Saturday, December 24, 2016

Opt Out

I have escaped (a bit of) the New York winter and made it to Atlanta for the holidays. Alleluia! Too thrilled to reunite with people I love: my brothers and friends, and appreciating everything I had missed or overlooked, including the weather. We the North were freezing our tails off in single digit temperatures last week in New York, and these people down here are pulling out boots in 60F. What a joke. I wore my knee length dresses, with bare arms, calves and feet to a reunion last night, while my people scurried off to the car even while wearing "layers." Hilarity!

On getting here, it was not shocking to meet my crew (friends and acquaintances alike) all coupled up, married, engaged, and the ones who were not, were out of town, on business or had moved to other states, kind of like myself. Totally okay with it, not moved really, just genuinely happy to be back with them. We went to fancy Brazilian restaurants, birthday dinners, one of my friends had married and divorced and was engaged again, and I marveled at how different our paths and life choices were.

Anyway, I‘ve always been the girl who didn’t care much for typical girly banters, and easily slid in to gist with the fellas. However in the midst of young couples, guys and gals were having centered conversations. You know how the girls would start talking about a topic, and the guys would go off and talk sports for example? Yea, that seems to have changed, and suddenly both parties were merged and engaged in the same conversation. I had gone with my friend Alade* and her husband Seun* to visit another couple Tessa* and Tosin* at their home. Also newly-weds like Seun and Alade, Tessa and Tosin had a baby some three weeks ago. [Yea, this is also a snapshot of the stuff my Facebook newsfeed is made of these days.] Over a delicious fried chicken jollof rice, and red wine dinner, we got talking about buying and renovating homes, negative experiences at the African grocery store, being laid off at work etc. This soon moved on to Tessa telling about her recent childbirth experience, and how she had labored and pushed for four hours, after which the doctor would suggest switching gears and going in for a caesarean section. Her husband Tosin was present with her through the entire episode with her, and also shared his account of how much his wife and baby suffered. I just sat there half marveling, half shuddering - not really in equal proportions, cringing at the stories about epidural, numbness in the spinal cord and severe back ache side effects, and asking questions when I could find my tongue.

And then Seun, Alade's husband, who hadn't spoken much said, "You women are so strong, and that's why I thank God that pregnancy is not an option for us men. Even if it were, say we had to split the process 50-50, I will opt out ...." Without thinking twice, I replied, "Me too." Inwardly. LOL!

* - real names changed.

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