What is your most awkward moment?
November 4, 2015 2:17 PM   Subscribe

On Sunday, Jenny Lawson (AKA The Bloggess) shared this embarrassing exchange on Twitter: Airport cashier: "Have a safe flight." Me: "You too!" I CAN NEVER COME HERE AGAIN. Very quickly, Lawson’s followers were tweeting their own embarrassing exchanges at her, and she began to retweet them en masse. The result was a stream of cringingly awkward hilarity.
posted by Four-Eyed Girl (413 comments total) 165 users marked this as a favorite

 
I loved this. This was such a great thing to watch happen.
posted by sio42 at 2:20 PM on November 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


how many times have i been involved in a variant of:

Me: "Hi how are you?"
Other person: "Good, how're you?"
Me: "Fine, how're you?"
Other person: "..."

not the most awkward thing but not great.
posted by dismas at 2:20 PM on November 4, 2015 [24 favorites]


I do exactly this sort of thing all the time (specifically reflexively replying "you, too" to any pleasantry without considering if it is appropriate). The closest I have come to breaking out of it is when someone says, "Have a good one," I always want to respond, "I already do."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 2:23 PM on November 4, 2015 [14 favorites]


I just did this while renting a car -

Clerk: Thank you, have a safe trip!
Me: You too!

Tried to recover, made it worse, never going to Texas again.
posted by Diskeater at 2:23 PM on November 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


I ALWAYS SAY "YOU TOO" WHEN SOMEONE WISHES ME HAPPY BIRTHDAY.

It makes me kinda dread my birthday, to be honest! I have started not telling anyone when it is, so I don't have to wish to crawl in a hole and die a dozen times that day.
posted by chainsofreedom at 2:24 PM on November 4, 2015 [35 favorites]


I was dropping by my friend Sean's apartment. The door was open, but I didn't want to just barge in so I yell "hey Sean, it's me." Long pause. "Uh, come in." I walk in and I'm face-to-face with a complete stranger, who turned out to be Sean's new roommate, Sean.
posted by theodolite at 2:25 PM on November 4, 2015 [73 favorites]


This is the best thing ever. My favourite: "Thank you for coming."
"Glad to be here."
At a FUNERAL.
posted by arcticwoman at 2:27 PM on November 4, 2015 [71 favorites]


My worst moment occurred shortly after I started my first professional job, where I was doing family support work out of a rural school. The school library also doubled as the community library, so it opened at about mid-day; but it was also the only place that I could go that had a computer hooked to the internet (this is pre-21st century).

Anyways, I had to look something up and school staff were allowed to use the library even if it was closed, so I was in there searching away for whatever. And another (young, female) teacher came in.

Her: You didn't turn on the lights! It's dark in here.
Me (absorbed in my research, thinking I'm being funny about working with a lack of clarity): Yeah, I do my best work in the dark.
Her:.....
Me: OMG! That was not a cheap come-on!

I was embarrassed for a long time after that whenever I had to talk to her.
posted by nubs at 2:28 PM on November 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


Heh, my father-in-law and sister-in-law were in town the weekend before last for a funeral. As they headed out and I stayed home, I had to physically restrain myself from saying "Have fun!"
posted by Foosnark at 2:28 PM on November 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


Plenty of these types of encounters illustrated here. More mixed selfie bees.
posted by BlackLeotardFront at 2:29 PM on November 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


Grocery store worker: "Hi, how are you?"
Me: "Hi."
GSW: "Good!"
posted by dirigibleman at 2:30 PM on November 4, 2015 [26 favorites]


Me to a Brand New Client: "OK bye, love you!"

...
posted by DarlingBri at 2:32 PM on November 4, 2015 [77 favorites]


I once saw what I thought was an acquaintance, 'Dan', in a museum when I was on holiday in Vienna. I walked up to him, waving, saying "Hi, Dan! I didn't expect to see you here! What are you doing in -"

Then I stopped, partly because I realised that I had an audience of horrified onlookers and partly because I had been warmly greeting a waxwork of Cro-Magnon Man.
posted by Rissa at 2:33 PM on November 4, 2015 [277 favorites]


I didn't notice that my phone occasionally autocorrects Best to Breast until after I sent out an e-mail to the 60-someodd undergraduates taking my anthropology course signed:

Breast,
Erin
posted by ChuraChura at 2:37 PM on November 4, 2015 [85 favorites]


What I like best about this is that I've realized that there is something embarrassing that I do that I do not agonize about. Like, when someone is all "have a safe trip" and I am all "you, too!", and they're not going anywhere, I just think it's kind of funny and do not feel that I can never again fly Delta.

My particular thing is handing the desk person at the Y my bus card instead of my Y card and then being all distracted by my impending workout so that they have to work to get my attention to get me to fork over the correct thing.
posted by Frowner at 2:37 PM on November 4, 2015 [20 favorites]


A friend of mine once accidentally hit my wife in the head. He got stuck between "Are you okay?" and "I'm sorry!", and instead said, "Are you sorry?!"
posted by curiousgene at 2:39 PM on November 4, 2015 [113 favorites]


I was a receptionist at an upscale hair salon for a while. Once answered the phone, "how may I love you today?"
posted by prefpara at 2:39 PM on November 4, 2015 [23 favorites]


*standing in line at Starbucks*
STARBUCKS BARISTA: How can I help you?
*me not paying attention because its 8pm and I just finished a grueling work shift*
STARBUCKS BARISTA: Yes...can I help you?
ME: Oh hey, how can I help you?
STARBUCKS BARISTA: *awkward silence*
ME: Ugh...I'm so sorry, I just finished a 10 hour shift at a hotel and I work the front desk and I just said the same thing to you out of reflex because I was in front of a counter and it was a habit and now this is awkward.
*she smiles awkwardly*
STARBUCKS BARISTA: "This coffee is on us, have a good evening."
posted by Fizz at 2:40 PM on November 4, 2015 [184 favorites]


At work we have pretty much perfected The Trance of Infinite Greetings & Gratitude:
Cashier: ... and here's your change and receipt. Thank you! and have a nice day!
Customer: Thank you.
Cashier: No, thank you. Bye!
Customer: ... uh, likewise (•⊙ω⊙•)
Cashier: Oh thank you - bye bye! ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

We're habitual last word'ers and pretty damn polite about it.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 2:40 PM on November 4, 2015 [13 favorites]


Tales of Whoa is a slightly longer form version of these sorts of things as experienced by MeFi's own saladin (previously).

I am torn between wishing that there were more stories and being happy that maybe saladin isn't having so many painful experiences.
posted by sparklemotion at 2:40 PM on November 4, 2015 [8 favorites]


I booked hotel rooms at a call centre for a year and then also did phone support for a number of years. So now, every once and a while when I'm calling to buy something or for support I'll automatically say, "Is there anything else I can help you with today?" when we get close to the end of the call.
posted by ODiV at 2:42 PM on November 4, 2015 [8 favorites]


I would have deliberately and proudly said, well, I've never done any lighthouse keeping, but I'm willing to give it a try!
posted by Naberius at 2:42 PM on November 4, 2015 [11 favorites]


I wouldn't know how to choose.
posted by bgal81 at 2:44 PM on November 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


OK, so am I being way too much of a grinch if I say I see this anecdote told once every three days on twitter? If you search "have flight you too" there you turn up a constant stream of the same joke rephrased ever so slightly ever time. Am I off to be annoyed by this?
posted by ominous_paws at 2:44 PM on November 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


Last week my husband called the vet about some medication for our cat Nefer. We often call her Neferkitty, so when the tech on the phone asked about her name and he tried to explain that it was Nefer as in Nefertiti, he got them mixed up and said "Nefer-titty." And proceeded to kick himself about it for the rest of the afternoon.
posted by telophase at 2:44 PM on November 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


This is the best thing ever. My favourite: "Thank you for coming."
"Glad to be here."
At a FUNERAL.


My worst:
Groom: "It was great that we had valet service for the wedding, but now that it's really raining, I wish we got valets for the reception, too"
Me, trying to make this into a positive, learning experience: "There's always next time"
The groom and everyone else around shuffled awkwardly and drifted off to talk to other people.

