Saturday, October 06, 2007

I Think Fast...

...But not always logically.

Here's a story from my illustrious past.

The boys and me and the computer guy were having sandwiches at our favorite bagel shop back in Chicagoland one day. Our favorite bagel place wasn't too far from a Naval base, and because of this, every now and then, we saw people in Wranglers and/or cowboy hats, sometimes even boots. (These folks were NEVER from Chicagoland). Or, we heard people speak with Mississippi twangs. I always wanted to hug these people and welcome them to Chicagoland and tell them it was a really great place. I actually nearly did that once with a girl wearing an Eskimo Joe's T-shirt. The computer guy was mortified and the Eskimo Joe T-shirt wearing girl thought I was odd. So, I normally kept my desire to be the welcome wagon in check after that experience.

Until that day at our favorite bagel shop.

She sounded like she was from deeper in the South than me. And, she looked at my baby, Devin, with obvious admiration and longing (I imagined the longing part). In the space of about 32 seconds, I decided that she was looking at my baby longingly because she was expecting her own soon. And, I decided she was there visiting her boyfriend or husband who was currently stationed at the Naval Base. And, I figured since it was her first time to Chicagoland up from rural Texas or Alabama or Mississippi, she was probably uncomfortable and in need of a little welcome wagon action.

So, I smiled at her.

I wish I had just left it at that. That would have been welcoming. That would have been the thing that taught her that people in Chicagoland are friendly. Even if all of my assumptions about her had been wrong, the smile was the right thing to do. It's nice to smile at people.

But, I wanted to engage her. I wanted her to know that I was a kindred spirit who lapses into a Southern accent whenever I'm around others with a Southern accent, someone who can appreciate the whole Wranglers, Boots, Cowboy hat ensemble. So, I asked her a question:

"When is your due date?" I tried to stop the words halfway through the sentence, but it was too late. Too, too late.

She took it in stride, and she told me that (of course) she wasn't pregnant. I tried to explain that she didn't really even look pregnant. The shirt reminded me of a maternity top I had worn when I was pregnant. That was all. I didn't explain the rest about how I thought she looked at my baby with longing and that I thought she needed to be welcomed to the area.

That would have just been odd.

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