The other day, Hoss wrote about small talk:
Engaging in small talk as you wait in line for a movie or to shop can be very interesting, and it certainly helps to pass the time quickly. There is a caveat, however.
Hoss's story got me to thinking about the time my friend (the one I have previously referred to as the psychic vampire) was in the grocery with three boys. As children often do, they were really trying her patience in the store; running around, yelling and asking for candy and toys. At the end of her rope after a long, hard day, she nearly lost it. To keep from saying or doing something that might hurt the kids and get her in trouble with the authorities, she put her head down on her arm, as she leaned over the shoping cart, trying to compose herself. Just at that moment, a woman passed by and assessed the situation by saying, "Now, now.... grandma..... you can take them home to mommy soon, and let her deal with them. "
The trouble was - they were her children - not her grandchildren. You see, she had almost white hair, so nearly everyone assumed she was much older than her 40 years. Adding further fuel to the fire was what happened the day before that; she and I had gone to a restaurant for brunch, along with her youngest boy (a beautiful child who looked angelic, but acted devilish). He wanted to sit on my side of the booth, and it was fine with me. In the booth next to us were a bevy of older men who had met there for breakfast. They watched me, my friend and her boy for a few minutes and then one of the men said to her, "He clearly loves his mama, doesn't he grandma?" I was mortified, and said nothing. She was devastated, and replied simply....."Yes, he sure does". She didn't want to have to explain that she was his mother, and that she and I were only 1 year apart in age.
After experiencing two separate incidents where it was assumed that she was his grandmother, you might assume that she would dye her hair and attempt to appear younger, but she didn't. My point is that you need to think carefully before you make a casual remark to someone, whether making "small talk" or in passing. You never know the real story!
Another example of this happened as we were awaiting boarding our flight to a convention in Hawaii years ago. I was wearing a loose-fitting dress, in anticipation of a long flight and the need to be comfortable. I seldom remember to hold in my stomach, and that time was no exception. A girl friend of one of the men on the trip with us had never met me before, and after being introduced, she asked when the baby was due. I laughed, and replied, "I'm not pregnant, I'm just fat" (which I'm not, I just have a big belly). At that point, her face turned as red as her hair and she truly looked as though she wished the floor would open up and swallow her whole. That sure taught me a lesson, and from then on, I held my tongue until I was sure of the situation before I spoke. That's not to say I haven't opened my mouth and inserted my foot. I surely have, but not about pregnancy!
Question: what have you said that embarrassed you?