginning for sure, but Gram always said you could catch more flies with honey than vinegar, so I gave her a beaming smile and a hearty thank you.

I made no more eye contact because her wandering eye kind of freaked me out. I never knew which eye to look into, the one that was actually looking at me or the wayward one.

As I put my debit card into the machine and began punching in my pin, I heard the cashier say to me, “When are you having your baby?”

Yeah. There are no buns in my oven.

I wanted to rip her throat out, or at least ask why she had to bring my uterus into the conversation in the first place. I mean, her funky eye made me curious, but I was able to show restraint. I just ignored her, thinking, of course, that she would get the point.

Not so much. As I was pushing the “no, I don’t want any cash back” button on the banking card reader, she asked a second time, “When are you having your baby?”

While a number of responses were ready to go, I didn’t want a harassment and/or disorderly conduct record, nor did I want to call my editor and explain how I’d need a few days off to retain an attorney.

Instead, I looked up and smiled at her and said:

“Actually, I’m not pregnant. I tried to ignore the first rude comment, but obviously you didn’t get the point. Have a nice night.”

I wasn’t as embarrassed as she should have been. I don’t weigh 110, but I’m not a deuce, deuce-and-a-half, either. And that really isn’t the point, anyway. There is an unspoken taboo known only to woman: You never, never, ask a woman when her due date is unless you KNOW that she is, in fact, pregnant.

It is a shame that I didn’t say what was closest to coming out:

“I’m having my baby tonight with some fava beans and a nice Chianti” followed, by some slurping and the appropriate amount of maniacal laughter.


Amanda Gillooly said...

Writer's Note: My boyfriend requested a clarification. I should say that while he was present, he was not privy to my pleasant conversation with Stink Eye McWeirdo. However, when I told him, he was hell-bent on either telling her off or going to the manager to demand she be fired. I figured, if the police were going to come, I should be the one arrested. It's only polite, you know?

Scott Beveridge said...

Someone else will come along and complain to her boss, giving her lack of tact.

Brant said...

I think it was Dave Barry who once said that you never ask a woman when the baby is due unless you can actually see the baby's head coming out of the birth canal.

Amanda Gillooly said...

I think that's a safe bet.