Once upon a time I was new to the playground scene. I used to wear things like white cords and vintage trainers that I didn’t want to mess up. I just didn’t know. I was somewhat shy but overcame that quickly due to the nice people at ye olde playgrounde. I talked to everyone and everyone talked to me. It was nice. I could hardly believe it. See, I had come from the publishing world, and well, let’s just say that not everyone was so nice there.
Everything was going gangbusters (yes, gangbusters), until Stinkeye came. Stinkeye was a mom who was quite lovely with her shiny hair and pale skin. She reminded me of Meg White, only she seemed surlier. Which of course made me want to be friends with her. So I ambled over to the swings and before you knew it we had a real conversation™ about not sleeping through the night. I felt we had bonded.
A few days later when she came around again, I waved heartily at her. But there was no response. Maybe she didn’t see me, I thought, but then I thought, nah, no way, she saw me. In fact she was looking right at me. Only problem was, she was looking at me with the expression of someone who was either highly constipated or who had just smelled overcooked brussel sprouts. She was clearly giving me the Stinkeye (hence the name.)
Still, I shouted “Hi!” I might as well have been saying, “I’m an idiot, Hi!”
She didn’t come over and so I immediately thought in my mind, BITCH, what a bitch, what is wrong with you? We had the Real Conversation Where We Didn’t Lie To Each Other and everything. I felt so played.
It went on like this for a while. Some days Stinkeye would be all friendly and nice and other days it was as if I didn’t exist. It was weird and I just decided that she was fickle or depressed or something that had nothing to do with me. Then one day, my husband came with us to the playground. Stinkeye was there, giving me a real foul one, when Doug said something to me.
“Um, she’s obviously pregnant, which could account for her mood. Maybe she’s just nauseous when she’s talking to you.”
I didn’t take that as a slam as I was nauseous 99% of the time I was pregnant. Everything made me queasy: food, walking uphill, and that commercial about foot fungus burrowing into someone’s animated toenail.
I had no idea what he was talking about. Then I looked at her belly and what I thought was baby weight, was an actual baby. Well, baby in the making. See, I didn’t know. But I did know that you can never ever say to a woman, “so when are you due?” because that woman may NOT be pregnant. And you do not want to go there.
I felt mad at myself for being so quick to judge. I don’t want to be like that. It’s hard sometimes when you’re new to something and you think everyone has it so together except for you. It’s an easy out to jump to conclusions. I must stop that, I thought.
So I saw Stinkeye ( I know I should stop saying that but it’s such a good misnomer) the other day with her two kids who are thirteen months apart. She looked great and tired and we had a very abbreviated conversation about all kinds of things including poop because when does a conversation with another parent not include poop.
It was really nice.
So nice that I didn’t think twice when I left and another Mom on the street came up to me and said “You know, that Mom you were just talking to totally gave you the finger as soon as you left.”