I Have That Kind of Face………….

So I was going to say that I have that kind of face, apparently, that makes people comfortable approaching me and telling me random things.  But I was also thinking maybe it’s that I keep running into these people at our ghetto Food Lion and it is frequented by lonely people.  I don’t know.  It could also be that my kids are always causing such a commotion that you can’t help but notice me and the pained look on my face from trying to hold it together and not smack anyone.
When I was about 8 months pregnant  there was this old lady who chased me down in the parking lot to tell me  the story of this man she met who drove 2 hours to meet her and ended up spending the weekend with her and buying her lots of things (literally – she started talking to me as I exited the store, followed me all the way to my car, and kept putting her hand on my arm for emphasis when the story required it).  As I tried to get my bags into the trunk and get off my feet (I was in a lot of pain standing there, trying to be polite, but hoping that she might break out of her obliviousness and notice that I had a huge belly and a grimace of pain on my face) she assured me she wasn’t “that kind of lady”, that she normally doesn’t let a man she doesn’t know very well spend the night at her house, let alone the whole weekend.  But here it was her birthday, you see.  I can’t remember how old she said she was, I think it was 75 or so, and she was very proud of her age, and this was an older man who was very sweet on her, and she just wished her son wasn’t so upset about her weekend fling.  I wonder how many other people she ran down that day to tell that story to.  Apparently she was too embarrassed to tell her church friends (I guess I have that sinner look about me which suggests I wouldn’t find it shocking to sleep with a man on a first date.  Of course, I was pregnant……..)
Then the other day the lady behind me in line noticed Oona’s hat and asked me about it.  Then she told me her youngest was about a year old and she missed the days when she was just a tiny thing.  I made polite chatter about how fast they grow, and she proceeded to tell me her life story.  I couldn’t hear a lot of what she said because the cashier was also talking to me.  They didn’t seem to realize that they were both talking to me at the same time.
Then there’s the effect that taking your children out in public has.  People love to smile at babies, and laugh at the charming antics of little kids (not that mine are very charming very often…at least not to me).  And then…….then there’s the people who look at you in sympathy.  The ones that come right out and commend your bravery for hauling 3 little kids through a crowded grocery store like I did tonight.  There were a lot of older women there for some reason and I had a serious amount of compliments about my fortitude.  One woman took in the sight of me, Oona strapped to my chest, Neve screaming in the car cart, Emily sulking next to me, and just said “Wow!”  That’s when you know you’re not alone in this crazy thing called parenthood, that there are other people who know how it is.
What’s amusing to me is that I used to suffer from social anxiety in a big way but now I kind of enjoy it when people feel they can talk to me.
Except for that grizzled creepy old guy at the local fried chicken place down the road who made a pass at me as I was walking by him with lunch for myself and my family.  I’d rather he not talk to me.

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