This unexpected bumping came as quite a shock - partly because I was preoccupied with trying to choose between a painfully elegant cheeseboard and a painfully elegant tea towel (for the record, I chose the cheeseboard) and partly because I was trying to pretend I wasn't blistering in shoes one size too small for my post-pregnancy plonkers.
My friend appeared equally shocked to see me, but not because I was holding a cheeseboard (although I'm guessing it wasn't quite what he had in mind when he left the house for his lackadaisical weekend coffee-and-browse.) Rather, he was shocked to see me because I was a mother, and I was out of the house.
Before you load up the outrage cannon and sharpen the spears, let me clarify that my friend was not being sexist. He was not suggesting I throw the cheeseboard up in the air in shame and scurry home, nor was he suggesting I should exchange my bridal shower frock for an apron and spatula post haste.
No, my poor friend was simply acting under the influence of clueless, non-parent syndrome: a common and curious affliction which runs rampant through our circle of friends.
The syndrome is characterized by a complete lack of understanding about the realities of parenting, coupled with a willingness to help out and offer support. The combination of the two leads to a series of misjudged but well intentioned acts and behaviours which leave everyone a little frustrated.
Their affliction is not their fault - they are a wonderful bunch of not-quite-thirty professionals, but they still have their feet firmly planted on the safe side of the parenting bridge and have no way of knowing what parenting is all about.
Under the shadow of the clueless syndrome, they have been duped into thinking that parenting is a nightmare that swoops in low, consumes you whole and saps your will to do anything but parent for the remainder of your natural life.
They mistakenly believe my husband and I have been chained to our house, where we must change nappies and sing lullabies and apply teething gel until such time as the universe implodes or the baby grows up and finishes school and gets her own apartment.
The poor gaggle stare at us wiping baby kiss spittle from our chins as though we are a smeary window into their unavoidable futures, then quickly peddle their fixie bicycles to the pub to quell their sweat with a cold pear cider and trio of dips.
They inexplicably assume we can't go out to dinner anymore, can't leave the house after dark in case we turn into pumpkins, and can't drink even the smallest quantity of alcohol lest we miraculously spirit the spirits on the baby.
And, of course, they assume that as a mother I cannot possibly just leave the house without the baby to do something by myself and for myself for a few hours - especially not to do something as frivolous and absurdly normal as umming and aahing over a cheeseboard in a shop on a Saturday morning.
There seems to be no point arguing with the syndrome or trying to free my friends from its blinding clutches; their time will come, and they will see the light with the same joy that a mum sees the bottom of the laundry basket.
In the meantime, I'll continue to sip vodka and cranberry drinks and take the baby to restaurants and buy cheeseboards willy nilly - and enjoy the fireworks while I wait for them to join me on the dark side.
* Mumsnet Bloggers Network 'Blog of the Day' October 29 2013 *
photo credit: Ewan-M via photopin cc