(Heyo! The science we “out droppin’, son” this week over at Secondhand SCIENCE is all about those freaky critters who light themselves up like Christmas trees.
Wanna know how the fireflies fire? Then check out the words about biolumenescence over there. Plus something new tomorrow. New and sciency — that’d light anyone up! Have a gander.)
People who don’t know me well think I’m quiet. I don’t say a lot in crowds or around people I don’t know well — and that’s generally better for everyone involved, whether they know it or not. We’ll get to that.
People who know me a little better often tell me I should talk more. They’re surprised — because I’m “quiet” — to find that I have a knack for seeing relationships between things that others might not, and recognizing patterns, and (usually) making jokes out of these kinds of observations. Some people seem to enjoy them. And they tell me I should engage more often.
The people who know me best don’t say any such things. Because they know the reason I don’t talk to many people is that I’m not very good at it, probably because my brain is too busy thinking about patterns and relationships to worry about whoever it is I’m talking to. So I’m prone to blurt things out that might be interesting or funny because they’re quirkily relevant somehow — but not to the person I’m talking to.
I tend to forget that last bit, because my brain doesn’t have the capacity to do its pattern-searching business and consider the context of the conversation and remember all the lyrics to R.E.M. albums from twenty-five years ago.
Something had to go. My brain made a choice.
And now I have to live with it. Like I did last week, when my wife and I were out at a perfectly lovely party thrown by a couple we know. It was a small affair — just a handful of people eating, drinking and chatting. Most of us knew each other fairly well, but the missus and I at one point found ourselves talking with a woman we’d met just a couple of times before. Nice woman. Very pleasant woman. Also, very pregnant woman.
She was talking about her plans for the kid and the delivery, and mentioned the hospital she’d be using — and that triggered a match. Somewhere deep in my head a box got checked — I knew someone who’d used that very same hospital for her delivery a few years ago. I’d been a bit adrift in the conversation, as the women talked about baby rooms and maternity leave and motherly glows and all sorts of other things I know nothing about. But here — finally — was something I could contribute; an anecdote perfectly germane to the situation. And hey, come to think of it, it’s kind of a funny story…
So I proceeded to tell this woman — this very pregnant woman who I don’t know very well — about this other once-pregnant woman who showed up to her hospital one day for some sort of pregnant-lady mid-term tune-up, and was told: “yeah, you probably shouldn’t leave or the baby might fall out.”
The woman at the party looked a little shocked at this. That was great! I took it to mean I’d made the story intro sufficiently interesting — you’ve got to hook ’em in the first three sentences, you know — so I storytellered on:
“The docs at this hospital — hey, and it’s the same one you’re using! — put this lady on immediate bed rest, right there, after the appointment. So she went in for a checkup and spent nine-and-a-half weeks lying in a hospital bed, holding the baby in.”
“It’s like going to the nurse for a band-aid, and she takes out a kidney.”
The party woman’s eyes got wider.
“I know, right? Nine-and-a-half weeks, just like the movie! Bet they cut that scene from the film, eh? ‘Just live here at the hospital on your back for two months. Trust us; we’re doctors!’ It’s like going to the nurse for a band-aid, and she takes out a kidney.”
The lady at the party looked fully aghast now. My wife wasn’t far behind; she was at maybe eighty percent aghast, or eighty-five. Pretty aghast, sure — but clearly not quite at the level of this other lady.
It dawned on me that perhaps what amounts to a hospital horror story starting with a pregnancy checkup for a woman late in her second trimester might not — despite the clear similarities — be the sort of thing an expectant mother using the same hospital would want to hear, especially if she had a pregnancy checkup looming in the near future.
“Oh. Monday morning, you say? Uh… I’m sure it’ll be fine.”
But at least you’re not late in the second trimester. Right? You’re probably in a different situation altogether. I mean, what are the odds?
“Twenty-six weeks? Oh, so that’s… late in the second trimester. Right.”
Well, on the plus side, that other lady’s baby was just fine. And I’m sure your checkup will go smoothly. I bet it’ll be done in an hour, hour and a half, tops. That hospital is, like, so good, and the doctors totally have medical degrees and this other thing was just a one-time deal, I’m sure, and good golly, look at the time — honey, we should really go now so we can get home to do that thing… oh, you know, that reallyimportantthing, and hey, you, good luck with the baby, it’ll be so great and you’ll probably barely be in labor and just shoot him right out and god I’m still saying things, so bye — and say bye to your husband, and maybe don’t mention that we talked about nine-and-a-half weeks — the story or the movie, I think, in this case, is best, and oh, now my wife is pulling me toward the front door so we should go, good to see everyone — byeeeeeee.
And this is why I don’t talk to people. Especially people I don’t know well. And especially pregnant women I don’t know well. And especially ESPECIALLY pregnant women I don’t know well, when the topic is hospitals, childbirth or sexy Kim Basinger movies.
It sounds pretty specific, I know. But you’d be surprised how often it comes up.Permalink | No Comments