|This was a gift from my friend, Pat.|
Sadly, I am not this graceful and lithe
in pregnancy. But we can pretend.
For example, did you know that, as a pregnant woman, you are a natural target for beggars, chuggers*, buskers, punks, sellers of homeless magazines and fresh-faced young American men from the Church of the Latter Day Saints, sweltering in dark suits in the hot German sun? With the exception of the latter - whom I would really like to take home and give a glass of ice-cold lemonade to, bless their freshly-laundered socks - they descend upon me with expressions of fake-suffering plastered across their faces, waving magazines, clipboards and paper cups, looking - inevitably - for money. Because I am an expectant mother, I am clearly a soft touch: the ol' hormones have made me daft in the head and loosened my purse strings. My only defence is to steam down the pedestrian zone, waving them off with a "No, no, thank you. Not stopping. Nine months pregnant, thirty-degree heat, you don't want to talk to me today. Thank you!"
It usually works.
With the exception of one young man, who tried to block my path and get a euro off me. At least, that's what I figured he was looking for: hard to tell, because he was smoking a cigarette and swigging a Starbucks coffee. He got a ruder version of my standard tirade. He even got my Evil Eye, the look that withers house-plants, which made him shrink back into the shade and take a stiff gulp of overpriced coffee.
On a more positive note, I've also discovered that my roundiness seems to make me immune to all suspicion of crime. I could probably kidnap a bishop and escape in a stolen car, mowing down the swing-set in a children's playground along the way, and no one would even suspect me. Somehow, being pregnant has made me a better person: shop assistants no longer follow me around snooty shops, keeping an eye on me in case I'd filch some of their merchandise. Instead, they smile at me benevolently: "Ach, look at her, with her big bump and little skinny chicken legs! How could someone as pathetic-looking as that poor pregnant woman possibly swipe anything? Impossible!" As a pregnant lady, I am clearly above all of that kind of thing; I radiate innocence and good-will (or else it's the thin film of sweat I acquire whilst waddling around on my heat-swollen pins.) I mean, if I were criminally-inclined, I could wait till the baby's arrived, then make a fake pregnant stomach with a little pouch inside and go on a shop-lifting spree throughout Gingerbreadtown.
I won't, of course. But it doesn't stop me wondering if I could.
I must sadly report that my wonderings about crime set off a wave of negative karma in the universe, as I myself was a victim of a heinous crime this morning - someone stole the geranium out of the basket in front of my house. In broad daylight. Let me say that again, in a more outraged tone of font: someone swiped my geranium! So I've decided to stop contemplating a life of crime in case karma sends the thief back to rob the heather plant that's now sitting forlorn and alone outside my front door.
* chugger - in case you didn't know - is a brand-new word that entered the English language in 2002 and it refers to "charity muggers": the attractive youths paid to aggressively accost you with their clipboards and tales of third world woe in an attempt to get you to sign over your bank details and your first-born child.