Saturday, January 21, 2006

Be Careful What You Say to Strangers....


The other day, Hoss wrote about small talk:

http://oldhorsetailsnake.blogspot.com/2006/01/small-talk-saves-day.html

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?


19 comments:

jennypenny said...

Oh my gosh. I was cringing reading those stories. I have certainly said a bevy of stupid and embarrassing things in my lifetime. They usually involve accidently telling someone a secret that they weren't supposed to know but I assumed they already knew. oops. Michele sent me.

Star said...

More things than I want to admit to probably.THat's why I like writing as oppossed to speaking. I have a delete key to use before I publish!

ribbiticus said...

oh my! have been guilty of this more times than i care to admit. i've wished the ground would open up to swallow me whenever i realize i've said something out of turn. i think the worst thing i can remember saying was that i wish a friend of mine would have kids soon (not knowing her husband couldn't have any children). i flush with embarrassment each time i see them even after i had already apologized that time...

Beautiful Life said...

HAi stranger, good that you notice these things, it is true that sometimes it very easy to open ourselves to a stanger, there is always the risk of trusting others before knowing them, we can not avoid that, but it is each ones responsibility to make such meetings into a good one without making any blunders.

brendalove@gmail.com said...

Its so embarrassing it hurts to write about it.

There was a lady I knew who had announced her pregnancy. I didn't see her for a few weeks and when I did I excitedly asked her how things were coming along.

She had had a miscarriage. I thought I would die of embarrassment.

Kim said...

How cool that your friend goes with her natural color!

Once I asked an elderly man if he would like his daughter to come back in.

It was his wife.

I said, boy, you caught yourself a young one!

Turns out she was in her late 50s but looked like she was 35!

Confusius says: insert both feet in mouth, fall on butt....

Viamarie said...

It is not only embarassing. It can also be very dangerous. Was in a similar situation and was almost charged for libel.

A good day to you Kenju. Am here from Michelle.

mar said...

I've been embarrassed many times because I didn't keep my mouth shut.I have learned not to ever,ever ask a woman when the baby is due ... and not to assume who is the grandparent. My BIL is 48 and his little girl is only 4...

Aging Fabulous said...

I guess my worst time is when I related a story on my blog concerning something my son said about his grandmother. Had no idea that she stopped by on a regular basis. So, sometimes my fingers are my downfall. I type without thinking!

Aging Fabulous said...

That's odd. I just left a comment but it didn't stick?? It was all about saying things on my blog that perhaps my mother shouldn't see!

OldHorsetailSnake said...

I don't get embarrassed. I AM an embarrassment.

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

the worst thing I can recall...was....there had been ab actress in a show with me and she was terrible...I was telling a few people this and one of the men in the group looked daggers at me and said, he was her best friend...! Later, at that same gathering I was telling someone else THIS story and told the whole thing again, and HE said HE was a close friend of hers...I BELIEVE I learned my lesson! (LOL) It was horrible...if I had known that each of these individuals had known her I never would have said anything...though, what I said was true! (LOL)

srp said...

I called a pathology report to a doctor's office. When they answered I said, "Hello this is Dr. Pepper and I have a report for Dr. H.". At that point I heard peals of laughter through the phone and realized what I had said. Must have been thirsty.

Hope said...

I worked at a company where nepatism ran rampant. My boss was going off on some worker to another worker. He was pretty 'rough' on his description of what an ass he thought the guy was. Of course, it turned out to be a relative. He calmly told the guy, well then he ought to know better. (sidenote: what is wrong with people when you are trying to warn them about sticking their foot in their mouths they totally ignore the signals?)

Queen Imadorka said...

that is a very good lesson to learn..I have assumed wrongly on to many occasions ..That is why I have learned ...like you, to keep my mouth shut until I know the situation.I have gotten the gender of peoples babies wrong a lot ...Now I don't even try ..lol

Carolyn said...

I honestly didn't recognize my step-granddaughter at her first birthday party a few weeks ago. We had just arrived and amidst all the babies and kids there, I pointed to her and asked who'se little girl that was. Her grandmother said, loudly I might add, "You're not serious! That's Lacie, silly!" I wanted to hide.

The last we got to see her was in October and she had curly blonde hair and was in a walker. Her hair had since turned brown and was long and straight. Plus, she was taller and walking! They grow up so fast!!

Stephanie Davies said...

Michele sent me tonight (and I put my pin on your frappr!).

I have actually been in the situation you were in before...I went to a yard sale once (a yard sale of someone I did NOT know I might add), and was just browsing their goods, when the lady running the sale asked me when the baby was due!! I'm not grossly overweight, but I have a big belly on me :( Because of the kind of person I am, I told her I had just had one (which was a lie), but it really hurt me. Needless to say, I did not buy a single thing from her, and made a beeline for my door. How rude!

Anyway, I don't think I've ever said anything to anyone else that was embarrassing, or at least, I hope not!

I'm glad I came here tonight - keep up the great work!

Anonymous said...

A by-stander can't win for losing. When faced with a woman who may be pregnant, I've been known to ask, "Are you just being fashionable, or are you pregnant?" No one has ever acted the least bit offended by this approach; but, perhaps they just didn't want to hassle an elder!

The worst thing anyone has ever embarrassed themselves to me was to ask when I had broken my nose. (This from a man I'd been dating for several months, and who later proposed marriage.) Needless to say, my nose is what it is--unbroken.
Cop Car

vicki said...

my life is basically one embarrassing incident after another. It's good I can laugh.

That's a beautiful photo of your grandparents in the previous post.