By Katie and partly Muzz ( headline courtesy zeichenpress)
I ran into an ex-boyfriend of mine at the grocery store the other day, a fellow I haven’t seen in years. Naturally I looked like a train-wreck, it’s Murphy’s Law, right? I hadn’t showered or brushed my hair, I was wearing my husband’s stained sweatpants and the t-shirt I’d slept in. I was holding a pack of toilet paper, the perfect touch.
Our eyes locked, he smiled and said hello and I blurted out, “I’m not really this fat.”
And a little voice inside my head said, “Oh, for crying out loud, I can’t believe I just said that. SO I GUESS I’LL JUST KEEP TALKING.”
I continued: “What I meant was, I’m not fat in real life, I just gained a few extra elbs (I somehow thought saying “elbs” for “pounds” seemed clever) this winter…I’m going to work out right now. Actually I don’t have time. Maybe tomorrow. These aren’t my pants.”
Ugh! My neck got itchy, my pits got hot; I knew I was making an ass of myself, yet I felt helpless to turn off my stream of stupidity. I was having a full-tilt attack of the Boyfriend Babbles, that horrible affliction that turns me into a blithering idiot when I come face-to-face with an “ex”.
“You look fine,” ex-boyfriend said politely, obviously wishing he hadn’t seen me. Or taken me to prom.
WHY? Why does this happen?
Why didn’t I just shut up? It’s like I had a little cartoon angel on one shoulder, screaming through a bullhorn “Abort! ABORT!” and on the other, a little devil whispering seductively to go ahead and point out to him the drop of snot that flew out my nose when I laughed.
Why has no one invented a circuit-breaker I could install in my brain that will shut my voice-box off when I’m nervous? My hair dryer has a re-set button, why not my mouth? At least then I could come across as detached and above it all and not give all my old boyfriends (more) reasons to celebrate our break-ups. I’ve tried to stop, actually, there have been a few times when I’ve made a conscious effort to keep quiet. How did it go, you ask? Have you ever put a lid on a pot of boiling water?
My verbal diarrhea is not limited to old boyfriends, truthfully. Potential bosses, my kids’ teachers, “fancy” people*; I seem compelled to prove my inferiority to anyone I want to impress.
Facebook’s bullying insistence we reconnect with people “we may know” makes us all vulnerable to what I call “Cyberrhea”, the online version of oral incontinence.
A girlfriend of mine recently told me how she “friended” an old beau. He shot her a quick greeting and she proceeded to tap out her life story and send it to him, a move she instantly regretted and tried to explain away…in two more lengthy missives. She hasn’t heard from him again.
Once I was at a bar with my older sister and a radio personality she really admired was there, with his wife. I encouraged her to go say hello to him, so she drained her drink, walked up to him and said, “If I weren’t married I’d make out with you.”
What? Where did that come from? He looked at her like she’d sprouted an extra head and his wife looked at her like she’d be happy to rip it off with her teeth. Ouch.
Our younger sister Muzz seems to have a better handle on this affliction. The following is an excerpt from an email received from her this morning:
I spent today getting slimed with the snot and food of three different kids, my uncombed hair yanked back in a brushing-my-teeth, washing-my-face style bun. On the ride home from work I needed to stop to the beauty supply store; I also decided that it was time to shake my hair loose, not caring at all that I looked like a freshly used toilet brush. After all, what are the odds of running into someone I haven’t seen in 10 or more years? Especially someone I was friends with during my Don’t Leave the House Without Perfect Hair and Makeup phase? Turns out, pretty great. And although I did have all kinds of crazy running from brain to mouth (some things I almost said, but didn’t: “As you can see, I still have some baby weight to lose” “I was just about to make an appointment to have this mustache waxed off” “I have boogers on my clothes” “I know my highlights are a little orange” and the most erudite of them all, “You are my facebook friend” . My lips slammed shut before I could say any of it. Thank God.
Reading this email reminded me of something my cousin Denis wrote in his Facebook “25 things about me” list: “I am a moron in a family of geniuses.” This isn’t true in his case, but I understood exactly what he meant. Whenever I read the hilarious things my siblings write I want to drink Drano and cry myself to sleep.
I forgot what we were talking about.
*fancy people: anyone who wears something nicer than a t-shirt with no words on it