Last weekend, when I was with my family at Disney World (we live nearby), the stroller’s “one-handed fold” mechanism (ONE-HANDED MY ASS) jammed as I was trying to fold it up so we could board the bus. I had an apple dangling out of my mouth, because normally folding a stroller isn’t that hard and I figured clenching the apple between my teeth (jaws wide, drool imminent) wouldn’t make or break the operation.

But this time folding the stroller was hard, and I was jiggling and shaking the stroller (and, okay, kind of beating the shit out of it), trying to hurry the hell up so that all the people on the bus wouldn’t start doing that eye-roll that says for-the-love-of-Pete-would-this-insane-woman-just-fold-the-damn-stroller-already, directed at me, little ol’ me, who really is trying her best, and really is not insane, in spite of the rather damning image of having a giant apple hanging out of her mouth while beating the shit out of a stroller.

Finally, after throwing the apple on the ground (Litterer! Crazy person!), I managed to get the stroller to close. But the damage had been done; I had beaten the shit out of an inanimate object—thrown food, in fact—in front of a not-very-small crowd of innocent vacationers. But NO. I am not crazy, I will convince them of it! A joke, a little joke, how ‘bout it? Mom-to-mom, because really, who hasn’t had trouble folding a stroller? Who designs these things, am I right? 

So I get on the bus carrying the cumbersome stroller, sweating, heaving, and say, “Yes. I’m that woman. I’m the woman who can’t shoulder the fold.” (WHAT THE FUCK. I MEANT TO SAY “FOLD THE STROLLER”!) I sat down and prattled to my husband, relentlessly, something to the effect of: “That thing is jammed. It’s never done that before. Gosh, I thought I wouldn’t be able to close it! I was starting to panic a little there for a second! It must be jammed. ‘One-handed fold?’ Haha, yeah I definitely needed more than one hand. Hahahaha so weird, huh? Must be jammed or something.”

God, I wanted to disappear.  

A few of my blogger friends have appeared on radio shows and TV lately. I’m so thrilled for them; I watch and listen to them chit-chat smartly with the correspondents, tossing around witty banter like a brightly colored beach ball, saying exactly the right thing and looking like they belong.

That would never happen to me. I mean, I could conceivably get on the radio or TV because of my brilliant writing (ha-ha) but it would be a one-time thing.

Because I’m the kind of person who would beat a stroller death with an apple hanging out of my mouth, and then say something stupid about it.

