By Cherimie Crane Weatherford
As thin as the fading line may be between self-restraint and self-discipline, there is still a line. Discipline is one of my oldest and dearest friends, always arriving in times of doubtful disdain making difficult decisions less of an evil acquaintance. Discipline, although not my most gregarious of friends, rarely steers me astray. Leaving me often with moments of frustration, it protects me from days, months, even years of regret. Self-discipline keeps me on track faithfully to whatever endeavor I presently pursue whether or not I am particularly excited about the task at hand. We all have that faithful friend that is quick to correct and slow to move.
Self-restraint is as familiar to me as the geographical features of Jupiter. It requires a quickness of tact that eludes me at will. In my finest moments, I still fail to summon restraint in even the simplest of situations. In my case, restraint-requiring moments seem mainly to nestle comfortably in the realm of spoken and written communication. Maybe it is genetics. Possibly it is my fiery disposition or blame could fall gently on regional heritage. Regardless of origin, self-restraint is absent among my personal traits.
My most recent of restraint-less encounters was at a gas station. Not my normal social scene, however, vehicles require fuel and gas stations are an obvious solution. Enthralled with the mundane task of lifting the nozzle, my intense focus was interrupted by a gentleman wishing to discuss my now obvious physical state of pregnancy. Hearing the voice of my Mother reminding me to be kind and mannerly, I refrained from allowing my freely flowing hormones to run amuck. Instead I put on my best “I am listening but I refuse to look interested” face and smiled politely at his comments. This was a massive strategic fail as it did nothing to deter the awkward conversation.
Realizing both my tank and my patience had reached capacity, I tried earnestly to discontinue the conversation. I smiled politely (thanks Mom) at the advice on diet, nodded intently at the lengthy commentary about harrowing accounts of delivery and even agreed that maybe I shouldn’t be pumping my own gas as at that very moment — I could not agree more.
Shortly thereafter my lack of self-restraint reared its ugly head yet again. Not only was this gentleman making me oddly uncomfortable but he was also interrupting whatever extremely important commercial the gas station was blasting out of the new and obviously expensive communicative pump. Everyone has their limit.
Self-discipline keeps me from running every time I am cornered with the onslaught of new mom advice, reminds me that most diatribes of diapering techniques come from a very sincere place, and at times keeps me from eating the entire box of cupcakes; however, my dear friend discipline runs right out of jurisdiction when it comes to awkward stranger-related discussions.
In my humble, yet emphatic, opinion, discussions of breast feeding require a certain familiarity or professional resume, not the commonality of unleaded versus premium. Certainly this inquisition had the best of intent and it could be that somewhere along his path he found this to be a welcomed discussion.
For fear that my sweet daughter may somehow find her way through Google in the years to come, I refrain from sharing my complete dialogue. It is likely she will share her mother’s deficiency of self-restraint in the speech department, but should she be blessed with her father’s tact, I will spare her the details. Some things just aren’t meant to be discussed near diesel, y’all, especially not with a pregnant woman with a fiery disposition.