Since writing my post about THE question, I’ve been thinking about some other tough questions that I’ve answered on my road to motherhood. My student who asked THE question had kind intentions. This is not always true. I am sure that you are aware, unless you are agoraphobic, in which case your problems run deeper than mine, that there are rude people everywhere. I’d go as far as to say that we are surrounded. We are also surrounded by an unlimited supply of the dregs of society who seem to have no problem whatsoever reproducing. That, however is for another post, another day.
One of the most inappropriate questions I’ve had to answer was asked one day last spring when I left the gym. I clearly remember being in my gym clothes, sporting my standard pony tail with a bandanna (that matched my t-shirt, thank you very much) serving as a headband. There is a chain drugstore that is in the same plaza as the gym and I stopped there for a pregnancy test before heading home. I have to play mind games in order to allow myself to take a pregnancy test, otherwise I would consume them like Rush Limbaugh consumes oxycodone. It ain’t pretty, folks. On this particular day, it was on my mind that I could possibly be pregnant. Trust me when I say that someone in my position obsesses over pregnancy symptoms. It turns out that early pregnancy symptoms are EXACTLY the same as premenstrual symptoms. It’s another sweet little perk of being a woman.
I walked up to the counter where the only cashier that I saw in the store was stationed. An early twenty-something male with shoulder length dreads and glasses. Great. For some reason, I’ve always had the mistaken assumption that they tell people who work at drugstores that it is against store policy to comment and/or ask any questions related to what the customer is purchasing. That would be the right thing to do, or am I crazy? Is a little discretion at a place that sells condoms, yeast infection medication, maxi pads and personal lubricant, too much to expect?
I put the pink and white box on the counter and the cashier picked up the box to scan it. He looked at me and smirked and said, “Are you hoping to get a positive or a negative, if you don’t mind my asking.” I kid you not. I was stunned. It was one of those moments where I felt flustered. I was shaky on the inside, but, as always, cool, calm and collected on the outside. One can never be prepared for this type of situation. Who the hell was this guy? When people buy Trojans, does he ask, “You planning on gettin’ some tonight?” If you put a box of Tampax on the table, does he ask, “You cramping right now? How long do you think this one will last?” If you buy Monostat does he ask, “Itchy, huh?” What the hell? Really???
In retrospect, I can always come up with a snarky response like, “How often do you masturbate, if you don’t mind my asking?” But, alas, when you’re in the moment, you just want to get out of there. Quickly. So, I responded with the first thing that popped into my mind, which was honesty. I replied, “I hope it’s positive. I’ve actually been trying to have a baby for about six years and I’ve had two miscarriages. So, yeah, I hope it’s positive.” The tables had turned. Mr. Smirk was now the one who was squirming a little. His response was wide-eyed, “Oh,” with a slow nod. As I left the store, feeling a little shaken, I was thinking that I should probably call the store manager and complain. It was obnoxiously inappropriate, yet who really wants to replay the whole scenario with the store manager. “You see, I have been trying to have a baby for quite some time, sir, and…” No thanks. Unfortunately, the result was not what I had hoped for. Aunt Flo arrived two days later, and you can bet your sweet derrière I went to a different store to buy my midol and tampons.