Sunday, 27 October 2013
Quid Pro Quo by Naomi Elana Zener
Fed up with gritting her teeth through another get together with her breeder friends, toting their newest fetal accessory, Trina decided that decisive action had to be taken. After having avoided their multiple requests for plans, turned down their token invitations to baby birthday parties given out of pity to their childless friend (just to get another gift for a cheap slice of cheese pizza) and screened calls from her friends for months, Trina was finally ready to emerge from the safety of her home’s womb and confront her friends with a renewed sense of purpose. Trina decided that she would join her friends in their moms and tots yoga class, as a means to test the waters with her newfound approach to combat her friends’ condescension and exclusion of her from their conversations, simply because they perceived her to be barren.
© 2013. Naomi Elana Zener. All Rights Reserved.
“And now, as we take our cleansing breath, give your practice an intention, something you can devote your spirit to, as…” the yoga instructor began.
“PFFFT!!” was heard, interrupting the meditative instruction.
Sympathetic eyes darted around the room searching for the mom of the gas-passing baby, so as to extend a look of knowing solidarity.
“Pardon me!” Trina exclaimed. “I must have had one too many wheatgrass shots before class and those Downward Dogs really loosen me up!”
Understanding gazes quickly transformed into hostile heat-seeking missile-like glares.
“That was disgusting!” cried Joan, one of Trina’s friends.
“Honestly, it stinks in here. My intention has been totally disturbed,” stated Annie, another so-called friend.
“Let me get this straight: farting is only acceptable when you thought it was an infant who broke wind?” Trina queried rhetorically.
“Passing gas publicly is offensive. As an adult, you should know better and excuse yourself politely and go to the bathroom,” Joan advised.
“Yet, it’s ok for babies to do it publicly,” Trina retorted. “And, what if I cannot make it to the bathroom in time because my flatulence did not give me a ten seconds heads up?”
“How can you expect a baby to excuse themselves to go to the bathroom? They can’t even walk!” Cassandra stated in shock, the third of Trina’s friends in the class.
“Oh, so I guess you all either trained your anuses how to fart on command or had your assholes surgically sewn shut once you entered toddlerhood?” Trina snapped.
“It is just so uncouth and impolite,” Cassandra replied.
“Can we get back to class?” the yoga instructor requested impatiently. The group quickly bowed and gave a most solemn ‘namaste’ bow in apologetic humiliation for their friend’s rude interruption before transitioning into Cobra.
Mentally, Trina conceded that she had lost this battle, but remained determined to win the war. Yoga class was always accompanied by a customary latte chat session and, as luck would have it, it was Trina’s turn to treat everyone. Once all of the triple foam, low-fat, whipped delights were ordered and received, and breasts canopied so that Cassandra, Joan and Annie could allow their babes-in-arms to imbibe on their mamas’ milkshakes, Trina sat down resolved to upset the applecart.
“So, did any of you read about the HIV positive men that may have been cured by bone marrow transplants?” Trina inquired.
“I did read that,” Annie advised. “How incredible that Harvard researchers may have found a cure for AIDS! Just think of what this means for future generations and how sexual relations will be affected.”
Finally, some adult conversation that did not revolve around the colour of junior’s spit up, Trina thought excitedly.
“I am definitely getting myself and my kids vaccinated against AIDS,” Cassandra stated emphatically.
“Me too!” Joan advised.
“I think you misunderstood the news report,” Trina suggested. “There’s no vaccine. The two men received bone marrow transplants, not a vaccine.”
“Trina, I think you misunderstood what you read. But, since you’re not a parent, I don’t expect you to understand how diseases are prevented,” Annie offered. “Vaccines prevent diseases. Bone marrow transplants are for cancer patients.”
“You don’t need to have kids to know about how vaccines work. And, again, there is no vaccine in this case. Google it!” Trina suggested. “Out of curiosity, you are willing to run out and vaccinate your kids against AIDS with a non-existent vaccine, but yet you refuse to give your children their routine childhood vaccinations?”
“AIDS kills! Of course I am going to vaccinate,” Annie replied.
“So do polio, measles and diphtheria, but you refuse to protect your kids against those diseases,” Trina retorted.
“Yes, but Jenny McCarthy and everyone says that vaccines cause certain developmental diseases that shall not be named,” Joan whispered. Cassandra and Annie nodded their heads in agreement.
“You are going to take the word of a former MTV bikini reporter over medical science?” Trina stated.
“She is on The View now,” Annie offered.
“I’m guessing that since your babies are not actually fornicating yet with unsavory sexual partners, or engaging in unprotected sex, or haven’t yet become IV drug users, AIDS is not really something that needs to be on your radar,” Trina explained ignoring Annie’s comment. “Yet, they do live in the real world and by virtue of breathing the shared air in the communal space they inhabit with others, they could acquire diseases against which they were not vaccinated. But, that doesn’t scare you?”
“You’re forgetting that because other parents choose to take the risk to vaccinate, my kids are protected against those diseases even without being vaccinated themselves,” Cassandra replied.
“Right, because at six months old AIDS is a bigger threat than mumps!” Trina bellowed.
