For the long holiday weekend, we decided to take a road trip to the west coast of Florida to visit some of Jenn’s family. We were planning to be away for only two full days, but let me tell you we had about half the house packed up. Taking a simple road trip is not as easy as it used to be.
We got to Jenn’s aunt and uncle’s house in time to enjoy an awesome Florida day. That night we decided to go out for a nice Thai dinner. It was a little later, so Nolin was a bit tired, but doing fine. Towards the end of dinner I decided it may be best to take Nolin for a walk outside, partly to see if he would fall asleep but really just to take a break from the inferno in my mouth that my choice of medium spice had created.
So outside we went. After a few minutes I began to realize that between the fanatic Steelers fans at the bar across the street and all the other Saturday night activity around…Nolin wasn’t sure whether to scream with excitement or join the party, but one thing was for certain, it definitely wasn’t time to sleep. So we headed back inside.
“He must be a Chinaman” I overheard as I was walking back to our table. I am not really sure why I looked because he obviously wasn’t talking to me, but I turned around anyway. There sat a friendly looking couple and again they said “he must be a Chinaman”.
I looked around only to determine that he was definitely talking to Nolin and I.
“Ummmmm no, he is not Chinese” I said and was going to continue back to my table when I started thinking to myself…am I being rude by leaving? Maybe they are just trying to start a conversation…is a conversation about a Chinaman one I really feel comfortable having?
Frozen in my tracks and now realizing that they probably were not trying to engage me in conversation and that others in the restaurant were watching this awkward exchange, I turned to Nolin for help.
“Nolin say hi” as I awkwardly grabbed his hand to try and mimic a wave. Is this the best I could come up with. Responding to a question by asking your child to say hi, may be the most idiotic response you could have. I kept repeating this request to Nolin as if he understood what as I was asking and that this would make the exchange any less awkward.
“Oh, well” the woman said seeming to feel slightly embarrassed and trying to continue the conversation. “Is that a girl?”
Did she really just ask if my son (dressed in a football hoodie and jeans) was a girl? “Ummmmm no, he’s a boy”.
“Oh his cheeks are so rosy” she responded still trying to compliment Nolin. “He is so pretty just like a girl”.
With an uncomfortable laugh I said thank you, but realized that this wasn’t going anywhere good fast. Yet there I still stood continuing to try and get Nolin to wave and say hi…there was that little internal voice that kept telling me please just smile, say goodbye and walk away because the longer you stay here the more you are trying to force them to come up with more conversation that is obviously not working too well. So why didn’t I just walk away? Instead I stood there waiting for the next awkward question to come.
“Is he 10 months?”
O.K. well that wasn’t too bad I thought. “No, he’ll be 8 months next week” I said proudly.
“Oh he’s fat?!”
So they’re 0 for 3 at this point and I wasn’t doing much better as I continued to move Nolin’s hands up and down…Nolin, please just wave so we can head back to the table….still no luck. Finally I gave up. There was no fancy exit, we all smiled and I simply turned around to head back to the table where everyone was now laughing at me.
In the end, the whole exchange was actually very funny. Here is this nice couple, trying to compliment Nolin and I, but each compliment came off a little awkward. Even more awkward was the fact that I continued to stand there waving Nolin’s hand and repeating myself.
People can say the darndest things, but it is usually out of curiosity and interest and nothing else. You could take offense, maybe even try to correct them, but then you are probably going to miss the true humor in many of life’s situations.