Thursday, February 17, 2005

My Unhappy Happy Hour

I am tempted to write an entire "What Not To Say" post, but I think that the majority of people probably don't need to be told that behavior such as I'm about to share with you is not only beyond comprehension but beyond rude.

I was at a happy hour tonight where we were all toasting each other's various successes and joys in life. So the toasts came around to me and everyone started asking about the process of the adoption, yadda yadda. So I made some quick comment about how the homestudy was not as bad as I had anticipated, and how the social worker visits your house and checks you out. To which one of the women there responded, "Oh my god, they totally did that when I adopted my dog! They wouldn't let us take the dog from the shelter until they had done a home visit! I couldn't believe it! I totally understand how nerve racking that was for you because we were so nervous that they wouldn't give us the dog!"

You've got to be f*&&%%% kidding me with this, right?

What part of me telling you about my daughter reminds you of the time you rescued a DOG? If we were toasting my pregnancy, you wouldn't have jumped in with "Yay you're pregnant! And so is my dog!" The two things don't go together in the least. And yet me adopting my child is somehow comparable in your head to the time you adopted an ANIMAL? (Not that animals aren't valued and loved members of a family, but one generally does not equate a woman's childbirth--to her face--with a dog's litter of puppies.)

I just looked at her and gave one of those, "I think you may be speaking Urdu right now, because I have no comprehension of what you just said." Another woman across the table gave me a "wow" look, which made me feel better; like I'm not just being oversensitive. The conversation moved on, but I was irritated for the rest of the "happy" hour because she was so dumb that it clearly didn't occur to her what she had just said.

I turned it over and over in my mind, trying to figure out if it is the word "adopt," as in "adopt a highway," "adopt a poor family at Christmas," "adopt a pet" that created the equation in her mind. Then I thought it was "home study" or whatever. And then my friend L explained it perfectly: "Some people just like to talk about themselves and will take any opening in a conversation to create a connection that allows them to hijack it and point it towards themselves; it had nothing to do with her thinking your child is a dog or that you are "rescuing" her from a shelter. She just wanted to make the conversation all about her, since she wasn't getting toasted by anyone."

Amen. So I am now off my hyper-vigilant DefCon1 stance, but I still hope I know her when she decides to have kids. Because, you know, by then I'll have a dog... :)


Raine said...

My best advice would be to not worry about it. The woman was likely dropped on her head (repeatedly) when she was a child, and the combination of damage and pity-mongering has likely reduced her ability to be social, and logical.

Okay, well, that was kind of mean to people who actually are handicapped... but I feel it is kind of justified when somebody shows their social ineptitude by equating your soon-to-be adopted child, with their poor hound. It's either blatandly stupid, or she's suffering from some kind of delusion that puts her pets at the same level as small children.

All you'd need do to complete the illusion for her is to find one of those "adorable" child leashes, and then you can take you child and frou frou for walks together.

I'm kidding, really, by now it's beginning to sound a bit absurd. The underlying problems in people are often deep and mucky, best not left out in the open for too long. A good day and a good week for you, and I hope your remaining beaurocratic encounters go smoothly.

Over and out.

SquareSlant said...

"Some people just like to talk about themselves and will take any opening in a conversation to create a connection that allows them to hijack it and point it towards themselves" - I was so glad your friend said this...I was thinking the same thing when I read her comment.

My mother-in-law is like this. She does not know how to talk about anything other than herself. You could tell her 'my father is dying of cancer' and her reply would be - "My father died from a car wreck" then she would go on to tell you all about it, completely forgetting what you said.

It does not bother me anymore. Now I try to find things that she can't connect to herself - it has become a game for me - most of the time I lose - LOL!

Vigilante said...

Speaking as one of those who's often, in his mind, compared his dog to the children of others, but caught himself before voicing such a comparison: I am surmising how often your sensitivities and self-awareness probably rescues so many others (of us) from facing the consequences of our callous unconsciousness.