What Baby?

24 08 2013


We can all be guilty of making poor decisions.

Sometimes the worst kinds are those designed to protect other people.

I found myself making just such a poor decision whilst holidaying in the Dominican Republic.

It was the second day. FFOMC and I were searching for a table in the buffet restaurant for breakfast. It was rammed with people but we tumbled upon a table that had recently been vacated by its previous occupants and was being made up by one of the countless waitresses swarming between the crowds of hungry tourists.

I loitered next to the table to communicate my intention to occupy the table as soon as it was ready whilst FFOMC went in search of coffee, toast and tropical fruit juice.

The waitress (whose name tag read Vanessa), smiled and acknowledged my presence. She politely inquired about my health on that particular morning, cupping her stomach with one hand whilst she skilfully arranged cutlery with the other. I nodded that I was in good health.

The next question came as something of a shock.

“And how is the baby?”

In a heartbeat my mind raced through a number of subsequent thoughts.  What f**king baby? Do I look fat in this outfit? Who do you think I am? Do I have a pregnant doppelganger? Are you mocking me? How embarrassed will you be when you realise I am not in actual fact pregnant?

Having made similar errors in the past of enquiring about pregnancy and due dates with non-pregnant woman, my heart clenched in sympathy for this woman so desperate to please and engage with guests. Despite the multitude of responses competing in my brain, my overwhelming gut reaction was to spare the poor woman’s feelings and save her from embarrassment – after all she does not know me and after a fortnight was never likely to see me again. Even so, the response that issued from my mouth surprised even me;

“The baby’s fine.”

I don’t know what I expected but of course this was not the end of this conversation.

“Is it a boy or a girl?”

“Err…it’s really much too early to say”

(Gushing) “Oh…you must be so excited – it will be a wonderful surprise”

“More than you can possibly imagine…”

I had a lovely morning breakfast. As a “Mum-to-be” I was treated like royalty by the gushing staff and received approving, knowing nods of approval from the waiters. FFOMC laughed when I explained the reason for these knowing glances and rolled his eyes in merriment. Yes for an hour or so, I enjoyed being “pregnant”.

However, my amusement was short lived.

After a sinfully blissful day of drifting aimlessly between my sun lounger where I caught up on the romantic exploits of Damien Stark and my time in the Jacuzzi FFOMC and I dressed for dinner and made our way to dinner followed by the bar. As I was about to place my order for my usual red wine I met the beaming face of the lovely Vanessa. Despite my earlier reassurance that I would not ever see this woman again after my annual fortnight in the sun; I baulked at the idea of being branded the world’s worst parent as I necked wine by the gallon load putting my “unborn child” at unnecessary risk.

This was the start of a very long fortnight.

We ate at the buffet restaurant and all three of the Al La Carte restaurants in no particular order. At each venue we were greeted with Vanessa’s smiling face.

I abstained from ordering alcohol in her presence. I approached other waiters when her back was turned and took large gulps under the table when she went into the kitchen to collect food orders. I guzzled water and soft drinks when she was in my sight lines and refused to partake of the liqueur trolley when it was wheeled to our table.

It became a standing joke with the holiday friends we made and this farcical routine continued until the day we left.

All in all it was a great holiday but for much of it, I was significantly more lucid than I had intended to be.

On my return to England I have thrown out the offending outfit that resulted in this gross misunderstanding and I am hell bent on catching up on lost units.





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