Friday, August 15, 2008

Yet Another Social Faux Pas

I say things I shouldn't say sometimes (okay, more often than sometimes but maybe not quite all the time...wait, how would you define "all the time"?). And then I feel badly about these slips of the tongue later. It isn't like I open my mouth intending to be rude. I just speak before thinking. I usually feel badly about these comments immediately after they escape my lips. I mean, these things could be interpreted as rude (yeah...probably because they are rude). Like, "I used to be soooo like you in college, all hippie-ish with my Tevas and thrift store t-shirts, except I did my hair still because with this curl it was just way too frizzy without product."

Yes, I really did say this, and that is something you just can't back out of once its been said. No matter how smoothly you might attempt to try and cover something like this up, truth is you basically told this person they are a badly dressed, greasy hippie with bad hair.

Or, while manning the wine table (the obvious job for the solo sober Sister at the event) at a poetry reading, telling your fine state's poet laureate's mother, "Oh, I guess I don't need to ID you."

What am I? A complete social idiot? (Don't answer that).

It doesn't end with the rude comments. Sometimes the words that flow out of me are just plain embarrassing. Like the time I attempted (key word: attempted) telling my guy-friend (that I might have been slightly attracted to at the time) "Don't worry about your basketball shorts and baseball hat attire. You are a guy and guys can get away with dressing down and still looking good." Except, my neatly laid sentences didn't exactly come to fruition. It all came out a bit quickly, sounding something along the lines of "YOU SO SEXY DRESS!"

Yes, the seconds (or hours, I'm still not sure how much time passed) following that little slip were as awkward as you might guess.

Well, last night Alice and I headed to a friend's wedding reception. And by wedding reception we might as well say "High School Reunion" because many folks from my school days were in attendance--all of them in Alice's grade. Let me create for you a One Act Play of these events and how, once again, my large, unthinking mouth, was rude.

The Characters (all names have been changed to protect the innocent):

Lisa A former student body officer/it-girl. Compared to her counterparts, Lisa has a heart of gold.

Alice If you don't know about my very best friend and roommate, well, go here. It will only give you further understanding.

Rookie The one with the size 8, perfeclty pedicured and well accessorized foot in her mouth.

The Scene:
An outdoor summer wedding reception. A circle of reunited high school friends stand with babies on hips and highlights in hair. On the edge of the stage stand two loners on the verge of escaping the scene.

Alice: Hurry, Rookie, block me before those girls see me.

Rookie: Block you?

Alice: And walk. Quickly.

Rookie: Okay. Hurrying along.

Lisa: (exiting the circle and approaching the two near-escapees) Alice!?

Alice: (coming to a complete "I'm caught" halt and turning) Oh, hi. Lisa! How are you?

Lisa: Good. I'm good. I haven't seen you in so long.

Alice: I know, I know. So what are you up to these days?

Lisa: 3 kids. Living in Tennessee. What about you?

Alice: Oh, not much. Living in _________ working as a social worker at _________. And, oh, I'm sorry, this is my friend, Rookie.

Rookie: Hi.

Lisa: Oh, I've seen you before, I think. You look familiar.

Rookie: (Imagine a slightly factual, mostly sardonic voice) Oh, we went to the same school together. (She flashes a fake smile).

Lisa: Oh, right. Well... Errr... Ummm...

The End

I know many people dream of the perfect put-you-in-your-place words coming to them at exactly the right moment (instead of waking you at three in the morning two days after the fact). This scene could be construed as one of those sweet revenge moments, I suppose.

But you know that scene in Hope Floats when Sandra Bullock's character goes into the hiring agency to try and find a job and Polka Dot interviews her? And she's left feeling even more lousy about herself because some witch from high school tried to get back at her for the years of torment? I felt sorta like a bitter Polka Dot at that moment, except that I didn't exactly intend to be rude. Now, in that moment I was thinking to myself "Dude, you seriously don't remember me? Of course you don't--wasn't exactly on your radar, now, was I." But instead of saying, "That's funny, you look really familiar to me too" like any decent person with a heart of gold might do, I went ahead and let my mouth run ahead of me. And while it was sort of funny for a minute, I'm feeling kind of awful about it today.

Because the truth is I don't think I can be trusted to speak.

I must face the facts. I am better in writing. With writing, I actually have time to think (very, very carefully) about my words. In person I just come across as an insulting witch (or blundering idiot, you decide on your favorite).


Wemdu said...

He he he!! Totally gross picture!!!

Blackeyedsue said...

I was totally proud of you when you said that.

Stine said...

That play took place at my reunion. It's scared me.

I pictured poles stuck to all your underwear and them all flying like flags in your living room. Maybe it's just me.

Rie Pie said...

I also have foot-in-mouth syndrome. We could talk.

Anonymous said...

You are definitely not alone. I actually avoid situations where I know I will not have anything good come to my "not so fast" mind, and in turn to my "way to quick" mouth. It sucks!!! Don't you hate those social butterflies that sound great where ever they are. So, not fair!!
I have dreamed of being one of those "BS" mouths, as I call them, that can talk their way through anything. Of course I don't know if I really would like to be that way.
Where did we get this crutch? Happy Socializing!!!! :(