“We don’t expect you to understand the ‘herd’ approach to vaccination since you’re not a mom,” Joan offered. “How can you understand the horrible physical and developmental side effects that vaccines could have on innocent children?”
“No, I only hold three graduate degrees, can read and write ever since I evolved from monkeys, and understand English,” Trina spat.
“Oh my god, would you look at what that woman is wearing in Starbucks!” Annie whispered trying to change the topic, as she pointed to a woman wearing booty shorts with fishnet stockings and Doc Martens.
“What a slut!” Annie cried loud enough for the woman to hear.
“And did you see her facial piercings?” Joan offered.
“I tell you, if my daughter ever wore that she would be grounded!” Cassandra announced.
“I see young girls, as young as eight, walking down the street or through the mall dressed like sluts all of the time,” Trina added.
“God Trina, you can’t call a girl a slut! ” Cassandra exclaimed.
“Seriously, that is so anti-feminist. It’s comments like those that encourage a rape culture where the victim is blamed for what she is wearing,” Annie stated.
“You just called that woman a slut!” Trina cried. “How is that ok, but when the word is used in relation to a kid’s more than inappropriate attire it is completely offside?”
“You cannot call a kid a slut. You’re not a mother, so you just don’t understand,” Annie explained. “An adult making choices can be held accountable, but a child can’t.”
“But, you just finished saying that such rhetoric encourages a rape culture. Isn’t it worse that a child is dressed in the same inappropriate attire, for which you vilified an adult woman, which was bought and paid for by that child’s parents?” Trina asked.
“That’s not right either, but calling a young girl a slut is wrong. Remember, two wrongs don’t make a right!” Joan explained.
“Let’s talk about something a little less controversial,” Cassandra suggested. “Ladies, how do you stand the leakage? I get so humiliated when it happens in public.”
“I know! I feel like everyone is looking at me and that I am the butt of a joke!” Annie added.
“Um, how can anyone tell if you are leaking?” Trina asked.
“Are you serious? It is so obvious,” Joan replied.
“Maybe to you, but I know that when it happens to me, while I might feel a twinge of embarrassment, no one can see anything or actually knows that it’s happening,” Trina explained.
“I don’t think we are talking about the same thing,” Cassandra advised. “You don’t have a baby, so how can you suffer from leakage?”
“Every woman who has sex suffers from it if they don’t use a condom! You don’t need a kid for that to happen,” Trina explained.
“Ew, gross!” Annie cried. “We are talking about breasts leaking milk!”
“Oh, right. Well, of course everyone can see that!” Trina laughed. “I thought you were talking about semen leaking post-sex.”
“Trina, you are being completely inappropriate!” Joan admonished. “That is not something you should ever be discussing in public. Maybe, not even in private.”
“But, your lactating breasts are acceptable topics for public consumption?” Trina asked rhetorically. “Nice double standard.”
“You know Trina, you just don’t get it. Maybe if you have kids one day you will realize that certain topics become off limits,” Annie instructed.
“Especially around babies!” Cassandra cried.
“Right, because your infant understands what we are saying!” Trina shrieked.
“Babies have a huge capacity for understanding language! You shouldn’t underestimate them,” Annie advised. “I think that I speak for all of us when I say that you should not hang out with us anymore. It’s not personal, but we don’t live your freewheeling single barren lifestyle, and what you may think is ok, just doesn’t work for us anymore. You’re just in a selfish place and we aren’t.”
“Because not vaccinating your kids while preying upon the vaccinations of others due to your erroneously held beliefs, which are based on a discredited fraudulent study for which the doctor lost his medical license, is not selfish. Putting the immunosuppressed, elderly, kids too young for scheduled vaccinations and other preggo breeders like yourselves, by not vaccinating your kids is not selfish. Better still, by allowing junior to marinate in his own shit for hours, forcing everyone else here – yes I am directing this comment to you Annie – to smell it while we drink our lattes because you ran out of your super granola organic cloth ‘everything-free’ diapers, is not selfish. Pampers only works for the majority of the planet and is readily available at the pharmacy next door, but compelling everyone to nasally absorb the scent of your son’s feces is not selfish. Heaven forbid that the chemicals in Pampers alter one neuron in your six month-old’s brain, blighting his chances of getting into Harvard, where two men may have been cured of HIV by a bone marrow transplant and not a vaccine, notwithstanding the fact that having you as an idiot for a mother is a greater obstacle to his acceptance than anything else in seventeen and a half years from now. All of you can go fuck yourselves and the sanctimonious sperm you rode in on!” Trina wailed so the entire coffee house could hear. “And, for the record, I am expecting my first in six months from now, so I do understand a thing or two about what raising kids is all about!”
Joan, Annie and Cassandra sat in silence, dumbfounded for all of one minute, but for what felt like an eternity, as Trina collected her things to leave. Before being able to make a clean get away after what Trina perceived to be a triumphant closing argument, Cassandra grabbed hold of Trina’s wrist, leaving Trina to expect a tight slap across the face.
“You’re pregnant?!” the three women shrieked in elated unison.
“We cannot wait to tell you everything we know about raising kids!” Annie exclaimed.
“You are so lucky to have us as your friends!” Joan stated as Cassandra and Annie hugged a crying Trina.