Two Overheard Conversations

On February 26, 2011 by Eden M. Kennedy

After school

First-grade boy standing in a mud puddle #1: Nail polish is for girls.

First-grade boy standing in a mud puddle #2: I put on nail polish once.

Boy #1: You did?

Boy #2: It was cool. It was red! I liked it.

Boy #1: (world turning upside down)

Boy #2: (realizing gender normativity must be restored) I only wore it for a day.

Boy #1: Then what happened?

Boy #2: It came off. Now I think nail polish is dumb.

Boy #1: My feet are soaked.

At the Post Office

Chatty Customer: I need to insure this package, I’m returning a ring!

Chatty Clerk: Oh, that’s too bad! You bought it online?

Customer: No, I bought it in the store. I buy all my jewelry [out-of-state].

Clerk: What’s wrong with it? Did it break?

Customer: No, it’s too big.

Clerk: Oh, so they’re going to resize it for you?

Customer: No, because of the design it can’t be resized, they’re just going to send me a smaller size.

Clerk: (confused) But did you try it on when you bought it?

Customer: Yes.

Clerk: Did it fit?

Customer: Yes.

Clerk: (confused)

Customer: It didn’t fit when I got home.

Clerk: (incredulous)

Customer: (flustered)

Clerk: (judgmental staring)

Customer: I need some stamps, too!



12 Responses to “Two Overheard Conversations”

  • Oh, I can remember the feeling behind that realization that you’ve revealed too much/ desperate need to bring a childhood conversation back into the constraints of normalcy so much it kind of hurts.

  • Maybe she’s going to use the stamps to pad the ring out and make it fit in order to stop the judging.

    • Hey, if they travel by plane out of state, they may have the same problem I have…swelling of the appendages. Especially fingers and ankles. Therefore, purchasing rings or ankle bracelets would be out, I would think. It can last a day or so.

      Or maybe they just drink a lot of alcohol on the plane….

  • I was waiting for the customer to explain how her fingers sometimes swell and shrink, BECAUSE THAT’S COMPLETELY NORMAL. Is it too personal to admit that sometimes human beings retain fluids?

    I love how people awkwardly change the subject when they get too close to falling off of some internal cliff. And how we figure out how to do that at such an early age.

  • Note to self: no need to fall off the internal cliff repeatedly. Change subject!

  • Oh how I find myself in that position all too often. I am usually so far in by the time I realize it has happened that I just pretend I don’t know what is going on. Later in the day I will find myself reliving the moment and feeling what I should have at the time and wishing I could just go back and start the day over.

    • I’ve never before seen anyone put that experience into words.This happens to me all of the time! That part where “I pretend I don’t know what’s going on.” For me it’s like teeny teeny tiny part of my brain sort of gets what’s going on, but the part that’s in control of what I’m actually saying/doing doesn’t exactly get it yet and just bulldozes ahead anyway.

  • My husband and I have a line that we use whenever a conversation is awkward (about, of all things, tire pressure). Now, I think I’m going to change it to, “My feet are soaked.”

  • Yeah, I usually say, “How ’bout them Lakers?” But, now I’m down with “My feet are soaked.”

  • This was very, very, very funny……. will laugh for a while.

  • Boy #1 c’est moi.

    I’m always putting my foot in it and backtracking due to the social dangers of that.

    The truth is that Boy #1 will be cooler someday but it’s always hard to be Boy #1.

  • My son’s older cousins did a full mani-pedi for him, when he was about 6: polka dots, daisies, multi-colored, the works. He ADORED it. When we got back from vacation, I had a horrible modern mommy moment: wanting him to revel in being “all fancy” (as he called it) but knowing that wearing fancy fingers to school would result in a lot of teasing. I took of the nail polish, but kept pedicure for a few more days, until he went to his karate class.
    And thus did I participate in creating/solidifying standard gender roles. Bad mommy, bad mommy.