(I was mortified he'd bring this up when we had a family gathering a year later, but instead we talked about music and stuff. I was really, really relieved.)
posted by filthy light thief at 2:44 PM on November 4, 2015 [48 favorites]


I once smashed my face quite hard into the glass door of a hotel lobby, which I didn't realize was closed because glass. I won't repeat what I said to the concerned-looking clerk, because I still kind of want to die.
posted by rifflesby at 2:44 PM on November 4, 2015 [8 favorites]


It's an old Brian Regan bit as well.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 2:45 PM on November 4, 2015 [10 favorites]


I'm so sorry, I just finished a 10 hour shift at a hotel and I work the front desk and I just said the same thing to you out of reflex

One time I was at my friends' place and i was tired and my friend's wife came home

and she went to the bathroom before she saw me, and when she came out, she was brushing her teeth with her electric toothbrush when she said "Hi, Greg!" while the toothbrush buzzed, like "BZZZZZZ"

and my brain knew i was supposed to respond with a similar thing to what she said as greeting

so I instinctively responded by smiling and nodding and saying "BZZZZZZZ"
posted by Greg Nog at 2:46 PM on November 4, 2015 [139 favorites]


I worked at Disneyland. Pregnant women can't ride roller coasters.

Me: I'm so, so very sorry to ask you this, ma'am, but are you pregnant?
Her: Yes, but only five months along...

Now I'm feeling confident. I can do this.

Weeks later.

Me: I'm so, so very sorry to ask you this, ma'am, but are you pregnant?
Her: No!
Me: (says nothing, feels horror)
Her Husband: I told you that shirt made you look fat!
Me: (says nothing, happy to be saved by the only guy on the planet dumber than me)
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:46 PM on November 4, 2015 [95 favorites]


The awkward language ones are so very me it hurts, especially the ones where the person forgets the right word so they end up, like, calling a foal a horse kitten. One time I forgot the word for socks so I called them footpants.
posted by palomar at 2:47 PM on November 4, 2015 [192 favorites]


I once smashed my face quite hard into the glass door of a hotel lobby, which I didn't realize was closed because glass. I won't repeat what I said to the concerned-looking clerk, because I still kind of want to die.

Then how can we bask in your misery? That's the point of this thread!
(You are under no such obligation)


It's an old Brian Regan bit as well.

My wife and I often tell each-other "Take luck!" (Also "Cherry is favorite. Grape too. Cherry and grape, both favorites.)
posted by filthy light thief at 2:47 PM on November 4, 2015 [9 favorites]


I was dropping by my friend Sean's apartment. The door was open, but I didn't want to just barge in so I yell "hey Sean, it's me." Long pause. "Uh, come in." I walk in and I'm face-to-face with a complete stranger, who turned out to be Sean's new roommate, Sean.

I am part of a small organization that regularly has retreats. My friend Ellie and I often share child-supervision responsibilities during these retreats, so we often check in about the day's plans, who is going to be where when, and so on.

One morning at a retreat, a couple of years ago, Ellie comes into the communal bathroom looking for me. "Su?" she calls. I answer from a shower, "in here!"

Ellie says, "Hey, I have a question for you."

I say, "Ok, what is it?"

Ellie decides it's silly to keep hollering at each other when we could talk face to face, so she pulls open the shower curtain and steps into the cubicle with me.

Different Sue.
posted by not that girl at 2:47 PM on November 4, 2015 [13 favorites]


Isn't the "you, too"a thing lots of people do though? That's the reason the story gets told all the time. I do it all the time, sometimes stopping half way though and saying "Thanks, you" like I'm fucking Jessica Rabbit.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 2:47 PM on November 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


I worked at Disneyland. Pregnant women can't ride roller coasters.

There's a Brian Regan bit about this, too. "When's the baaaaaby due?" "What baby?" "At the zoo. The pandas...."
posted by filthy light thief at 2:50 PM on November 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


Don Hertzfeldt wins best of show in this category.
posted by Sing Or Swim at 2:50 PM on November 4, 2015 [7 favorites]


Leaving work this afternoon, I greeted the custodian just starting his shift with, "Hello; can I help you?"
posted by jaruwaan at 2:51 PM on November 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


The awkward language ones are so very me it hurts, especially the ones where the person forgets the right word so they end up, like, calling a foal a horse kitten

I have a friend who has noun-retrieval problems due to a mild cognitive deficit. The alternatives she comes up with are often surprisingly poetic and apt. One day, trying to ask her husband for a USB drive, she finally came out with, "Can you get me an information prong?" We now regularly call USB drives "info prongs," because that is just a perfect name for them.
posted by not that girl at 2:52 PM on November 4, 2015 [195 favorites]


This is the best thing ever. My favourite: "Thank you for coming."
"Glad to be here."
At a FUNERAL.


I've found you can save yourself in these situations by continuing "-- so glad I could be here for you."

The "I pretended my ringtone was farts" incident occurred to me randomly in a public place today and I just had to sit down, it was so hard not to laugh.

I've realized that I never notice other people's awkward portmanteaus of "have a nice you too" or similar, I just take off and assume the proper pleasantry has been lodged. It helps me relax when I screw up.
posted by Countess Elena at 2:52 PM on November 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


More than once I have answered the phone, "Card services, this is awwwww dammit", and then just hung up because I didn't know what else to do.
posted by palomar at 2:52 PM on November 4, 2015 [34 favorites]


Just this morning I told a co-worker that he looked really different today. I realized a minute later that he looked different because he was in fact someone else and we'd never met.
posted by w0mbat at 2:52 PM on November 4, 2015 [125 favorites]


My wife and I often tell each-other "Take luck!" (Also "Cherry is favorite. Grape too. Cherry and grape, both favorites.)

We often mention being in the painter's scaffolding when we admit that we don't know what we're doing.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 2:54 PM on November 4, 2015


I was out picking up some take-out a few weeks ago, and while I was waiting for my food, I had a glass of water. When my food was ready, I needed to get rid of my used cup.

I asked the person at the counter "Where do the dead cups live?"

They stared.

"I ... I have a cup...? I don't want this."
posted by you could feel the sky at 3:02 PM on November 4, 2015 [157 favorites]


Just today I stumbled pretty bad while leaving a voicemail for a client of ours.

"I was just calling because to inform that you-- shit, uhhh"
*press pound key to erase recording and start over*
"..."
*pound key does not perform expected erase-recording-and-start-over function*
*press star key? also no*
"Fuck"
*press 3, on accident, too?*
*click*

While sitting next to my manager. *sigh*
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 3:08 PM on November 4, 2015 [55 favorites]


I'm spending the rest of the night in here. Going to just read other comments and feel better about myself because I'm not alone and there are others who understand the terror and pain of saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.

Thanks to Jenny and to you MetaFilter.
posted by Fizz at 3:12 PM on November 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


So awkward and I guess quite topical. I actually accidentally posted this in the current thread on the Canadian government but thankfully realized with a minute of the edit window to spare.....


I have this tendency to zone out when I'm thinking to myself to the point that if someone in the outside world talks part of my brain knows that I need to respond but not enough of my brain clicks to respond to what they said and I'll just verbalize whatever it is I'm thinking about.

I've worked with the women in my office long enough that they will notice I'm zoning and talk on purpose to see what they might get me to say.

It has happened often enough that I just block it and don't remember most of them. I just shrug it off.

A few times have stuck with me though.

Me, sitting on a bench at Uni, in deep contemplation about an irritating wardrobe problem I had been dealing with all day.

Fairly hot friendly guy sits down and says "Hi"

Me, "Man it's annoying to keep having your underwear stick in your butt"

Him: "....."
posted by Jalliah at 3:14 PM on November 4, 2015 [34 favorites]


Once in my youth I was talking to a couple of guys (and it's possible that I was in a slightly altered state). I was describing a dog I had seen recently, and I said that it was hard for me to look that dog in the eyes too long because the dog had one blue eye and one brown eye and I found that weird.

And then... I realized that one of the guys had one blue eye and one brown eye.

(And one eye was glass, too. Who would DO that?)
posted by rekrap at 3:19 PM on November 4, 2015 [12 favorites]


This is a festive fpp.
posted by Oyéah at 3:19 PM on November 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


The other day I was exercising upstairs at the gym during my daughter's swim class. There are windows that look down to the pool, and I was on a treadmill by them. I saw my daughter get out of the pool and sit by the side; I figured she'd bonked her knee or something. But then someone who worked at the gym went to sit next to her and started filling out paperwork. Yikes! Injury!

