Sunday, October 31, 2010

Pregnant? Old?

So, the other day, Sarah and I are waiting in line to buy groceries. I think everyone in Huancayo had the same idea... to go and buy grocieries at exactly the same time, making about 15 check-out lines with about 25+ people in each one! Billy left us in line in the store while he went off to the bank. We waited, and waited, and waited, and waited... We watched other people (a favorite grocery store activity), we chatted with some folks standing around us, and we waited some more... Finally, we arrived at the front of the line. It was finally our turn!

As I began to reach into my cart and put things on the counter, the check-out girl says, "Are you pregnant?" Okay, now I don't have to tell any North American that THAT IS NOT A CULTURALLY ACCEPTABLE QUESTION! You don't ask any woman if she is pregnant, no matter how round or tired or frazzled she might be! Then I thought, "Maybe I didn't hear her correctly. Maybe my translation skills are too tired today." So I tried to clarify - "Excuse me? What did you ask?" Again she asks, "Are you pregnant?"

So now I'm feeling pretty pitiful. I mean, come on! I've been watching my intake and I've been doing my Rodney Yee yoga and my Jillian Michaels Shred... how on earth could this woman think that I'm pregnant? On top of that, I'm obviously past normal child-bearing years. I don't love to admit it, but I even have gray hair! I have two college-age sons. Let's get real here!

"No, I'm not pregnant," I say to the teenaged checker. So she replies, "Well, you're not old and you're not pregnant, so you need to leave my line." At this point, I am totally confused and thinking that there is obviously a big communication breakdown. "Pardon me?", I say again. "I don't understand."

So she points to the sign that I hadn't noticed (maybe because I had been standing in lines with hundreds of other shoppers who are also 5 feet tall - maybe that's why we didn't see the sign that hangs about 15-20 feet above our heads!!! - Just saying, it's tough being "altitude-challenged"!) The sign reads that this checkout line is for Pregnant people and Old people. After reading the sign, I looked back at her and said, "Seriously? I didn't see the sign. Do I really have to change lines after waiting all this time?" Yes, she was serious...

When Billy returned to the store to try to find us, he was a bit confused to find us in another line and STILL waiting to check out. He was even more confused when I announced to him that, "I'm not pregnant! Neither am I old!" His face was priceless!
Just another fun day in Peru... :)


Cathi Duggan said...

Thanks for making me laugh...I needed it today!


Sue said...

What a great story! Cultural gotta love 'em!

Steve and Shannon Mersinger said...

that is hilarious! we have those here too... the first time we went shopping, i took steve through one and we just acted dumb (well, we kinda WERE DUMB). but the lady felt sorry for us, so we got by :)