Act I. Last year at the deli across the street from my office where I am friendly with the Hispanic guys who work behind the counter:
Deli guys (in Spanish): Hola, how are you today? How’s your husband?
Me: Good. Actually we are separated.
Deli Guys: Oh, you mean you don’t work together anymore?
Me: No, like we are no longer together anymore.
Deli Guys: Oh, like you have a different schedule?
Me: NO. Like we don’t live together anymore.
Deli Guys: Oh, ha-ha I thought you were saying that you weren’t together anymore. Ha-ha.
Me: THAT IS WHAT I WAS SAYING. WE ARE NOT TOGETHER ANYMORE. ( I am shouting and people are uncomfortable)
Deli Guys: (Nervous feet shuffling). You are not going to cry are you?
Me: No, I am not going to cry. Can I have a chicken burrito please? He and I are still friends.
Deli Guys: (Complete silence and awkward smiles abound, while the Korean owner stares completely confused)
Act II. On the way in to my doctor’s office, I run into an old friend of my father’s:
Me: Hi, Mr.X! I haven’t seen you in a long time.
Mr. X: Ah, um, yes, I heard you got d-i-v-o-r-c-e-d. How’s that going for you?
Me: Well, that was last year, so I’m doing fine now… thanks. (I heard you lost your pension and your wife has breast cancer, but I’m more polite than you so I’m not going to fucking bring it up in the first conversation I have had with you in well over a year.)
Mr. X: Soooo, your brother is a happily married man now, huh?
Me: Um, yeah, I guess you didn’t hear. They broke it off.
Mr. X: My, your family! Well, I guess it’s better that they decided to call it off before they made a HUGE MISTAKE. (Like the huge mistake you made this morning when you rolled out of bed and decided to leave all THREE of the buttons on your shirt undone and expose me to that thorny wilderness of gray hair protruding from your raggedy old chest? Like that kind of mistake?)
Is the divorce rate really over 50% in this country? Because from the mind boggling range of reactions I have received over the past year since I got divorced, you would think that I had contracted leprosy. It’s not to say that divorce is not hard or sad. But, the only thing that I can imagine comes close to having someone ask you how you feel about getting divorced is how a pregnant woman would react if someone lifted up her shirt and rubbed his face all over her pregnant belly. Except these people are trying to rub their faces all over my feelings. Does that make sense? Totally inappropriate, am I right?
So, the next time you feel the urge to rub your face over someone’s pregnant belly, think of me and check yo self.