I rushed downstairs and into the pool and over to her and sat down and asked my daughter "What's up?"

I then had to explain to a complete stranger -- who didn't work there and wasn't holding a clipboard -- and his daughter -- who was just waiting for her class to start -- why I thought she was my kid. Not just from upstairs, but I sat right. next. to. her. and still asked what was going on. I was all "Uh, curly hair, blue swimsuit, see, that's my daughter, who... looks... kind of sort of like you?"

(I should've said "I thought you were someone else," yes, I know that, that would've been fine, but no, that is not the way of my people.)
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:20 PM on November 4, 2015 [11 favorites]


last visit with my dying Jewish grandmother. last time I will see her. she says "goodbye" and I say "see you later."

when ragnarok comes and Jewish valhalla empties out, after the Nazis they are coming for me.
posted by ennui.bz at 3:22 PM on November 4, 2015 [43 favorites]


I'm so sorry, I just finished a 10 hour shift at a hotel and I work the front desk

I was trying to decide where I could go with all my awkwardness but this helps. I was working the graveyard shift at a hotel during a pyrotechnicians convention and two dropped by the front desk. We got into a conversation and I mentioned that I had never seen primacord, which is a cord used for detonation and one said, hey, I've got primacord, would you like to see it? And I got all excited because I'm a huge nerd and said, "Oh my gawd, I'd love to see your primacord!" And you all know where this is going but *I* was very surprised when he whipped out his penis.

Once during a polka convention I couldn't think of the name for a trombone and called it a polka fart blower in front of 300 guests.

One time when I had to call the police because a fight had broken out in the bar Manic Monday was playing on the jukebox so I told the dispatch we needed cops because there was "manic mayhem in the bar".

Another time a guy came up to the front desk and wanted to know how pornographic the pay per view movies were and I didn't know what to say because I had actually seen some and finally I stammered out in front of him, two coworkers, and my boss, "Well, sir, you can see bush but no pink."

Those are just a few from one period in my life. I LAUGH at your you too, my friends. Child's play, mere child's play.
posted by barchan at 3:24 PM on November 4, 2015 [108 favorites]


Rissa and Greg Nog, I'm stifling laughter through my nostrils at work and it is very awkward thankyouverymuch
posted by a halcyon day at 3:26 PM on November 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm a bit confused how this suddenly exploded in popularity. The awkwardness of an inappropriate "you too" has been a cliche bit of observational humor for years all over the internet. This is like the equivalent of someone getting thousands of delighted replies to a posting that is just "AIRLINE FOOD AMIRITE?"
posted by kickingtheground at 3:28 PM on November 4, 2015 [7 favorites]


When I lived in a dormitory, every student had to have their ID verified before entering, and as I was standing in line to do so, I was struck by how handsome the proctor was. I wanted to compliment him in some way in hopes of striking up a conversation, and I spent the next minute or so in line trying to think of something. When I finally came up to show him my ID, rather than use any of the suave lines I had just been practicing, I noticed his wrist and blurted out, "That's the watch al-Qaeda members wear!"

you will not be seeing a metatalk post announcing our wedding
posted by lunch at 3:28 PM on November 4, 2015 [62 favorites]


This one time some people were chatting on-line, telling goofy stories about stuff they'd done, and I took it far too seriously and got cranky with them. No, wait, that wasn't me.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:29 PM on November 4, 2015 [57 favorites]


So in early September I was on my way to a friend's super casual cocktail party, but I was supposed to change buses mid-trip and I missed the stop where I was supposed to do that, so I ended up having to get off the bus and backtrack to get to the right bus. So, there I am, walking through Rainier Valley at like 9pm while carrying a bag full of s'mores supplies for this cocktail party, and as I pass a very busy self-service car wash I glance toward the flower beds skirting the property, and that's when I make eye contact with a woman shitting on a rhododendron.

Why I said hello, how's your evening is still a mystery to me.
posted by palomar at 3:30 PM on November 4, 2015 [68 favorites]


The closest I have come to breaking out of it is when someone says, "Have a good one," I always want to respond, "I already do."

"Actually, I'm hoping for a number two actually. Wish me luck!"
posted by srboisvert at 3:35 PM on November 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Woman sidled up to me in dvds at Target. Held out Pretty in Pink and Sixteen Candles, wants to know which for movie night. I explain Pretty in Pink because duh, soundtrack, Aunt Iona, Duckie, Karmann Ghia, etc., Somewhere in there the woman realizes I am not her daughter. I am 5'2" and chunky. Her daughter was 6" and super fit. I don't know which of us felt more awkward...I just thought she thought I looked the right age range to have opinions on Molly Ringwald movies.

Twice this week I have answered questions with, "of course it quacks." because of improv crap earlier this week. Because of improv I generally just go with my awkwardness now.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 3:38 PM on November 4, 2015 [25 favorites]


i love y'all so much.
posted by chara at 3:40 PM on November 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


I once asked a co-worker "How are you going?" We both immediately launched into Yakov Smirnoff impressions.
posted by evilcolonel at 3:41 PM on November 4, 2015 [8 favorites]


The closest I have come to breaking out of it is when someone says, "Have a good one," I always want to respond, "I already do."

"Some guys'll say to ya, 'Hey, have a good one!' I say 'hey, I already have a good one; now I'm lookin for a longer one.'" -- George Carlin
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:43 PM on November 4, 2015 [8 favorites]


That time I used the term grandma arms and my grandmother was in the car.
posted by CarolynG at 3:46 PM on November 4, 2015 [9 favorites]


I'm a chatty person in general and a few weeks ago on a road trip I was waiting in line for the bathroom at a coffee shop on an extraordinarily hot day behind a woman who was incredibly pregnant and I said, "huh, I'll bet you never thought it would be insanely hot while you were 8 months pregnant. I'll bet you thought oh it'll be nice & cool in October when I'll be most uncomfortable!"

She gave me a nervous half-smile and looked away. I immediately was like oh shit she's not pregnant but how can she not be pregnant I mean look at her the only answer is that she's got some HORRIBLE tumor in her abdomen and despite her cheerful look is probably teetering on the brink of death! and here I am chuckling about the WEATHER

just then her friend came out of the bathroom and said something to her in German.

I WAS SO RELIEVED even though I did feel kinda stupid.
posted by janey47 at 3:49 PM on November 4, 2015 [14 favorites]


I always say exactly what I moan and moan exactly what I say.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:49 PM on November 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


I thought a friend's coworker was super cute and told him so. Yay, ladies being assertive! Unfortunately what I said to him, verbatim, was that he had a nicely turned calf and would do well in the queen's court.

We never went out.
posted by palomar at 3:49 PM on November 4, 2015 [104 favorites]


This reminds me of that wonderful story from Douglas Adams.

"This actually did happen to a real person, and the real person was me. I had gone to catch a train. This was April 1976, in Cambridge, U.K. I was a bit early for the train. I’d gotten the time of the train wrong. I went to get myself a newspaper to do the crossword, and a cup of coffee and a packet of cookies. I went and sat at a table.

I want you to picture the scene. It’s very important that you get this very clear in your mind. Here’s the table, newspaper, cup of coffee, packet of cookies. There’s a guy sitting opposite me, perfectly ordinary-looking guy wearing a business suit, carrying a briefcase. It didn’t look like he was going to do anything weird. What he did was this: he suddenly leaned across, picked up the packet of cookies, tore it open, took one out, and ate it.

Now this, I have to say, is the sort of thing the British are very bad at dealing with. There’s nothing in our background, upbringing, or education that teaches you how to deal with someone who in broad daylight has just stolen your cookies.

You know what would happen if this had been South Central Los Angeles. There would have very quickly been gunfire, helicopters coming in, CNN, you know. . . But in the end, I did what any red-blooded Englishman would do: I ignored it. And I stared at the newspaper, took a sip of coffee, tried to do a clue in the newspaper, couldn’t do anything, and thought, what am I going to do?

In the end I thought, Nothing for it, I’ll just have to go for it, and I tried very hard not to notice the fact that the packet was already mysteriously opened. I took out a cookie for myself. I thought, That settled him. But it hadn’t because a moment or two later he did it again. He took another cookie. Having not mentioned it the first time, it was somehow even harder to raise the subject the second time around. “Excuse me, I couldn’t help but notice . . .” I mean, it doesn’t really work.

