My wife and I went out West this summer. We were in Portland, walking past a restaurant with tables on the sidewalk, and a man at one of the tables suddenly reached out his hand in my direction. "Man, you gotta protect her and that baby. You walk on the streetside." He dragged out the word “protect” so emphatically: pro-teckt. Maybe he was drunk. Maybe I should’ve been offended; the other people at his table seemed mortified, but I wasn’t. I stepped around my wife to walk between her and the street, and gave him a wave.
We walked on and continued with whatever conversation we’d been having, but I kept thinking about the exchange. Should my manhood have been insulted? Why had I never heard of or thought about the fact that I should walk between the street and my pregnant wife? Maybe because I know that if a car careened off the street and onto the sidewalk, no one would be standing over me and a crumpled car saying, “Thank God his body stopped the car!” Who am I, the Hulk? Still, it’s a nice thought, and I felt a little guilty for not having thought of it on my own. So, later that night, as we walked back to the car, past the same restaurant, I looked for my new friend. He looked up as we walked by, and I caught his eye, motioning to my body’s position between my wife and the street. “How am I doing?” I asked. He raised his glass and gave me a nod.
44 days until baby.