Monday, December 01, 2014

The Weird Things We Say

Sometimes I feel like I have a pretty easy time of letting go weird things people say because I have experienced so many awkward interactions with them and I'm aware (but usually too late) of how something I said could easily have been misinterpreted. I guess I'm thinking in terms of potentially being offended.  Now, I am offended by some things, but when it comes to weird crap that's said by some, I'm usually just entertained, and try to give the benefit of my doubt. (I'm trying to change up that phrase but it's really sounding like nonsense to me. I'm trying to break it up to understand it but ???  Benefit..of the..doubt. Say wha?)

As for the experiences, a couple stand out in my mind. These are recent events and I really should do a better job of keeping an awkward interactions log because I really do delight in them, as I have come to love and revere the awkward hug.  (time to bring back that gem)

This first one took place soon after Julian and I arrived at my parents' house this summer. My mom had a spare razr scooter and determined to still get out and do stuff even though it appeared we'd entered a residential ghost town where the sidewalks are merely for show, we took it to a nearby park (parks--also for show).  After a few turns and a really decent knee scrape, we made our way home in the sweltering heat.

On the way we passed by a kid's birthday party wrapping up. The grandpa was working a snow cone machine and hollered to us, "Snow cones! Get your snow cones here!"  *SCREECH* went our brakes and we turned back.  His adult daughter was with him. Let's call her Jamie. We'll just call Grandpa "Grandpa." Here's how it went down:

JEN, attempting to be grateful and friendly: Thanks! This is so great!
JAMIE: Yeah, come on over and choose your flavor.  We have blue or gray..."
JEN laughing: Mmmm... gray..!  :D

While she prepped one, I chatted with Grandpa.  Then...

JAMIE: Ok, Julian. you can choose blue raspberry or grape.. or there's a red one here.."

JEN: Oh, grape! I thought you said 'gray..'  ha ha.

JAMIE:   silence. 

JEN (not ready to let go):  that's funny...

JAMIE: Oh, yeah that's funny (but mostly crickets chirping)
Then it was my turn to choose.
JEN: um... red? oh wait, was there red? (I couldn't see in the box very well)
JAMIE: Oh yeah, there's Tiger's Blood.
JEN, (enthusiastically): Tiger's Blood! Oh man! Is there any other flavor??
(meaning, it's the quintessential snow cone flavor, right? Right?? Classic! But...)

JAMIE and GRANDPA:  No, that's all we have.
UHHHHHH... yeah.  So i had to quickly explain, "No, no, i mean, it's the best flavor. Yes, that is great. Thank you. THANK YOU!"  once again so they didn't think I was an ungrateful jerk-stranger.

A snow cone snob. As if! -- "Uhh... do you have any other flavors? because i'm not eating that. I only eat organic snow cone."

Ha ha!  Ohhh man. So good. They didn't really respond to my efforts but oh well, I really tried my heart out.

Here's the second example:

At Kindergarten pick-up.  Standing outside his classroom waiting for the bell to ring. Weeks prior, it had been an early out day (EVERY Monday? For real??) and I had forgotten. I was in the middle of sweaty panic-shopping in the middle of a gargantuan suburban supermarket when I got the call from his school. AAGH, I felt terrible.  I had to have my sis pick him up and everything.

Well, turns out it's not all bad.

a) when i arrived home shrieking, "Julian, my BABY, I'm so sorry!" he simultaneously said, "Mom, I'm SO SORRY I forgot to remind you it was an early out day!"  like it was all his fault. *Jen sobs even harder*

and b) he told me he made a friend at the office, a little girl named, we'll call her Adele, whose mom had also forgotten.  And thus the tots bonded.

So whilst waiting at school pick-up another day, I met a woman who was, turns out, Adele's mother. When I heard this I exclaimed, "Oh, ADELE!" since it was a big deal that Julian had made a friend (dude takes his time) and explained how the two had met.  She held similar feelings of guilt over the whole "forgetting our kids" thing.  I was also laughing about it and shrugged and said, "well.. it'll probably happen again."  She replied, in a somewhat affronted tone, "I hope not!"  I thought it was a bit much and my mental reply was like, well, i might. so deal with it, lady.  It wasn't until much, much later that i realized she thought i was telling HER that she would probably forget her daughter again when really i was referring to myself. Ha ha! As if!  I loooove these moments of total misunderstanding because it paints me in such an absurd light. I love imagining me saying these things in that context.  

"you'll probably forget your kid again because i know everything about you in the 2 minutes we've talked and you are a bad mom." 

It could drive a person crazy, knowing that someone out there thinks something that's just totally false. But you know what, this has happened SO many times in my life, i have no choice but to let it go. For one thing, it amuses me just so much so there's definitely a trade-off.  And for another, it is a great lesson for me, to remember to give people the benefit of the doubt when they say weird crap, because of the past bucket-full of mine.

Anyone else have experiences like this? They're so good. Please share.


Brett said...

Happens all the time. Well, I should say, it used to happen. My self-deprecating humor was possibly misinterpreted so often that I've started talking less, or talking only about clearly obvious, unmistakable things like "that rock over there," or "there sure is some weather, today." (You MUST be generic about the type of weather, because some people like it hot and dry, others humid, and still others cloudy, sunny, rainy......Too much risk if you get specific. (And, yes, the redundancy of "clearly obvious" is necessary because, to my disappointment, some people miss the humor of the "obvious" and do take it personal and think you are talking to them when as a complete stranger chatting it up for 1-2 minutes you say, "It'll probably happen again" as you pointed out. It happens far too often.

I feel like I have to immediately explain my joke, just in case so I don't hurt feelings, and as a result KILL the joke. Now I'm just some guy that unexpectedly explains humor–"and who does he think he is, thinking that I can't tell joking when I hear it....." and round and round we go.

)en said...

Ha ha! I don't know, though. Does it really kill the joke? It may in the moment, but I like to think that some jokes are just too good to go left un-explained. (see today's post)

You have to be free to joke how you want, talk about any kind of weather you want. If people misunderstand, they misunderstand. But at least you're staying true to your joke, brett. It's about integrity.