We went through the whole packet like this. When I say the whole packet, I mean there were only about eight cookies, but it felt like a lifetime. He took one, I took one, he took one, I took one. Finally, when we got to the end, he stood up and walked away. Well, we exchanged meaningful looks, then he walked away, and I breathed a sigh of relief and sat back.

A moment or two later the train was coming in, so I tossed back the rest of my coffee, stood up, picked up the newspaper, and underneath the newspaper were my cookies.

The thing I like particularly about this story is the sensation that somewhere in England there has been wandering around for the last quarter-century a perfectly ordinary guy who’s had the same exact story, only he doesn’t have the punch line. "
posted by holmesian at 3:50 PM on November 4, 2015 [269 favorites]


Me to a Brand New Client: "OK bye, love you!"

I was once at the receiving end of that. My ex-wife had just spoken on the phone with our (adult) son, then called me to pass along an updated. I guess she was sort of primed to say it under the circumstances, because at the end of our call she came out with that...I could immediately "hear" her blushing furiously even before she began stumbling out an apology. We've stayed friendly since the divorce, so I let her off the hook instead of teasing her about it.
posted by Greg_Ace at 3:51 PM on November 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


Well I wasn't sure what I was going to post but then I realized I was reading this on my phone in the bathroom at work and laughing hysterically and there were other people in the other stalls who I'm sure recognized my laugh but I waited until they were gone to come out and so now I'll never know which of my co-workers is secretly wondering what I was laughing at so there's that
posted by skycrashesdown at 3:51 PM on November 4, 2015 [17 favorites]


I guess this is also a good place for this story:

I was working at a coffee shop in college and my major, major, only-a-teenager-is-capable-of-this-level-of-crush crush was ordering coffee from me. Upon hearing his order I turn around, get a paper bag, and pour a large amount of hot coffee directly into the paper bag. And then when I realize what I've done I turn around, trip on something and fall flat on my face (and the bag of coffee). In front of The Hottest Person Alive and a line of people out the door. I retreated to the back room and managed never to interact with him for the remainder of college.

Almost ten years later I ran into him in a bar in a city 500 miles away and I was a little buzzed and we were having a chat. "I used to have the biggest crush on you," I admit.
"Uhh, I know."

*fin*
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 3:52 PM on November 4, 2015 [110 favorites]


I was at an unamplified music show this one time (Asylum Street Spankers; their whole point was that they were unamplified) and the audience was being a little too noisy and rowdy -- especially the two guys behind me, who were being obnoxious and boorish. The point at which I was going to reach peak anything-can-happen annoyance happened to coincide with one of the band members holding up a big sign that said "Shhhhhhhhhhh." While the rest of the audience immediately quieted down, one of the asshats behind me loudly said, "I wish my job was to stand up on a stage holding a sign." I twirled around and (loudly) said, "Well, you wouldn't be very good at it!" which was the first thing that came to mind.

He was a paraplegic in a wheelchair.

His friend redeemed himself, though, because he leaned over and said "She's right, man."
posted by mudpuppie at 3:55 PM on November 4, 2015 [116 favorites]


Also, the one about mistaken use of spray glitter before a gynecologist's visit has been circulating at least since I was a senior in college. I doubt it was the same woman, so I therefore declare it an urban myth.
posted by mudpuppie at 4:00 PM on November 4, 2015 [11 favorites]


No, Mudpuppie, that was totally true. She was a member of the glitterati.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:04 PM on November 4, 2015 [18 favorites]


In the olden days, I used to write away for Shareware catalogs for my even-then-ancient IBM PC. I know I requested a demo for my 5.25 dick drive from somebody at least once.
posted by dr_dank at 4:05 PM on November 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


The first time I flew back to Toronto from Texas post 9/11, they were checking ID at the gate, and the nice airline staff man said "do you have your ID?", and I said "yes thanks!" In my best chirpy-polite Canadian way and went to walk past him, thinking how nice it was that he was making sure I hadn't left it behind in Texas....until he said "well, can I SEE it?".
posted by biscotti at 4:14 PM on November 4, 2015 [41 favorites]


Three scenes:

* I am fourteen. I have a chorus part in the school production of GUYS AND DOLLS, and am part of a crowd coming onstage for a crowd scene, during which we are mobsters and molls entering a church service. We have been instructed to make Generic Crowd Noise during the scene, but I decide I will think up Something Amusing To Say ("What am I doing here anyway? I'm Jewish!"), in case the people in the front row happen to overhear me, so they get their own personal funny thing to laugh at. I end up liking it so much that I decide I will Make Sure the people in the front overhear me. Opening night; we go onstage, and I say that line - and the people in the front do hear me. And so does the entire rest of the audience, because I'm louder than I thought.

(The director took me aside and said "the audience laughed; it's okay, leave it in. Congratulations, you have a line." The entire cast spent the next 2 weeks asking each other "Is EC really Jewish?")

* I am, again, fourteen; I am a junior counselor at summer camp. I have a crush on another junior counselor. And one morning, at breakfast, he actually takes a seat at my table, just across from me. We chat a bit as we settle our kids, and I'm trying to play it cool. Someone passes the orange juice pitcher my way, and I pick up the juice glass in front of me and start pouring - except the glass has been set on the table upside down, and I don't notice that I'm pouring it over the bottom of the upturned glass until the puddle washes down off the table and into my lap. And of course Cute Junior Counselor sees.

(He did have a good natured joke - "hey, you drink through your knees? Cool!")

* I am fifteen. It is a special concert the school choir is giving during a pep rally. Midway through the concert I have to subtly cross from the alto section to the sopranos. As our director is introducing that song, I make my move - and tangle my foot in a mike cable and manage to knock down three mikes and about five sheet music stands.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:16 PM on November 4, 2015 [12 favorites]


This is an email fumble.

At my job, I occasionally have to arrange for deliveries of large goods. And on occasion, due to various circumstances, those goods require next-day delivery and installation. We call those expedited deliveries "hot shot" orders.

One day a hot shot order came in, and I was going through the steps needed to guarantee next-day delv/install: making sure product was in stock, calling the delivery agent to confirm that they had the time and staff to do the rush delivery the next day, and so forth.

The final step in the process is to email a copy of the order to the delivery agent, with HOT SHOT in the Subject Line, along with the shipping reference #.

I emailed "HOT SHIT ORDER: Ship Ref # XXXXXXXX".

When I realized what I'd done, I called and apologized profusely. The woman that answered phone said the entire office was laughing so hard that they could barely breathe.
posted by magstheaxe at 4:18 PM on November 4, 2015 [29 favorites]


Talking about a narrowly avoided awkward moment in this thread just seems like bragging, but there was the one time I staggered drunkenly into a 7-11 in the boonies of Japan at 3 am with my friends during a long dry spell and the cashier was smokin' hot, and I was SO CLOSE to being all "GUYS GUYS I would TOTALLY bang the SHIT out of this 7-11 night shift cashier, seriously he is soooooooooo hot" but for some reason in my drunken wisdom I decided to keep my mouth shut. Boy was I glad when we went up to the register and he started speaking to us in perfect English.
posted by sunset in snow country at 4:24 PM on November 4, 2015 [8 favorites]


One time I was aiming for either "I'm so stiff right now" or "I worked out too hard" and mashed the two together midsentence and I ended up announcing to the entire newsroom, "God, I'm so HARD right now."

I'm a lady.

It was still awkward.

palomar: "One time I forgot the word for socks so I called them footpants."

More like footPRISONS, amirite?

posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:31 PM on November 4, 2015 [24 favorites]


I just read the first page of these and now I have to stop because I am crying and my abs hurt.
posted by bq at 4:41 PM on November 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


I was in Thailand trying to buy some eggs at a market, but at that moment forgot the Thai word for "egg", so instead I told the person I wanted luk luk gai--literally, "I want the children of the chicken".
She looked at me and said "Eggs?". Why yes, thank you!
(Leaves market with eggs, but also with a bit of an embarrassed look)
posted by blueberry at 4:41 PM on November 4, 2015 [33 favorites]


blueberry: "literally, "I want the children of the chicken". "

A guy I know was trying to buy popcorn in Mexico and forgot the Spanish word and so was asking everyone at the grocery store for "Maíz -- BOOM! Maíz -- BOOM!" with appropriate exploding motions with his arms and hands. Finally an old lady shopper figured it out and led him to the popcorn.

