So I’m coasting on some great spring weather and good visit-with-my-mom vibes, and decide to pop into a bodega before I head home. It’s not my usual spot: it stinks of cat, the lighting is sketchy and there’s always some young neighborhood person who vaguely guards the door. But it’s closest to my house and so for that, I have only myself to blame. The following took place at about 5 pm. It’s approximately 5:20 now.
I’m buying two rolls of toilet paper. The storekeeper wishes me a cheerful “Happy Mother’s Day,” to which I genially reply, “I’m not a mom but thanks!”
The below conversation was transcribed verbatim.
SO: (astonished–kiddingly, I think) “Why no kids?”
Me, chuckling: “I’m an auntie to many, many children.”
SO: “What are you, 35?”
Me: flinging hair and pulling off glasses in dramatic reveal. “Thank you, I’m 41.”
SO: His sudden pounding of the counter deadens my sails. Pounding does not mean kidding. “WHAT? And no kids? Can you have them?”
Me: “Theoretically? Me-Medically? I think… I mean…” (not prepared for this level of interrogation when picking up tp) “Yes, I’m pretty sure I could…” (trying to count out change simultaneously)
SO: Pounding again. My posture keeps tightening. “Listen, you go home & tell your boyfriend, you tell your husband to give you babies NOW. You must have babies. Babies are life.”
Me: “Uhhh–” (contemplate telling him I’m single, decide I’m way over my head already)
SO: “Without babies you become these women with the dogs and cats. They walk them and they have 5 and 6. It’s NO. GOOD. Don’t wait till 50. No babies after 50.”
Me: “Fifty,” I repeat dumbly.
SO: “Tell your husband TODAY. Babies are the answer!” He pats my black plastic bag and with that, I’m dismissed into the bright sunlight, slightly dazed but knowing I need to share this ASAP.
This entire ‘chat’ was over so fast it would take me a full day to process. But if I’m honest with myself, is it really Mother’s Day unless a stranger remarks on my fertility? I feel oddly at peace now.
(Note to self: never be nice to anyone AGAIN.)
eta: Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms and women who have been moms to me. I hope my chronicles make you smile, or just shake your head in disbelief, as I think that’s funny too.