Sunday, February 19, 2006

and i think to myself, what a blunderful world

Ever have a weekend where you feel like almost every time you open your mouth, your foot gets wedged just a little bit deeper into the gaping maw?

I attended an absolutely lovely bridal shower and spa-morning bachelorette party this weekend. The entire event was outstandingly planned and executed, and I thought that the outcome could not have been more perfect.

However, I repeatedly had the sinking sensation that accompanies my having said the absolutely most wrong thing possible to issue forth from my vocal cords.

I have this feeling quite often, particularly around people whom I do not know well. The shower guest list comprised a number of women my age with whom I share a graduating class (and, in most cases, alma mater) and so that felt fairly comfortable. The list also comprised several mothers and their contemporaries, and here's where I felt like a total clod.

I used to be good with parents. As an only child, most of my "family time" consisted of being with my parents, my maternal grandparents, and various great-aunts, -uncles, and -cousins who lived in the St. Louis area. I never had any problem whatsoever holding my own in conversation -- or so I thought.

Now I realize that perhaps they were just indulging my idiosyncrasies.

It's not that I was reduced to a babbling fool this weekend. It's just that I seemed to have a tough time identifying who I am ("I'm Leigh. I live in Portland." {blank stare}). The silence upon my introducing myself to the elder generation quickly became deafening, and from that point onward, I slid down an increasingly steep and slippery slope.

I have this knack. It is not a knack I advise anyone to acquire. Rather, it is a knack for somehow saying the least appropriate thing at just the moment when everyone is listening, and not being able to extricate myself from the situation.

Unfortunately for the purposes of elaboration, my brain has blocked all the instances of this knack-in-action from the weekend. But in an attempt to clarify, it works somewhat thusly:

1) Listen to conversation.
2) Decide upon comment to insert into conversation.
3) Scan information banks in brain for witty, intelligent phrasing.
4) Get stuck on least witty, most imbecilic phrasing possible.
4a) Tell self, "Do not say what you are currently thinking."
5) Say it.
6) Receive slightly odd looks and silence.
7) Listen to conversation resuming as though comment never occurred.
7a) Wish you were under the table.

A fairly tame example would come from when I informed Dick's mother that I knew him slightly in college because "he played in the G&S orchestra, you know" and then promptly forgot the name of his instrument.

"Uh, well, my blockmate also plays" Hello, Mrs. Lady! Clearly I am a dear friend of your son, what'shisname!

Believe it or not, that was the least embarrassing slip of the day. There was also the extended series of describing Lazy Sunday (i.e., "The Chronic-what?-cles of Narnia!") to Mrs. Freed at the spa today. Lyette, you rock, but...I'm a dip. Maybe a crazy delicious! dip, but a dip nonetheless.

Time for me to ask the hub to get out that thing he plays, you know, with the strings and the pick, to make me feel better.

(And don't fear; the weekend really was fantastic, and when I'm over my self-conscious idiocy, I'll go into details about all the awesome parts. Particularly the cookbook, which more and more I'm thinking is a total must-have.)


Jim said...

This is actually a well-documented phenomenon. The medical term is foot-in-mouth disease. We are both carriers, so rest assured our children, while brilliant, will be capable of the most staggeringly egregious verbal faux pas.

Leigh said...

Funny, you.

Terrifying. But funny. Hee.