Lost in Suburbia: Catching it on the fly

Tracy Beckerman More Content Now

“Oh, hi!” I said to a pseudo-friend of mine when I ran into her at the coffee shop 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?”

“Did you hear about my son?” she asked without greeting me.

“Has he discovered the cure for the common cold?” I wondered.

“Oh, no … ha ha ha,” she tittered. “But he did win a full aerospace engineering scholarship at his first-choice school!”

“How great,” I said with mock interest. Normally, I would comment further on the Progeny Achievement du Jour 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 iced hazelnut coffee over her head.

“Yes, it looks like that internship he did with NASA last summer really paid off. We’re so proud.”

I cringed. This was like getting one of those braggy holiday cards where everyone in the family climbs Mount Everest… even the dog.

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 something that had nothing to do with her. My mind went blank, and I said the first thing that popped into my head.

“We discovered that he can catch flies in mid-air with one hand,” I blurted out.

She looked at me in utter confusion. “Fly balls?” she wondered. “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 boasted.

“He catches flies?” she asked again.

“Yup,” I said proudly.

“Well, everyone has to have some talent, I suppose,” she said dryly. I smiled.

“You want to see them?” I asked.

“See what?” she wondered.

“The flies. I kept them as proof.” I began digging around in my purse. She gasped, turned, and ran out the door.

Gee, if I had known it was that easy, I would have kept some rubber flies in my pocketbook years ago.

Follow Tracy on Twitter at @TracyinSuburbia.