I'm now a small-talker. I guess. Or is it considered "small talk" when you are conversing about someone's child? I'm not entirely sure. Regardless, I am now one of those people who talk to strangers. No, don't make the mistake, I'm not a friendly person... just a small-talker.
It's been slowly building up over the past year. When I was pregnant random people felt the need to know my due date, the sex of the baby, the name of the baby, what hospital I would be delivering at and so on. When I started bringing Scarlett on errands we would be, at times, the center of attention. Elderly ladies are especially interested in who's in the baby carrier. Lots of peeks, smiles, waves and friendly oohs and ahhs would ensue. It's actually a pretty great feeling to know that these complete strangers are in awe of the little person that you helped to create. But as of today I've reached a level I wasn't expecting to reach. I think it's called the my daughter is almost nine months old so ask me a shit-ton of questions and tell me everything you've done for your child who is slightly older stage. Or something like that.
After rushing around getting myself ready -- that's a routine hair-straightening and make-up session followed by a careful outfit-choosing -- plus, of course, feeding and dolling up my little lemon pie, I was able to pull out of the driveway by 9:30. I had wanted to get to Babies 'R' Us early so I could get the babe back home for a decent morning nap. As we walked to the front of the store I couldn't help but notice that it was FREEZING out. Well, alright, not freezing but definitely chilly and completely cloudy. So I had the baby dressed in a sleeveless shirt and capris - no biggie - we would be in the store in twenty seconds. OR the woman out front holding her child would inform me that they didn't open until ten. It was 9:45. Son of a! (I smell chit-chat).
We awkwardly exchanged smiles of stupidity and generically note that we'd both been to the store dozens of times and never realized what time they actually opened. Now I was standing there holding my under-dressed child while the wind just blew a constant stream of insult. I noticed The Informer had a jacket on her child. Damnit. I'm always ill-prepared. I felt Scarlett's arms and legs and she was warm and happy -- take THAT, lady who remembers everything. She began to remark about how cute Scarlett was and asked her age. I then felt obligated to ask her daughter's age, and thank God she was wearing flowery pants because she was a baldie too and I really wouldn't have known she was a girl otherwise. Nothin' like using the wrong pronoun to make you feel like crawling under the sidewalk. I asked her name to find out that it was Vienna. (Adorable). I was then informed that Prepared Woman's brother had taught English in Germany ... or was it German in England? Who the frig knows, I have zero comprehension these days. Anyway, she has visited Vienna many times and it's her favorite city. After learning Scarlett's name she revealed that Gone With The Wind is one of her favorite movies. I always feel so stumped after people say that. It's totally understandable -- it's always assumed that's where we got the moniker. But the truth is we just love the name. I've seen the movie a few times, sure, but I still don't really have an appropriate response to that statement. So I'm left with that sort of half-interested smirk. Not my finest. We went on to discuss crawling, teething, teething tablets, doctor's appointments and a slew of other topics that flowed seamlessly from one to the next.
Finally, the doors opened -- but not before five more women-- all with little girls-- gathered among us.We looked like the Strawberry Shortcake Gang. (SSG represent.) We all went our own way once in the store, thankfully. I was afraid there would be exchanging of names for future facebook friendships. I began my senseless chatter with Scarlett, asking her which bibs I should get and if she wanted new spoons. I don't know what my problem is. She just continued to eat the strap of my pocketbook.
We made it through the store finding everything we came for and of course a few things that weren't on the list. I headed to the checkout line. Two carriages containing little girls pulled up behind us. Dads were at the helm of both. One struck up a conversation - again asking Scarlett's age. I then asked the age of his daughter. (That's how it goes). We had a brief chat before I was called to the cashier. As I placed my items on the counter I realized that Mr. Dad had two daughters in the carriage. (Here comes Crazy Sheri). OMG Should I have asked the age of his other daughter? Why did I only focus on the little one in the seat?? Is he offended? Would I be offended?? Did I make the little girl feel left out because I merely smiled at her but remarked that the little one looks beautiful in purple? Aw crap!!
And THAT, gang, is why I shouldn't even try to make small talk. Ever. I over-think everything. I either couldn't care less about what you're saying so I only half pay attention which bites me in the ass when you bring it back up later OR I pay a ton of attention but not to the full crowd which leaves me feeling horrid that I probably scarred your child and she'll forever be picked last for kickball because she has no sense of self worth. Bottom line - I should probably just be left alone to shop and ramble nonsense with my daughter. I'm such a creep.