A former co-worker of mine brought her new baby girl in today. After some thought, I decide to be brave and try the social thing for a minute. I get up from my comfort zone I call a cubicle and start walking toward her and said baby.
I start with a "Hey! Congratulations!" and considered this a perfectly normal and pleasant start.
She smiles, says, "Thank you!"
I relax a little bit. It seems as though she considers this normal as well. Social contact initiated smoothly.
But then I see the baby, and this is where things go downhill. This is where things always go downhill. I say, "Oh my gosh, she's precious!" because she was. I could have, should have left it at that, but I can never leave it at that. Instead, I added, "And I don't even like babies."
What? Really? It feels like everyone there is looking at me like I had just said that I'm a big fan of genocide or that I support Hitler. Their eyes big and wide and unbelieving, as if they just found out that I don't believe in inter-racial marriage or being a nice and decent person at all. It looked to me like they had all grown five inches and suddenly leaned in toward me. I was suffocating. I panic. I literally feel myself start to sweat.
"I mean, they just make me nervous. I - mean - what I'm saying is I like your baby." Also could have left it at that. Because I did - this baby was an adorable little dumpling. But I decide dig my pit of self-loathing a little deeper by closing with, "So far."
So far? Really? Is this some kind of baby game show, where I judge babies on their various attributes and say things like, "I like this one, so far?" As if babies, innocent and vulnerable, are even in a position to be judged and/or critiqued. What in Linus' name is wrong with me? This is my life. I try to give a compliment and it comes out a mess.
For the record, it isn't that I don't like babies. I just don't
know what to do when I'm around them. They're so helpless and valuable
that I find it hard to relax when a baby is in close proximity. I'm
the youngest in my family, and just became an aunt a few weeks ago to a
baby that lives in another state. I haven't had a lot of opportunity to
practice acting however you're supposed to act around infants.
Needless to say, I excused myself and walked away, concluding that I had done enough damage for the time being. Just let me go home. Let me crawl into this hole I've dug myself and stay there until everyone has forgotten about all of the stupid things I've said.
A few more hours.