The stairs at our library are killers sometimes. Some days I go up without breaking a sweat and other days, I have to almost bend double to catch my breath as if I just finished a marathon. The woman who came up the stairs was breathing heavy when she asked me where the printer number 3 was. The printer downstairs was not working so she sent a print job to printer upstairs and came up the stairs huffing and puffing to get her print job. We got talking about different things – mainly about the killer staircase. She got her print job and went downstairs. I went back to whatever I was doing on the computer. It was a quiet day and I think I was working on discussion questions for our next book for book club. It is Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi, if you are wondering. It is a fantastic, thoughtful beautiful work of art and I highly, highly recommend it. But I digress. Anyway, the sweet lady came up the stairs again and went straight to the printer. I smiled and made a few seconds of small talk. She was very chatty and talked the whole time while she waited for her print job to come out. As the printer started making encouraging sounds of getting her print job out, she looked at me, especially my bulging, menopausal stomach and asked, “Hmmm…do I see a baby bump? Are congratulations in order?”
I was shocked first and then mortified. No, not for my expanding girth (I have stopped caring a while ago), but for her. I knew my answer was going to embarrass her. She just called me fat and I am going to point that out to her by saying, “No, I am not pregnant. I am just fat.” Oh, she was going to be in such an uncomfortable situation in just a moment, I thought in my head. I shook my head, smiled beneath my mask and said very softly, “No, I am not pregnant.” If she was embarrassed, the lady did not show it. She said, “You are not? Oh, look at my belly, cannot get rid of it. Six children will do that to you.” I said, “Tell me about it.” And then let it go. I did not even have the excuse of having six children. I just sport a belly without being pregnant. That is all.
After she left, I chuckled about the whole exchange. Should I be flattered that she thought I was young enough to be pregnant? Or should I be enraged that she called me fat? I felt neither of those emotions. I just laughed about it all and thought it would make good content for my blog.