One last note about Lisbon:
On our first night at the festival, N mentioned that he’d discovered an area reserved for pregnant women on the festival grounds. This was sort-of funny, and strange, but R was pregnant, so it was probably worth checking out. Which we did. The “pregnants” (as the Portuguese called them) were permitted to bring a guest into the reserved area, which had an upper deck that had a pretty good view of the main stage. But since it wasn’t particularly busy on the first night of the festival, they permitted D and me to enter with N and R.
N and R appeared to be taking this whole affair somewhat seriously, while D and I found it mostly hilarious. But we did have a pretty good view of The Stone Roses. The night had become a bit chilly, and at some point, the host organisation distributed fleece lap blankets to the women assembled. What a nice gesture!
However, once the blankets had been given out, one of the…hall monitors?…started snapping photos. I didn’t think the rest of our party noticed, I but I sure did. I immediately turned my back on the photographer. There was no way in hell I was going to wind up in the marketing materials for some Portuguese insurance company, posing as a pregnant woman. That was the last thing I needed.
A few moments passed; the camera stopped flashing. We discovered that The Stone Roses sounded pretty bad, and N and R decided to leave. D wanted to stay, so he commandeered R’s blanket, and he and I stuck around — there was no reason to leave the My Mom Rocks! section. We were already there, weren’t we?
Finally, our ears began to bleed, and we, too, decided to leave. I had noticed that, as people left, they were turning in their lap blankets. There was no way I was turning mine in. First, it was a perfect, light-weight fleece blankie. Second, I had always ascribed to my Auntie Carol’s idea of “OPI” — other people’s ickies — and God only knows what kind of germs were adhering to those blankets that they were obviously going to redistribute. Like pregnant women didn’t have germs! By keeping it, I was doing someone a favour.
So while D gathered himself to leave, I quickly shoved my blanket into my tote, and made him turn his (formerly, R’s) blanket into the hall monitor. We made a quick exit, stopping at the toilet on the way out (who passes up the opportunity to use a private toilet at an outdoor concert?!) There was another hall monitor waiting in that general area with hand-wipes — this time, a dude. And that fellow wanted to have a chat with me about my pregnancy.
We do this as a VIP treatment for the pregnants. Have you been very sick? You do not look very far along.
Oh. Yes. Very sick. Not very far along at all.
You and your husband must be very happy.
The blanket was bad enough. By virtue of that conversation, I was going to hell. Finally, we made our escape.
As we walked through the general riff-raff to leave the concert, I said: You know he asked me about my pregnancy! I was horrified. D snorted at me, unfazed by the transaction. I think he was mostly pleased by the My Mom Rocks! services.
Whatever. I took the blanket. I huffed.
What do you mean, you took the blanket? We turned it in.
No, you turned in R’s blanket. I kept mine. I grinned, and opened up my tote, to reveal the pink blanket. It was his turn to look horrified.
I can’t believe you did that!!
We made it back to the hotel, said goodnight, and retired to our respective rooms, not without him making a crack about our imaginary child.
Out of curiosity, when I got back to New York, I engaged in some heavy google-stalking of the company hosting the services for the “pregnants” at the festival. Given my recent spate of ultra-bizarre travel experiences, I had a sneaking suspicion that my mug was plastered on some website, somewhere, with My Mom Rocks! beside it.
Yep. There it was. The photo of those two handsome families — me with my back turned — right there on the organisation’s Facebook page.
I am now not sure who the bigger joke was on — them, or me. I may have made it out with their blanket, but my blonde chignon is captured for Portuguese posterity as the misleading backside of rockin’ maternity. You can’t even see R, who was the one who was actually pregnant!
To recap, in the past 8 weeks, I have been carried through Schipol Airport by a mad Dutch woman; I have been tucked into bed as turndown service in London; and I am now posing as pregnant on a Portuguese website.
Forget the debt crisis. I cannot tell if I am having my own European crisis, or if I win at life.