Saturday, 30 January 2010

The Art of Putting Ones Foot in Ones Mouth. By Me.

I am, without a shadow of a doubt, The Queen of the faux pas. The Doyenne of the indiscreet blunder. The Grande Dame of the social fuck up.

The filter located somewhere between my brain and my mouth periodically becomes faulty. Alcohol was frankly never much of a help, but even reliably tee-total things can sometimes (quite often actually) go awry.

Lets see... examples. Well there was the time when I was helping the p.t.a. mothers prepare for the village fete, and I let out a large sigh and complained rather loudly that I felt like a Stepford wife. (I was joking, I thought perhaps they might see the funny side - apparently not). One of them almost inhaled her coffee, which necessitated her having to be violently thumped on the back by her friend, who then went on to fix me with a 'Good god, you could have killed her' death stare for the rest of the afternoon. And then there was the time I declared to a new-ish friend that I wasn't really interested in using homeopathy to treat Middle Sons ailment, because if I was going to use any sort of medicine, I would much prefer it to be one that had a modicum of evidence to support its efficacy. Only to need the loo five minutes later and find a large assortment of Nelsons remedies neatly lined up on her bathroom shelf. Shit. Fortunately she did see the funny side (my how we laughed) and we are now close friends. Oh, and then of course there was the time I was chatting to my neighbour about how unspeakably tacky those awful inflatable santas were in so and sos garden, only to realise.... (deep breath) yep. And so on and so on, you get the idea.

My most recent gaffe occurred when I was out for a rare, and much looked forward to, Day By Myself. (I was by myself for chrissakes - even when let out alone I can still somehow manage to alienate somebody somewhere, such is the scope of my talent.) The weather was sunny and breezy, the air smelt wonderful, and I was happily making my way down the street in one of my favourite places in the whole world, anticipating a few lazy hours spent browsing round the second hand book shops, and sitting outside a cafe with a cold drink, to people watch and look at the new books I had bought myself.

Somewhere along the street I happened to walk past a busker, and so paused to fish around in my purse to find some money to put in his guitar case. I made a point of smiling and saying thank you - I like buskers, music on the street is always a good thing - and this particular mans music seemed perfectly to enhance the already pleasant spring atmosphere that abounded.

I don't know... perhaps I said thank you rather too pointedly, because he immediately coughed nervously, and interrupted his singing to say, 'Oh yes, er..sorry, er..thank you'. I walked on for a couple of seconds feeling ever so slightly puzzled, and then the penny dropped. Aarggh. He thought my thank you had been sarcastic. He thought it had been an admonishment, for failing to thank me properly for the measly one pound or so I'd tossed in his case, kind of like you might hiss, 'And what do you say?'to a small child who had forgotten to thank a slightly scary relative for their 'educational' Christmas present. I almost stopped for a split second to go back, but remembering my closely related talent for digging myself into even deeper holes, decided against it. I carried on my merry way, cheeks red with the acceptance that he would just now think that I was some ghastly woman with a habit of throwing her spare change at people and expecting them to grovel in eternal gratitude.

Ho hum.


  1. Hi,
    I'm a busker in NYC. I just wanted to tell you that whenever people do say 'thank you' to me - it makes me very happy. I think maybe the busker you encountered was just surprised, because nobody before has ever thanked him. You probably made his day because you treated him like a human being and he was so used to people ignoring him or treating him like a lesser being. So - don't beat yourself - I think you did a good thing!

    All the best,

    Saw Lady

  2. I suffer from the same foot in mouth syndrome. Frequently. So, you're not alone at least.

  3. Love this!

    I can frequently be found with my foot in my mouth. Oh like the time I shouted at a 'boy' for being in the girl's bathroom at work, when it was, in fact, a very butch girl.

    In my defence, I was new... and she was VERY butch.

    Have used this post as a prompt for the writing workshop. Hope that is ok?


  4. More than o.k! Am honoured that you would use it as a prompt for the writing workshop. Can't wait to see the results. Will definitely have a thorough read through in the interests of having a good laugh, ahem NO no, I meant of course in the interests of feeling slightly better about my affliction. (Scuttles off to make tea).

  5. Stopped by after seeing this as a prompt at Josie's workshop...very funny! You may have inspired me.

  6. So, so funny. This made me laugh out loud, I had bad a case of this last weekend, I might use it as a prompt too x

  7. Very funny,I suffer from the same thing!!