The other day I was at the grocery store. As I pulled my cart in behind some lady. She remarked, “Oh, you have a healthy diet.”
Being polite, I responded, “Thank you… I’ve got two hungry boys at home…”
“Oh,” she said typing on her phone.
“Yes,” I replied, “two guinea pigs…”
I thought the conversation was over. After all, the lady was texting furiously on her phone.
After several texts, she looked up and asked. “How old? Your boys?”
“Two… They will be three on August first,” I absently said looking down.
“Ah…” she said knowingly, “twins…”
“No,” I laughed, “brothers from two different mothers… I think.”
“So,” she said with a bit of embarrassment in her voice, “same dad?”
“I don’t know…” I said casually.
“They are adopted?” she tried as I looked down at my phone trying to find a good picture.
“Oh, yes,” I still looking through my phone. Then I added, “In fact, they are both rescues…”
“Rescued?” she asked with amazement.
“Yes,” I said hearing the tone in her voice. I looked up to see her wide eyes staring at me.
“How, where, why?” she asked all at once.
“Well, I don’t really know their exact story,” I sheepishly admitted. “But, I do know that they were abandoned, taken in by a rescue, fostered, and then put up for adoption.”
“Wow!” the lady said with a renewed enthusiasm. She unloaded her cart and I answered several text messages. As the cashier as checked her out, I loaded the conveyor belt.
When she was done, she said to me, “Well, I am glad those boys have you in their life…”
“I’m glad that I have them too…” I glowingly admitted.
As she walked away she added, “I just can’t believe those people got away treating their kids like that…”
“Kids?” I asked.
“Yes, your boys. How dare those parents abandon their children…” she said with a bit of anger in her tone.
“Kids?” I said with amazement. See her perplexed look I added, “I don’t have any kids…”
“Then who? What?” she stuttered.
“My guinea pigs…” I said finally realizing that we were talking about two different type of ‘boys’.
“So… that… was… all about your… pets?” she spitted out.
“Yes, I thought…I thought… Didn’t you hear me say guinea pigs?” I tried to explain.
“No,” she spit out and gave me a nasty look. The lady called over shoulder, “Have a nice day…”
I stared at the lady’s back as she walked away from the cashier.
“Well that was awkward,” the cashier sighed interrupting my train wreck of a thought.
“Ahhhh,” I let out turning to the cashier, “you knew I was talking about my guinea pigs…Fred and Lamont… Right?”
“Well, sure,” she assured me while scanning my groceries, “but you shop here all the time and I’ve seen pictures of your ‘boys’.” She emphasized the word boys by making air quotes with her fingers.
“Mmmmmmmm” I hummed back in response.
“I mean,” the cashier added, “you don’t know her. She just thinks your some crazy lady out shopping…”
“Lovely assessment of perceived mental health status,” I sighed. “Why am I the crazy one when she wasn’t paying attention?” I asked with outrage.
“It’s not you, its technology…” the casher reassured me.
“Yeah,” I sighed.
The cashier finished checking me out and I packed up. As I left the store, I found myself hoping that the lady from the line was not out in the parking lot. I just didn’t think that she would understand that Fred and Lamont are my children. Or that I love my boys that much. She wouldn’t understand that pets like guinea pigs are valuable members of my family. She didn’t even care enough to hear me say that they were guinea pigs. *sigh*