Thursday, January 10, 2013


     There was this one time when I was working retail. Well, there were many "this one time"s... but anyways. One time I was working the register, and this lady comes up to purchase whatever it was she was purchasing (I can't remember everything, you know). She was, to me anyway, quite obviously pregnant. Huge belly protruding, had that certain walk/swagger that pregnant women take on in the later months, seemed tired and worn out, hair done up messily in a do-rag type thing; all the usual signs. It was a quiet day, so it was just her and myself at the register. I decided to make small talk. It was a long transaction, because whatever it was she was buying, she was buying a lot of it. I asked her all the usual questions; if she found everything alright, how's your day, etc. Then I did a rather stupid thing. In some lapse of complete judgement, I asked her the dumbest question you can ever ask any stranger. Ever. I asked her "So, is it a boy or a girl? Or do you know?" and indicated towards her stomach.

     The look on this lady's face is something I'll never quite forget. Horror. Humiliation. Resentment. Anger. All of it, all rolled into one look on one face. Her reply after a few seconds of making this awful face?

"I'm not pregnant".

     Now, I sort of wish I could have seen MY face at this point, because I'm quite sure that it was ten times more expressive than the hideous expression this lady had just made. I was horrified. Instantly, I felt a wave of shock and a jolt of humiliation and remorse shoot straight to my heart. I just about wanted to melt under the counter. How could I have been so STUPID?! Well, she really did look pregnant, but still; that's not something you ask a STRANGER. Ever. And now I was gonna pay for it.

     At this stage in the game, I finally managed to regain some mite of composure, enough to stammer "I'm so sorry, ma'am... Are you sure?"

     Another winning line from the world's dumbest cashier. I was pretty close to reaching for my boxcutter to just commit seppuku right there on the spot; anything to escape this disgraceful situation I'd gotten myself into.  After I'd uttered that last line of brilliancy, I immediately realized that yet again, this was not something you say to anyone. Not strangers, not family, not friends, nobody. My hand flew to cover my mouth in embarrassment; what on earth had I gotten myself into here?! How could I be so continually idiotic? I tried again.

   "Oh, my stars... I'm so sorry, that's not what I meant at all... ::sigh:: I'm so so sorry, this is really just not going well for me, now is it..." I could feel my cheeks burning with the humiliation and sorrow for what I had just done to this poor, unassuming and non-pregnant woman.

     A few seconds went by. I was terrified; I thought she was going to cry. I thought I was going to cry. We stood there, me looking at her apologetically, her looking at me so hurt, so dejectedly...

     Then she burst out laughing. That's right, absolutely burst out laughing. Not a simple chuckle, not a small giggle; a big, beautiful, sassy, magnificently musical laugh that can only be produced by those people with excellent senses of humour and a great love of all things funny.

     Again, I wish I could have seen my face at this point. Confusion, most likely, and probably concern. I honestly thought that I had insulted her so badly that she had snapped, cracked; the poor woman had probably just absolutely snapped after battling obesity for 30+ years, probably had a childhood full of bullying for it, and here some cashier asks if she's pregnant? Yeah, i would crack, too. Instead of the usual crying or screaming kind of cracked, though, she was laughing.

     After this went on for some time, I very timidly asked her if everything was alright. Tears were now streaming down her face from laughing so hard. She slapped her hand onto my shoulder quite familiarly, and said to me:

     "Oh girl, I just messin' with ya! Of COURSE I'm pregnant! Due next week! BUT YOU SHOULDA SEEN THE LOOK ON YOUR FACE!". Another fit of laughter. Wheels were furiously turning in my head, in an attempt to process what had just transpired. Not...fat... Is...pregnant...

     It finally clicked, I had been tricked pretty hard by this sassy lady. She was the sweetest soul, though. Excellent sense of humour. I give her mad props for that; she truly got me good. Warm as a ray of sunshine, she just kept on laughing, and I eventually joined her. I told her "My gosh, you got me GOOD. I was so scared!" To which she replied "Oh sugar, I'm sorry I scared you and did that to you, but I just can't resist a good opportunity like that! Once in a lifetime, y'know?" To which I said "No, no, it's quite alright; I had it coming, asking a dumb question like that!". The transaction eventually ended, tears streaming down both our faces from the crazy laughing fit. I handed her the receipt, she thanked me so much with all the good old fashioned southern hospitality in the world.

     As she walked out the door, she turned back, grinned real big and jovially said to me "It's gon' be a boy; his name will be Joshua Ray!" I smiled bigger than I had in a long time, and said "Congratulations! It's a beautiful name! You take care of yourself, ok?" "Sho' thing, sugar, you do the same!"

     We both waved, and she left. When she was gone, I slumped back against the counter, and just sighed. Dodged a bullet there, Chibz. Then I fell into another fit of laughter about the whole incident, which still happens when I think back on it, even now.



  1. Replies
    1. hahahaha! it was, back then and still even today, it makes me laugh quite heartily ^_^

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