Sunday, November 19, 2006

Social Blunders

Holy shit, do I ever suck sometimes. I... Sigh. I don't know. I just- arg. Okay, I fancy myself to this open person who's engaged with the world, making connections and *really* seeing people. I think it's partly why doing my job is a pleasure, but I also think that continually doing my job fosters this inclination when I'm off the clock... and it can be a good thing...

But also? I am an assmonkey, sometimes.

Today Joel and I went to a "Celebrating the Season" sale at an art gallery where we have work displayed. (Must. Earn. Money. Gah.) And I started up a conversation with a woman who had some amazing paintings on display. She had her 4-month-old daughter and husband there, and we were talking for, like, 20 minutes. She told me all about being a new mom and making time for her artwork, and we were chatting easily for a while. She's telling me about breast-feeding and "scheduling" artistic inspiration and whether or not she should wean her daughter, which is a very personal, in my opinion, and she brought it up.

Meanwhile, her daughter, who is being held by her husband, has two of my fingers in a tight grip in each of her hands. I'm making the baby laugh and gently squeezing her feet, and we're all laughing easily and engaged in conversation. And then...

Oh God, why did I do this? I said, "I totally don't want to be the creepy stranger or whatever, and you can totally say no, but may I hold her for a minute?" The woman's face FALLS and she's all flusterred, and says, "I'm sorry, but no." And I rushed to say, "Don't apologize, oh my god, I'M sorry, that's why I started out with my disclaimer, etc etc"

And she pointedly holds our her hand to shake mine and tells me her name. In that instant, I realized that her husband had introduced himself and told me the baby's right before this woman walked up, but two of us had skipped that part. I hadn't even told her my name. She continued to apologize profusely and telling me her daughter is having more of her infant vaccinations in a few days and she's feeling over-protective... And I kept saying, "no, no, no! Stop! *I'm* sorry."

I AM AN ASS. I am the kind of ass that MommyBloggers write about!

Fuck.

And.. and... since I'm confessing... I did something similar at Kristen's baby shower. I was chatting with her and her best friend, whom I only knew from hanging out at K's wedding. This friend's toddler was with her at the shower, and frankly, this friend/mom/woman was doing a kickass job with her kid- handing a very PG Kristen presents, writing a thank-you list, simultaneously entertaining her newly mobile daughter, who was very cute. And we were all chatting, and this friend was telling K how challenging and awesome it all is.... blah blah blah... and I said, "So, not to be That Person at the baby shower who says, "Are you gonna have another one?!", but you're so great with A. Do you guys think about having a little brother or sister at all?"

And her face FELL, and she says, "Wow, you ARE that person."

Why? Why, when I hear the little voice in my head, the one that offers the disclaimers, do I not compute? I guess it's good that I have such a big mouth, as I'm am constantly sticking my feet in there. JAY-sus.

You know who's good about teaching me to be better about this stuff? Alissa. (Liss, I miss you, especially when I'm all turned up to 11 on the "Being Me Meter," except that then sometimes I stick my feet in my mouth in front of people you love, so maybe you're better off upstate.)

After the art sale opening, Joel and I drove around to cute little coffee shops and stores that carry individual artist's work and might be good places to sell his prints. We have Big Plans for every weekend between now and New Year's. There won't be another sleep-in, no real plans, don't even take the cell phone, wander around weekend day for quite some time.

We stopped at a gas station, and I really had to go to the bathroom. It wasn't a stall situation, just one door that opens to the universe, a sink and a one-woman throne. I didn't realize the lock was broken when I pushed in the button, and a middle-aged/elderly Orthodox woman walked in JUST as I was wiping. She yelled "OY!" and slammed the door. I swear I wanted to hide in there for an hour or more, until it would be IMPOSSIBLE for her to still be on the other side of the door.

Why am I LIKE this? The Shame, IT BURNS! My God, the shame.

(SHAME!)

5 comments:

gwen said...

See, if you and I could somehow combine and average ourselves out in the baby department, we'd be so much better off... this weekend, I ran into a grocery store. The woman in front of me looked like a very harried mom who had too much stuff in her hands and was about to drop the relatively small baby she was holding, who wasn't a in a sling or anything.

As she said, "I'm sorry, but would you mind for just one second?" I assume she's going to ask me to hold her basket, or get the stuff out of the basket for her. I smile, all friendly-like. Sure, I will help you get your stuff out of the basket. I am nice. We're cool.

Do you see where this is going?

She hands me the baby. Seriously. SERIOUSLY. I wanted to be like, "YOU DO NOT KNOW ME. I COULD BE A FRIENDLY-SEEMING BABY-STEALER. GIVING YOUR BABY TO STRANGERS IN GROCERY LINES IS A BAD, BAD IDEA."

cindy w said...

Ok, the gas station incident? Mortifying, yes, but totally not your fault. It's happened to all of us at some point in our lives. Cringe, then let it go.

As for the baby shower, I don't know why the woman would be upset about you asking if she planned to have more kids, especially if you prefaced it with a compliment. If it was a sensitive issue, she could just do the "oh you know, we'll see..." vague answer and leave it alone. I don't think you were out of line on that one at all.

Personally, the only time I've offered to hold strangers' babies for them is when they were siting next to me on an airplane (because seriously, where am I going to go? And no worries about germs, because we're all breathing the same contaminated air anyway). The two times that's happened, the parents seemed grateful to have the child off of their laps for a few minutes.

As for your situation with the baby, I'm not sure how I would've reacted (if I were the mom, I mean). I know first-time moms are jittery, and I don't anticipate being all that different in that respect. But you asked politely, and you weren't rude when she said no, so I think it's honestly fine. Stop beating yourself up about it. :-)

Chunky Photojournalist Barbie said...

Okay, but if a seemingly friendly stranger asks to hold Baby Girl when she's 4-months-old, then turns beet red and apologizes like crazy and looks like she wants to fall through the floor... Please remember me. ;)

You know, just for a second, before you stuff BG in her Snugli and shout, "Stranger! Danger! Stranger! Danger!" until Dave mercilessly beheads the embarrassed lady with a shoe from across the room, Bond Villian style.

cindy w said...

HA! The idea of Dave as a Bond villain totally made me laugh out loud. He's such the stereotypically self-effacing polite Brit, he'd probably hand Baby Girl off to a random Hell's Angel if they asked.

At the very least, if someone asked to hold her and I said no, he would be *mortified*.

gwen said...

Ah -- I meant to add something else about the door... I agree with Cindy, that has happened to all of us, and happened to me once at work, which is v. bad. Do not worry.