Dear Carla Fran,

We celebrated the first day of spring with some friends, one of whom is pregnant. We went to a happy hour on the lake at a place I adore because it strives so strenuously for elegance, and the effect is more along the lines of Elegance with Ketchup, which might be my favorite kind. It has a gondola available for hire (complete with gondolier) should you decide, on a whim, to pretend that Oakland is Venice.

Anyway, two bewhiskered men of middle age at the next table interrupted us to ask our pregnant friend how pregnant she was. They had placed bets, they said, as if this explained something. Her husband couldn’t quite hear, but he leaned over the table, waving his hands in a worried way, and said “Don’t worry. She’s not drinking.” He said it loudly, over and over, pointing at her tiny thermos of chemical-free water. His doggedness made it clear to us all that this wasn’t the first time. Realizing that wasn’t what the conversation was about he turned back to us, confused. We pretended to talk. The man in the baseball cap observed that she was carrying low. The other remarked that she and her friend sitting next to her looked exactly alike. Were they twins? No? Sisters, then. Cousins? They were twins, right? (Both women were Asian.) No, my pregnant friend said, they weren’t anything but friends. “Are you sure? You must be twins or something!” said the one in the hat.

It got cold after that, and we went for burgers.




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