We still call it maíz-BOOM in our house when we're in a silly mood.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:49 PM on November 4, 2015 [82 favorites]


I just (as in 20 minutes ago) took out an entire end cap of tomato sauce at the grocery store. "Oh oh, oh no, breakable tomatoes."
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 4:49 PM on November 4, 2015 [16 favorites]


Freshman year of college. Roommate started dating a girl from down the hall in the dorm. Girlfriend was not very fond of her roommate, so she started sometimes staying over in our room. So one evening my roommate tells me in advance that she's going to be sleeping over that night - but he didn't go as far as to invoke the "please go crash elsewhere" clause we'd sort of handshaked on when the year started. As it happened, I was away from the room late, having deep conversations about literature with another friend, so I didn't get back to the room until around 2am.

I did the thing where you turn the doorknob, then hold onto it in its fully-turned state so the latch doesn't make noise. Open. Step in. Turn around. Close door.

Before I got the knob un-turned and let go of, I noticed "huh, they're breathing awfully fast..." (Yeah, uh huh, you guessed it.)

Waited a minute or so, paralyzed with fear (they did not notice me come in) and made a hasty exit (which they DID notice.)

Anyway... the NEXT night, another guy on the hall was in a public speaking class and needed to practice a class assignment, and my roommate and his girlfriend agreed to be his test audience. I go into the room to get a book, the guy is mid-speech giving. I pick up my book, and as I'm heading back for the door I say "sorry, didn't mean to walk in on you."

Turn. Put hand on doorknob. Realize what I just said. Pause. Me, roommate and girlfriend crack up laughing.
posted by dnash at 4:52 PM on November 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


The gaffe of mine that Jenny retweeted went over well and kept my phone buzzing all night, which was great because I have huge anxiety over Twitter. (It makes me feel like a flopsweating stand-up comic when no one responds, which is what usually happens.) Regardless of whether we've seen this before, it's been a nice change from Twitter's usual tone.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 4:52 PM on November 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


Back when I was a Very Serious Businessperson in my late 30s I briefly dated a musician in his early 30s. The first time we went to his place his musician roommate and the roommate's girlfriend, who were probably in their 20s, were also home. The four of us were standing there and the guy I was dating made a very casual introduction, and out of habit I assertively extended my hand towards them and said, "Pleased to meet you." The three of them just stood there and stared at my hand and after a few moments we all just awkwardly walked away. Fortunately I did not end up seeing the roommate or the girlfriend during the couple of months we were together but it still mortifies me to this day.
posted by Room 641-A at 4:54 PM on November 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


Disrupted a department meeting with a lumberjack sneeze that triggered a fart, also quite lumberjackish.
posted by palomar at 5:07 PM on November 4, 2015 [16 favorites]


wow my whole life really is a cautionary tale
posted by palomar at 5:07 PM on November 4, 2015 [28 favorites]


That's not how you cut down trees.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:09 PM on November 4, 2015 [42 favorites]


Was dragged to a dinner party full of strangers. Somehow, the topic of weird sports came up.

I, feeling liberated by a few beverages, went on not-at-all-funny Seinfeldian rant about handball.

"What is the DEAL with handball anyway? It's not a sport! It's just hitting things with your fist. It's like boxing with balls. It's just tennis if you've dropped your racquet."

Noticed a lot of silence. And not just because I'm not funny.

The hostess was on the Canadian National Handball team.
posted by Pathos Bill at 5:10 PM on November 4, 2015 [25 favorites]


As I was walking up the outer aisle of the church to go sing during my grandfather's memorial service, I felt a tug on my dress. When I turned, it was one of my cousins, who gave me a nod and encouraging smile. I was confused, but went up and sang my song.

Yeah, she wasn't tugging for attention. When I'd gone to the bathroom before the service I had tucked the whole back of my dress into my pantyhose. I think she might have peed herself laughing when she told me afterwards. The rest of the family thought it was funny too, especially Grandma.
posted by monopas at 5:10 PM on November 4, 2015 [7 favorites]


That's not how you cut down trees.

It is if you try really hard.
posted by palomar at 5:12 PM on November 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


This is my favourite metafilter comments page of all time
posted by raw sugar at 5:12 PM on November 4, 2015 [16 favorites]


I was at a friend's house with a group of people, and someone mentioned that there was a wiki dedicated to photos of celebrities' feet. And, of course, all the celebrities were female. No photos of guys' feet. I suggested, "You should see if Brad Pitt's in there! Brad Pitt seems like the kind of guy who has feet."
posted by Metroid Baby at 5:19 PM on November 4, 2015 [31 favorites]


I noticed his wrist and blurted out, "That's the watch al-Qaeda members wear!"

This is totally a side effect of the Information Age and Wikipedia dives, and that's why we have to make sure every mention of a Ford Falcon is greeted by the fact that they were used by the Argentine Death Squads, and famously so.
posted by rhizome at 5:20 PM on November 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


Awkward moment 1:

I'm on a long-haul flight from Europe to North America. Somewhere mid-flight - that sort of twilight zone where you've been on the flight for /forever/ but you're nowhere near landing - I got up to go to the bathroom. I had an aisle seat in the middle section, and as I was returning from the bathroom i noted there were 3 or 4 people standing in the aisle, blocking access to my seat. Now, I don't like talking to strangers at the best of times, and the seats behind mine were empty, so I thought I'd just use them to climb up and hop over into my seat, thus avoiding having to interact with others.

So I launch myself over the seat. Oh no, I think, I must have left my purse on my seat, cause I have clearly landed on something and it's quite uncomfortable. I go to retrieve it, glancing to the side, and realize to my horror that I have in fact landed on some lady's foot. She and her boyfriend were snuggled up on the other side of the row, stretched out watching a film. When I see the "you are the scum of the universe" look on their faces, I note that I don't remember them sitting in my row, and realize that I am not, in fact, in my seat at all. My seat was 4 rows forward. I apologized profusely, but it was the kind of situation where they couldn't even pretend it was ok, as I'd obviously hurt her foot upon landing in the seat, and she was still in pain, and I was the villain of the day. I apologized 3 or 4 times as i left, but they just scrunched up their faces and waved me out of their sight.

After (obviously) hiding in my seat for the rest of the flight, I managed to get out of the plane before they did and never saw them again.

-------------------------

Awkward moment 2:

I went to Starbucks to get some work done and once I sat down, noticed that across from and facing me at the next table was someone I'd been on a semi-terrible date with a few years back. I notice in my peripheral vision that he keeps looking at me, and I begin to feel awkward, like we should acknowledge that we know each other, but I don't do anything until I'm finished working. After about 2 hours, I decide it's too awkward in Starbucks to approach and say hi, so I go outside and sit on the grass. He packs up right after I do and begins to walk toward me, where he could plausibly still just walk by.

By this point I've had enough so I call as he approaches, as a preventative measure: "Andrew, are you going to come say hi or what?", just as he simultaneously puts out his hand to shake mine and says "Hi, I'm Richard".

I'd just accidentally picked up some stranger in Starbucks by accidentally staring as if I knew him for 2 hours. Fifteen minutes of awkward conversation ensued as he confirmed that I had thought he was someone I knew, and we had nothing to speak about. Finally, I said I had to go do more work and ran away.
posted by Acaecia at 5:21 PM on November 4, 2015 [12 favorites]


Oh man, I thought for sure we were going to get a, "Reader, I married him!" out of that.
posted by rhizome at 5:23 PM on November 4, 2015 [22 favorites]


In gym class in middle school we were taking turns doing as many pull-ups as possible while the rest of the class looked on, bored and silent, awaiting their turns. I was a portly fellow at the time, and I was struggling to complete a single pull up. "You can do it!" the teacher's assistant encouraged, or something to that effect. I pulled-up with all of my might, and continued to fail to complete a pull-up, but due to the strain I succeeded in loosing probably the loudest fart my butt has ever uttered. The TA whispered, "Oh my God," as I dangled, amid the chortles of my classmates, comprehensively humiliated.
posted by Hot Pastrami! at 5:25 PM on November 4, 2015 [20 favorites]


This is timely, just yesterday I was buying cream puffs and the lady said "Enjoy your cream puffs" and I was like "Thanks!" And internally I was like YESSSSSSSS BETTER LUCK NEXT TIME, THE DEVIL!
posted by bleep at 5:26 PM on November 4, 2015 [26 favorites]


So this little video game called halo just came out. I was talking to coworkers about it when one guys desk phone rang. He was watching me pretend to shoot a machine gun as he picked up the phone and loudly said "XBOX." He freezes and there is silence on the line for 10 or so seconds. They hung up and no one called back.

