That’s Isn’t Me! Promise! (Day #30)

There was a moment yesterday.  A moment I didn’t like.

I didn’t like it at all.

Lil Mil and I were on our way to Starbucks.  It was lunch time.  She was teetering on the edge of sleep, so I was pushing the stroller slowly, hoping she’d fall all the way in before we got there.  I was wearing what has become my daily uniform:  jeans, Uggs, and a milk- and spit-up-stained henley.  It was windy, so my hair was undoubtedly disheveled.  I wasn’t wearing any make-up.

I mention my appearance because it’s relevant.  To me.

We reached an intersection a few blocks from Starbucks.  We were on the opposite corner from where we wanted to be, so we needed to cross the intersection twice.  West to East, then South to North.  As we were crossing from the southwest corner to the southeast corner, two women were approaching the intersection from the opposite direction, carrying takeout cartons from a nearby lunch spot.  Working women.  Chatting as they walked.

These women were my age or slightly younger.  Judging from their work-appropriate-yet-decidedly-hip attire, I took them for industry types.  Neither was wearing a wedding ring.

So there we were, I with my stroller and they with their takeout cartons and adult conversation, approaching the southeast corner from opposite directions.

The light changed just as we all arrived, stopping the East-West traffic.  Without slowing down, we all proceeded into the North-South crosswalk, they by making a right hand turn, I by making a left.

Except, my stroller didn’t turn like it was supposed to (yes, I am blaming the stroller, not its operator.  I am ignoring the fact that my oh-so-fancy stroller turns on a dime).  Consequently, instead of making a hard left, I made a very very soft one.  So instead of falling in line next to these two women, I drove my stroller straight into them.

Thus began the moment I didn’t like.  The moment went something like this:

EXT. CROSSWALK – DAY

WOMAN #1:
(leaping out of the way)
Oh!

ME:
(struggling to complete my turn)
Sorry.  Turning is …
(still struggling, trying to act calm)
… difficult.

WOMAN #1:
(not making eye contact, as Woman #2 flashes a polite yet utterly disinterested smile)
That’s okay.

The women look at each other, then pick up their pace.

I expected moments like this.  Okay, so maybe I didn’t expect to drive my stroller into unsuspecting pedestrians. But I figured there would be moments when I would feel like an Other.   Times when I would encounter women who I might have previously described as Just Like Me only to discover that I was now Different.

I expected moments like this.  I thought I was prepared for moments like this.  I even fancied that I was a person who could enjoy moments like this.

I did not enjoy this moment.

Of course, now, in writing about it, I can step outside the moment and relish it.  Laugh at it, at myself.  At those two women, with their pointed, practiced disinterest.  I can step outside the moment and find humor and meaning in it.  Joy, even.

But in the moment, it was hard to feel anything but the weight of my Otherness.  I was Just A Mommy.  A Woman To Ignore.  A woman in Uggs on a work day.  A woman with nowhere to get, nowhere to go.

Wait.  That isn’t right.  I did have somewhere to go.  And something to do when I got there.

And just like that, I was back.

So my office is a Starbucks.  So my lunch date is a five-week-old infant.  So I look a little worse for the wear.  So what?

I have somewhere to go.  And something to do when I get there.

(Are there moments when you feel like an Other?  Do you have a daily uniform?  Are you as obsessed with the Gap snap henley as I am?)

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