“Oh … hi!” I said to a pseudo-friend of mine when I ran into her in Dunkin' Donuts one morning. I call her a pseudo-friend because we are friendly when we run into each other, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to find her in a crowded room. I actually wouldn’t even go out of my way to find her in an empty room. She’s one of those people who always has incredible things to share about her children and shows absolutely no interest in anyone else’s.
“Oh … hi!” I said to a pseudo-friend of mine when I ran into her in Dunkin' Donuts one morning. I call her a pseudo-friend because we are friendly when we run into each other, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to find her in a crowded room. I actually wouldn’t even go out of my way to find her in an empty room. She’s one of those people who always has incredible things to share about her children and shows absolutely no interest in anyone else’s. As you might expect, this can be somewhat tiresome, so I try to avoid asking leading questions like, “How are you?” and “How are the kids?” and “So, have your children won any Nobel prizes lately?”
“Hiiiyyyyaah!” she said as she greeted me with an air kiss about a mile from my actual cheek. “Did you hear about my son?”
I groaned inwardly. “Has he discovered the cure for the common cold?” I wondered.
“Oh, no … ha, ha, ha,” she tittered. “He won an aerospace scholarship!”
“How great,” I drawled with mock interest. Normally, I would “ooh” and “aah” about the latest achievement, just to be polite. But this time I wasn’t in the mood to continue the game. I was more interested in getting my drink and escaping her narcissistic clutches without acting on the urge to dump hazelnut coffee over her head.
We stood there in awkward silence, and then she abruptly turned to me and said, “So … what is your son doing?”
I was momentarily stunned by her sudden interest in my obviously inferior progeny. Then I realized the question probably had more to do with making sure that my children were not doing anything more spectacular than her children.
Still, I was caught off guard by the question and my mind went blank. My children had not recently climbed any of the seven peaks or marched with penguins in the Antarctic or finished college at the age of 8. Truthfully, they hadn’t done anything even remotely brag-worthy. They were just really nice, normal, funny kids. So I said the first thing that popped into my head.
“We discovered that my son can catch flies in mid-air with one hand,” I blurted out.
She looked at me in utter confusion. “Fly balls?” she said. “You mean baseballs?”
“No flies. You know, like bugs. Buzz, buzz!” I giggled.
She blinked. And then she blinked again. I could see it didn’t compute.
“Someone left the back door open and we got a whole load of flies in the house,” I explained. “I couldn’t catch them. My husband couldn’t catch them. They were driving us nuts. Then my son came in and snatched them all, one at a time, in mid-flight. I’ve never seen anything like it,” I bragged.
“He catches flies?” she asked again.
“Yup,” I said proudly.
“Well, everyone has to have some talent, I suppose,” she said dryly.
“You want to see them?” I asked.
“See what?” she wondered.
“The flies. I kept them as proof.” As I began digging around vigorously in my purse, she gasped, turned and ran out the door.
I grinned. If I had known it was that easy, I would have kept some fake rubber flies in my pocketbook years ago.
For more Lost in Suburbia, visit Tracy’s blog at www.lostinsuburbia.net.