We were very disappointed.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 5:32 PM on November 4, 2015 [8 favorites]


Relevant sorry if already linked! super powers!
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 5:36 PM on November 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


if we're talking about accidental farts now: i let out a huge fart in front of Ken Salazar when he was Secretary of the Interior

i once farted in a deposition and before I could stop myself asked if that was on the record

i farted right after a question in my thesis defense
posted by barchan at 5:40 PM on November 4, 2015 [126 favorites]


I was briefly sort of dating this young, military airman when I was around 18. I was walking around base doing errands in the week before heading out for college. I ran into this ex-something or other who I didn't particularly like but we ended things fairly evenly at the BX (Base Exchange, like a department store). I said, "Hey," and nodded. He said, "Hey," and nodded.

Then I ran into him over by the bowling alley. We were literally crossing paths. I laughed. "Are you stalking me?" Him: "That's impossible, I'm going this way."

Then I drop off a big box at the post office and as I turn around I see him at the back of the line. I walk right up to him and say, "You're like a bad dream!" He looks sort of aghast and puzzled and says, "No...? I'm a good dream?" as I drop my eyes to his name tag and it's not the guy!

I don't think I even said anything, I just squeaked and ran away while his buddy elbowed him saying, "What the hell did you do to her?!"
posted by amanda at 5:40 PM on November 4, 2015 [12 favorites]


i once farted in a deposition and before I could stop myself asked if that was on the record

That was a simply brilliant response! Kudos!
posted by Greg_Ace at 5:46 PM on November 4, 2015 [46 favorites]


At a bar, among a bunch of friends and their friends whom I'd never met. I was tired, it was late. I wasn't hungry but I did want something to drink. So, caffeine. Normally I'd pick coffee, but you can never count on a good cup of coffee at a bar so I'm thinking Coke. Coffee... Coke... coffee... coke... can't decide, even up to the point where the server is asking me what I want. Even halfway through ordering. So I turned to the server and very clearly said, "I'll have a cock."
posted by GhostintheMachine at 5:47 PM on November 4, 2015 [24 favorites]


Story One:
On a long, overnight flight, after doing the obligatory polite exchange of smiles with the man sitting next to me, I fell asleep. And proceeded to dream that I'd dropped something that very urgently needed to be retrieved. So, in my dream, I reached down to pick it up. Unfortunately, I also did this in real life, smacking my neighbor really hard on his inner upper thigh.* There was a moment of terror and then, by some unspoken agreement, we both looked away in silence and I went back to sleep. Sitting on my hands.

* I'm pretty sure I missed his balls but asking about the state of his balls seemed a step too far.

Story Two:
A client's email server tends to think my messages are spam so I often have to ask them to look in their spam folders. I was working with a new, senior-level executive and he mentioned that he hadn't received my recent email. I had noticed that this particular company used the term "junk folder" so I thought I was being clever as I loudly announced to the room, "You really should check your junk.**" And then I paused, frantically willing my brain to come up with something to smooth over the horrified silence. Unfortunately the only thing running through my brain was "what would a grown up say?" Apparently I am not a grown up because all I did was stammer and blush.

** Yes, balls again.
posted by mcduff at 5:51 PM on November 4, 2015 [8 favorites]


Called a colleague I would run into occasionally "Reggie" for 3 years until one day he stopped me and said "my name's not Reggie, it's Craig...."

Three years.
posted by photoslob at 5:52 PM on November 4, 2015 [31 favorites]


Oh man, I thought for sure we were going to get a, "Reader, I married him!" out of that.

I once married a total stranger rather than reveal that I'd mistaken her for someone else.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:52 PM on November 4, 2015 [25 favorites]


One year I went to the PNE with my then boyfriend and a few other friends. We split up to do some things and on our way back to the designated meeting spot I saw my boyfriend walking ahead of us in the crowd. I ran up, jumped on his back, tried to cover his eyes and offered a bubbly "Guess who?"

Wasn't my boyfriend.
posted by Jalliah at 5:54 PM on November 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


i let out a huge fart in front of Ken Salazar when he was Secretary of the Interior

Bet he was glad you let him out, though. Did he grant you three wishes?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:54 PM on November 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


cause he was Secretary of the Interior
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 5:55 PM on November 4, 2015 [27 favorites]


The thing I like particularly about this story is the sensation that somewhere in England there has been wandering around for the last quarter-century a perfectly ordinary guy who’s had the same exact story, only he doesn’t have the punch line.
Except now he has the alternative punch line, "and that crazy weirdo was Douglas Adams." I sure hope he discovers that fact.

I'm afraid my cringe-worthy awkward moment story isn't particularly funny. On starting fourth grade, I wound up sharing class with a new girl whom I found astonishingly attractive. I was surprised and delighted when the teacher suggested that we pair up to complete a take-home assignment. But, the question I was presented with in front of the whole class was "eotvos, how would you like to work with CuteGirl on this project?" If there was one concrete thing I'd learned from television by age 10, it's that playing hard to get and never expressing enthusiasm were vital strategies for romantic success. So I loudly told the whole class that I didn't want to work with her unless I absolutely had to. The teacher replied I had no choice and that we would be working together.

Later that week I discovered that CuteGirl had a substantial physical handicap and was routinely teased as a result. Even then, I felt terrible about how she must have taken what I said. But, being 10 (and also bad at communicating with humans), I couldn't come up with any way to apologize without admitting that I'd had a massive crush on her; that was out of the question. So we completed the assignment and several others without ever mentioning it, and remained friends for a few years after that without it ever coming up. I can only hope it was a whole lot less significant in her memory than it is in my self-centered version of the story.
posted by eotvos at 5:56 PM on November 4, 2015 [7 favorites]


I'm telling two on my little brother because he isn't on the site and doesn't know so nyah. (And I'm just realizing now that these both happened on the same family trip, when he was about 14.)

* We are in a restaurant, and the waitress is taking our orders. When she asks my brother if he wants "Soup or salad", she slurs a bit, so he thinks she is offering the "super salad." "Sure!" he says, cheerfully. And then he says "sure" again when she asks again. He doesn't get what she's saying until her third attempt.

* We're all having a chill day at the Grand Canyon. Mom and I are shopping, Dad and bro are back at the hotel watching TV. My mother has borrowed my brother's jacket, as it's chillier than we thought.

We're making our purchases, and Mom is a quarter short. "Let me see if I can find one," she says, starting to feel through my brother's jacket pockets. Nothing in the side pockets. Then she sticks her hand in the breast pocket, feels something and gets a funny look on her face. "That's not a quarter, I don't think....what is this?" And she pulls her hand out.

She is holding a condom.

Mom stares at it. I stare at it. The clerk stares at it. After a few seconds, my mother sees her staring, and blurts out, "Oh, no, this is my son's jacket - " but then realizes that actually makes the situation more awkward and shuts up. After another couple seconds I just pay the clerk the extra quarter and she wordlessly rings us up.

And Mom turns on her heel and storms back to the hotel, me following quickly behind. We get to the hotel room, and Mom throws open the door and stalks to where my brother is lying on the bed and watching a movie. "What is THIS????" she snaps, waving the condom in his face.

My brother starts making some excuse about how it was one of his buddies who'd given it to him as a joke, as my father and I try desperately to smother our laughter.



