I ran into a friend of mine at the drug store, on Saturday -- seriously, nearly knocked her over right in front of the feminine products aisle -- we haven't seen each other since, well, the last days of school and spent the next few minutes, you know, catching up.
"Enjoying a nice, quiet summer, I hope?"
I continued to babble on and on, trying to distract her from noticing the fact that I had NOT shaved my legs in two weeks (you're welcome!) by saying something about my two most favorite days of the year being the last day of school AND the first day of school!
"Did you hear that my mother died?
Aaaaand then, my brain screeched to a halt.
"Oh...no...I am SO sorry."
As, I lied (like a cheap rug) and pretended that I hadn't heard of the poor woman's loss.
"Well, it was GREAT to see you..."
What makes me so crazy about this whole thing is not so much the fact that I lied (sort of) rather, the realization that I was the one...having a REAL hard time...dealing with HER pain.
"Aaaand, how are the kids?"
How selfish is that, right? Honestly, I am just afraid of saying something really, really stupid (shuddup!) not to mention, making someone else feel, you know, worse, than they already do.
You see, I have this disease.
"Oh...um...kids are good."
Or, maybe it's a condition.
"Well, it's really GREAT to see you..."
My husband, Garth (not his real name) swears it is more of a need to fill a void in conversation, passed down to me, by my father, who also seems to be allergic to awkward silence...
"Is your oldest driving, yet?"
...by saying the first thing that pops into my head...no matter how irrelevant...distracting the OTHER person long enough for me to think of something, you know, really, really smart to say.
"Um...er...no she's still walking...I mean...uh...who?"
This was NOT one of those times and I was about ready to drop my feminine products at the poor woman's feet and bolt for the nearest exit.
"My father gave our son his car."
Until, it FINALLY hit me.
"Really, what kind?"
Perhaps, I don't HAVE to say a gosh-darned thing.
"A Ford Taurus."
Aaaand, maybe...juuuuuust maybe....I could, you know, listen.
"We're thankful...the car IS kinda old, but it rides really well."
Then, I wouldn't really have to worry (too much) about saying the wrong thing.
[one beat, two beats]
"No, wait...I didn't mean...well, it was GREAT seeing you."
Of course she knew what I meant (I think!) really, I was very thankful...to be able to make her smile...even just a little.
Morale of the Story: Smoking kills. If you're killed, you've lost a very important part of your life. ~ Brooke Shields, during an interview to become spokesperson for a federal anti-smoking campaign.
Which has NOTHING to do with MY story. Still. If YOU happen to hear of anyone looking for a spokesperson...an anti-dork campaign, perhaps?