People like me—anxiety-ridden foot-in-mouth type people—don’t do interviews and come off looking adorable; we come off looking like bumbling idiots. Do you know how ironic this is? At the root of said bumbling is an over-zealous desire to come off looking intelligent, hilarious, and—most importantly—to not offend a single person. Basically, it’s desperation to be perceived as awesome.
Consequently, I become so tangled up in trying to be awesome that I lose all ability to think coherently. I literally lose my mind. So instead of saying something awesome, I end up saying something completely off-the-wall inappropriate that marks me forever as a fucking weirdo.
Like a couple of nights ago when I was walking my dog, I realized this guy was walking behind me on the same side of the street – wearing a hoodie. (It’s okay—I know he’s not a threat; he’s my neighbor and he’s breathing hard, obviously just back from a run.) I crossed the sidewalk so as to avoid turning around and walking back towards the guy with my dog. Not because I was afraid of him; I just didn’t want my dog’s enthusiastic and highly-invasive crotch-sniffing to interfere with the guy’s walk, you know? But when I didturn around to head home, I saw that neighbor-guy had also crossed the street and was now coming toward us, hence foiling my plan of invasive-crotch-sniffing avoidance. So I said, “Oh whoops, you already crossed.” And then, because I was afraid he would misinterpret my crossing the street as me thinking he was a serial killer, I said, and I shit you not: “I mean, not that he’s going to try to tear your head off or anything!” …in reference to my tiny, twelve-pound dog.
There are others. I could write a book.There was the time Lucas and I walked past a group of smokers and Lucas, disgustedly, theatrically, flapped his hands in front of his face and said, “Ugh! These people shouldn’t smoke! It stinks!” and I hissed to him, “Honey, you can’t say that!” then turned to the group of people as we were walking away and yelled, “We’re teaching him about manners!” (Wait – that can’t be right) “I mean… we’re teaching him to be polite! I mean…” (WTF??) And then I just trailed off and gave up trying to say anything that made any sense since I was obviously destined to crash and burn. I was trying to say we’d been teaching Lucas about the unhealthy consequences of smoking and he was very enthusiastic about it, hence forgetting his manners. But that’s not the kind of thing you say to strangers either, is it? There was no winning that one.
And then there was the time I was in the auto-parts store buying a part for my husband, but I was nervous I was getting the wrong part, so for some reason I thought it would lighten the mood if I told the cashier that the part looked like a pair of alien eyeballs that had been ripped from their sockets. Honestly, who says stuff like that? The cashier looked at me completely expressionlessly, one-hundred percent dead-pan, like “That was the most unfunny thing I have ever heard in my life.”
And that’s the kind of person I am. I am the person who can make sense on paper (well, you be the judge), where I have the time, space, and absence of pressure to be the real me: the intellectual me, the funny me, the philosophical me—but who can, in spite of all the best intentions, act like a total idiot in real-time.
People like me always fumble, stutter, and say the most asinine thing possible, and then later, in the shower, think of the very best possible thing to have said. And no one ever gets to hear it. Well, you guys get to hear it, because I write about it… and that’s good enough for me.
But you probably won’t be seeing me on TV anytime soon.


  1. Anonymous

    Sure you aren’t writing about me? I am the queen of “oops, what I meant to say is…”!
    This morning, I greeted my good friend’s son (who’s a preschool classmate with my son, and his Mom and I have been friends for 3 years!) with a big “Hey Collin!!” I wondered why she and her son gave me a blank stare and weak smile. Yeah, I got his name wrong. Really?! This is a kid who I know, but I just got his name wrong. Because in that moment, I wanted to be cheerful and friendly and just came out with the wrong name. How do you laugh that off? Well, I tried to blame it on lack of coffee, but that kind of thing is so awkward!!
    Your post made me chuckle, and I love that you don’t mind sharing those moments! Yes, I can relate!

    • Oh I am THE QUEEN of forgetting names. I forgot the name of the kid I was babysitting this morning like three times. Kept having to wrack my brain to remember it. Hopeless, I tell you.

    • I was like “OH MY GOD SOMEONE LIKES ME!!! Oh, ermmm… perhaps I shouldn’t encourage her?” haha

  2. Yep! same here. I ALWAYS say the wrong thing or something people don’t get. When I think later on it, I am very clear on what I should have said, I just can’t think under pressure.

  3. I guess depending on the situation, I am a little of both… I very very often say whatever has come to my mind about the situation at hand and many times realize I DID NOT think it through before speaking. not in a hurtful way, more in a that made so much more sense before it came out of my mouth way. And some times I find myself under pressure to say just the right thing and I have no words. I’m not sure you can ever win, lol.

    • Yeah I think I’m pretty good about not hurting anyone but myself with the stupid crap I say. haha

  4. I never think of it as bumbling when people say things like that to me. I just assume they are making a joke, so I join in, and joke around with them. It usually makes them less nervous, and then words come more easily for both of us. 🙂

    • Well my thing is that I *try* to make a joke and then it comes out all ass-jacked and I sound like a complete dink. And yes, I wish everyone would laugh with me. Or at me. I don’t even care; just laugh. I can’t handle the dead-pan stares. Those hurt. haha =/

  5. I always get ahead of myself. In my head I know what I want to say, but my mouth can’t keep up and I end up saying things like “cot boots” instead of “cute boots”. Dafuq?!