(Postscript: at the rehearsal dinner for my brother's wedding, I get up to make a toast, which takes the form of "a series of family memories", one of which is about how on this same trip to the Grand Canyon, my brother spent most of it whining that it was "boring" and has ironically now grown up to be an outdoorsy type. But when I begin the sentence "And then one year we went to the Grand Canyon..." and then I see that both parents and my brother are all suddenly going very pale.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:59 PM on November 4, 2015 [31 favorites]


Bet he was glad you let him out, though. Did he grant you three wishes?

hahahaha IRFH I reworded my sentence just to set it up for someone and I'm so glad I did hahaha!
posted by barchan at 6:04 PM on November 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


I was timewalking through 1984 and stopped around mid-June in the UK to get a snack. Sitting at a table I stretched out my legs just as this lady with a stroller was passing by. Sure enough, the stroller caught on my leg, pitched up and sent the lovely baby within flying. The infant was clearly fine, but squalling horribly, and everyone in the snackshop was silently gawking. Out of my mind with embarrassment and at a total loss as to what to say, I somehow blurted out, straight to her stunned face, "You have a nice trip too". Needless to say that lady was my mother and the infant was me. Ever since then there has been a certain darkness inside me and you will not catch me timewalking around 1984 again any time soon.
posted by passerby at 6:07 PM on November 4, 2015 [13 favorites]


I must be pretty good at blocking these kind of things from my memory. Sometimes I feel funny about the reflexive "thanks" at then end of a conversation, though. Like, I'll say it out of habit even when someone has just been spectacularly unhelpful and rude or when I have just done the other person a favor at some effort to myself. Ok, thanks...?
posted by ctmf at 6:14 PM on November 4, 2015


My wife constant agonizes about this sort of stuff, micro-interactions that don't go well, and I'm always telling her 'don't stress about it, nobody's judging you, and if one in a hundred actually is, you know, fuck 'em.'

But on the other hand, just yesterday I was giving a talk to a group of VIP visitors from Thailand, and as I was winding up to a big finish, I said something about it being such a pleasure to talk to groups of people from other countries, a group like this one from Vietnam, and faces dropped around the room. Their handler at the back of the room waved and silently mouthed 'THAILAND' to me, and I realized my dumb mistake, and recovered and apologized as gracefully as I could. Been re-running that one in my mind for the last 24 hours. Sigh.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:15 PM on November 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


(Just to be clear I'm not like snarking on anyone, I "you have a nice trip too"'d an airline worker less than a week ago. I do this so often that I have to just let it go or I would not be able to function.)
posted by passerby at 6:18 PM on November 4, 2015


I'm pretty sure I've said "you too" in response to "have a safe flight" from airport cashiers on multiple occasions. Are they used to it? This seems like something that probably happens a lot. But maybe I'm just oblivious.
posted by breakin' the law at 6:26 PM on November 4, 2015


I used to always do the accidentally calling your teacher "mom" thing all the time when I was a kid.
It turned a whole new page in high school when my actual mom was my teacher for one course, but by then I kind of relished it because all my friends new and I sort of said it sarcastically, milking it, as a 16 year old in 1984 does.
posted by chococat at 6:30 PM on November 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Introducing a quick writing assignment, my friend once asked a class of 8th graders if they'd rather live in a small town or "a big titty."

8th graders have very effective selective long-term memory, turns out.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:33 PM on November 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


Ah I just retold mine the other day! I was walking down the hall at work once chomping on a paper clip, as you do, and a coworker said hello and I said "HMLGH how're you oh there's a paper clip in my mouth."
posted by clavicle at 6:39 PM on November 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm a bit confused how this suddenly exploded in popularity.

The Bloggess is enormous on Twitter. She does things like this every now and then. Occasionally it involves celebrities, like Wil Wheaton Collating Paper.
posted by Deoridhe at 6:43 PM on November 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


Once I was ordering something in Spanish and couldn't remember the word for honey, so I literally said "the juice of the bee". Many laughs were had.

its miel
posted by Admira at 6:48 PM on November 4, 2015 [28 favorites]


I dated this woman in college, and after a few dates we discovered that we weren't really all that into each other. I guess we enjoyed hanging out, though (or, more probably, having someone to hang out with), so we didn't end it either. So for a couple of months, we would hang out, and the sole manifestation of affection would be a quick, rote peck on the lips at the end of the night when one of us would head home.

And so, during this time I went home one weekend to see my folks. After my visit, as I was packing up the car to head back to school, my mom went in for a hug. Without thinking, I gave her a quick, rote peck on the lips.

In other families, kissing your mom on the lips would be a non-event. But not in mine!

It was mortifying, and I saw the shock in her eyes too. It wasn't acknowledged then, and hasn't been spoken of since.
posted by mudpuppie at 6:51 PM on November 4, 2015 [13 favorites]


Just yesterday.....

I'm in the middle of a job hunt and I'm mult-tasking in the morning calling back recruiters while at the same time doing emails and searches on my computer. Phone in one ear, I dial back a recruiter and get voice mail but decide to not leave a message and just hang up so I put the phone down. At the same time my computer hangs in the middle of an email and I pretty much say "Oh this motherfu.... !!"

.... which is when I notice that the phone never disconnected voicemail.

So I just pretended it never happened - until this thread :(
posted by AGameOfMoans at 6:52 PM on November 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


I had two brothers when I was younger, both much younger than I (each the better part of twenty years my junior). One died at a tragically young age, in his early twenties. A couple of weeks after the funeral I called the surviving brother Steven but found myself talking to a young woman, whom I initially mistook for my brother's then-girlfriend, now-wife.

"Oh, hi, Sarah, it is Ricochet. Is Steven around?"

"Sorry, this isn't Sarah, it is Emily. I am just watching the baby while he picks up Sarah at work. Can I take a message?"

"Okay, tell him that his brother called."

I did a lightning bit of mental calculus: My brother and I are so far apart in age, some of my friends are surprised to find that I have a sibling. The same might be true for his circle of friends. And if young blameless Emily here only knew of our deceased brother a couple of years apart from Steven, and has never heard of me, this would sound like a sick prank.

"I mean, tell him his brother Ricochet called."

A quick internal record scratch. Wait, if Emily knows of me, then obviously what other brother would be calling?

"You know what? Never mind. No message. I will call him later."

And that is the tale of how I can make a complete farce of leaving the simplest possible message.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:54 PM on November 4, 2015 [10 favorites]


I was in a meeting with someone in a professional context, discussing various situations involving his colleagues.

Two of his colleagues were both named Filipinas - one went by Pina, the other went by Inas.

Me: "How's Pinas?"
posted by univac at 6:55 PM on November 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


My tweet to the Bloggess got 154 favorites hearts which makes me proud because my record so far had been one.
posted by bendy at 7:03 PM on November 4, 2015 [7 favorites]


The very first grant application I wrote in my very first adult job, I requested that the government give us money to provide sex* sessions to teenage girls.

*six
posted by arcticwoman at 7:04 PM on November 4, 2015 [9 favorites]


Oh gosh, I do this sort of thing approximately once a day, on a good day, so this was delightful and cathartic to see. My worst ones were probably in grad school situations, such as --

Prof: question about the Reformation
Me: Well, it was because of all the sects and violence . . . I mean, sectarian violence, I mean . . . [crawling into hole and dying]
posted by FelliniBlank at 7:15 PM on November 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


So I studied Swahili in college and also worked for my undergrad advisor, who was a paleontologist, doing fossil preparation. He offered to bring me to Kenya with him one summer as a field assistant, if I promised to deal with all the logistical things and market work once we got to rural Kenya because I spoke Swahili. I was the youngest, the only student, and the only female on the trip.

I spent most of my time on the trip with a few Kenyan field assistants who were my age or a little bit older, and developed a HUGE crush on John Mark, who was about 6'5" and more muscled than anyone I had ever met, and he'd help me with Swahili and it was all wonderful. One afternoon we were driving back from a day of searching for fossils, sitting in the bed of the pickup truck - me and all the Kenyan guys - and he started coughing because of the dust kicked up. "Oh, John Mark," I said, "how is your chest?" Or, well, that was what I meant to say (in Swahili) - Habari za kifuo? Instead, I asked him "Habari za kifaru," which actually means "How is your rhinoceros?" Which is exactly the metaphor you think it is. So we get back to camp and the Kenyans are crying with laughter and I am tomato-colored, and my advisor says "Alright, what's going on?" and then John Mark says "She asked about my PENIS!"
posted by ChuraChura at 7:22 PM on November 4, 2015 [71 favorites]


In my very brief stint working as a cashier at a drugstore, I called out a price check on a home pregnancy test over the intercom. Yes, I'm that guy. (That's not why it was brief, but it did indicate to me that maybe I wasn't suited for retail.)
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:23 PM on November 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


My particular thing is handing the desk person at the Y my bus card instead of my Y card and then being all distracted by my impending workout so that they have to work to get my attention to get me to fork over the correct thing.

I've tried to pay at stores with my library card more times than I can count. The funny thing is that the cashiers will usually try to run the card multiple times before finally figuring out that it is not a valid way to pay.

And so, during this time I went home one weekend to see my folks. After my visit, as I was packing up the car to head back to school, my mom went in for a hug. Without thinking, I gave her a quick, rote peck on the lips.

I've lived in a couple of countries where you do the cheek-kiss thing. Sometimes it is left first, sometimes it is right first, but everyone knows what to do. I still cringe about the time I got out of sync and kissed a very formal older woman smack on the lips. There's just no recovering from some mistakes.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:26 PM on November 4, 2015 [5 favorites]




if it had happened in person i would now be dead in orkney hiding behind a luxurious shame beard
posted by poffin boffin at 7:31 PM on November 4, 2015 [9 favorites]


Family friend at my mum's funeral: "Oh Taff, I'm so sorry for the loss of your mother."
Me: "It's all good. Totally don't worry about it."
posted by taff at 7:37 PM on November 4, 2015 [34 favorites]


I didn't notice that my phone occasionally autocorrects Best to Breast until after I sent out an e-mail to the 60-someodd undergraduates taking my anthropology course signed:

Breast,
Erin


Oh, I can go one worse than that. Last summer, I spent a lot of time trying to troubleshoot my sound chambers and find out why the sound processor wasn't working. I needed it to be functional so I could run experiments, so it was pretty urgent that I get it running. Unfortunately, it kept crapping out and blowing fuses, so I spent a lot of increasingly frustrated time emailing back and forth with the only support tech that the company who makes the processors has, a very nice gentleman who happens to be named "Chris." I cc'd my boss on most of them, but I was the one who spent all my time desperately trying to figure out what was going wrong and also packaging up various components to be sent back to the country.

I was also raised Catholic, and I swear a lot when I'm frustrated. I finally noticed there was an issue when my boss got back to the US and gently asked whether I was aware that I kept addressing my emails to the beleaguered tech "Dear Christ...."
posted by sciatrix at 7:38 PM on November 4, 2015 [17 favorites]


Children in my Kindergarten class would sometimes call me Dad, and I would give them a smirk, but secretly it was nice to hear.
posted by blueberry at 7:40 PM on November 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


i farted right after a question in my thesis defense

are you the famous Dr Fart from no dignity day
posted by poffin boffin at 7:41 PM on November 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


yup
posted by barchan at 7:44 PM on November 4, 2015 [8 favorites]


I bobbled the "not a receiving line" small talk with my late friend's father last month at his wake. It has been replaying in a loop in my brain ever since, growing ever more monstrous with each recollection.

And I know it must have been genuinely painful to the man -- a Texan in New England for the funeral of his adult son, who was a truly AMAZING human being -- because all he could say was "Bless your heart." My wife didn't understand why I was so eager to leave the wake.

(Moore, I hope you are looking down on me and laughing your squeaky laugh. I miss you, man.)
posted by wenestvedt at 7:54 PM on November 4, 2015 [7 favorites]


ETERNAL CACKLING
posted by poffin boffin at 7:55 PM on November 4, 2015 [4 favorites]


I also once gave a talk about the evolution of female preference (for potential mates) and had to be gently interrupted to ask whether I was aware I kept saying "passive aggressive" where I meant "passive attraction." I was not.

I have addressed people I have worked with for two years by the wrong first name, repeatedly. Once someone came up to me in a class and tried for a full fifteen minutes to catch up with me before I had to admit I had no idea what his name was or where I had met him. We'd been classmates in the same ten-person class for the entire previous semester.

Once when I was TAing a discussion section, one of my students--who was very shy, normally--raised her hand and interrupted me mid sentence to ask if I was aware my fly was down and she could see my underwear. Then she looked horrified and clamped her hands over her mouth. I am still proud of myself for being able to just blink, zip, and teach without pausing to be horrified in the bathroom until after class was done.

In my college Intro Evolution course, I once had an extremely public and extremely loud crisis of conscience in front of approximately ninety other students about whether ferns were plants or not... immediately after answering a question from the professor.

I can go on.
posted by sciatrix at 7:58 PM on November 4, 2015 [15 favorites]


We were in the very far back corner of Target when my 3-year-old overheard a passing customer mutter under his breath, "Jesus Christ." So my 3-year-old pipes up, "Jesus Chwist!" His 18-month-old brother, next to him in the double cart, likes this, so he parrots, "Jesus Chwist!" I said, "Okay, guys, should we buy this garden tool?" (or whatever it was.) "Jesus Chwist!" shouts the 3-year-old. "Jesus Chwist!" echoes his brother. I frown. They get louder. I tell them to stop it now or we're leaving. Other people are giving me dirty looks. They start shouting at the top of their lungs. "JESUS CHWIST!" "JESUS CHWIST!" "JESUS CHWIST!" "JESUS CHWIST!"

I abandon the merchandise, face flaming, and start grimly booking it to the exit on the complete other side of the store while my children scream "JESUS CHWIST!" over and over again and laugh hysterically. About halfway there, they realize I am making good on my threat and we are leaving Target and buying no treats, and they both burst into noisy tears (more glares from passersby) and then 3-year-old starts shouting at absolute top volume, "STOP IT MOMMY, YOU'RE HURTING ME! MOMMY! STOP IT! YOU'RE HURTING ME!"

Which is him-ese for "you're hurting my feelings" but in the middle of Target with the screaming miniature blasphemers is not really the moment to explain that to everyone glaring at you.

If the earth had swallowed us all, I would have been thankful.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 8:20 PM on November 4, 2015 [98 favorites]


As a teenager, I once called the local video store and asked them "what time do the videos have to be home at?". The laughter alone made me avoid the store for weeks.
posted by recklessbrother at 8:20 PM on November 4, 2015 [35 favorites]


In high school, I had a dramatic breakup with my boyfriend because he was in college 6 hours away and I wanted to date his best friend (I later married the best friend, so it was justified). Their friendship was, unsurprisingly, not doing so great.

Two weeks into dating NewBoyfriend, I call his house to ask him something. this was in the dark ages when cell phones were not yet standard issue.

"...Hello?"
"Hi, is [NewBoyfriend] there?"
"..."

ExBoyfriend and NewBoyfriend had very similar home phone numbers, like 123-555-67xx similar.

My fingers had automatically dialed my ex boyfriends house and I had just asked his mom if my new boyfriend was around. You know, the one I had just dumped her son for.

She was a little frosty but politely explained who I had called. I stammered and panicked and squeaked out: "...Tell [ExBoyfriend] I said hi."

Then I ran and literally hid in my closet for an hour.
posted by castlebravo at 8:29 PM on November 4, 2015 [12 favorites]


"STOP IT MOMMY, YOU'RE HURTING ME! MOMMY! STOP IT! YOU'RE HURTING ME!"

I was a toddler. I was in Mott's 5 & dime with my mom. I'd experienced a totally innocent toddler face-plant a few days earlier -- the result of not yet having full control of my limbs -- so I had a black eye.

I wanted to race my mom to the back of the store. She agreed. So I ran at full toddler speed through the store (with a black eye, with my mom running behind me) wanting with all my heart to beat my mom in that race, shouting "Don't beat me mommy! Don't beat me mommy!"

To be fair, that wasn't my awkwardness so much as my mom's failure to recognize potential consequences, but it fits in this thread, I think.
posted by mudpuppie at 8:37 PM on November 4, 2015 [62 favorites]


I strongly suspect this FPP was sponsored by a group of therapists wanting to drum up business from all the MeFites suddenly remembering long-repressed blunders. I'll be under my desk if anyone needs me.
posted by sapere aude at 8:39 PM on November 4, 2015 [13 favorites]


A little less than 20 years ago I was trying to solve a programming problem in my head, the way you do when you're in your 20s. I got hungry and went out, and I'm walking down the street in a semi-fugue thinking "I need a self-modifying function. No, a recursive function. No, a recursive function that doesn't crush the call stack. A loop. No, a self-modifying function. I need a new compiler, where there's no call stack. Shit, what was the problem again?" basically going in circles. I walk into a burger place and to the bored checkout girl I say

"I need a cheeseburger, without cheese"

Reader, there is no contempt like the icy contempt of a sixteen year-old girl.
posted by um at 8:41 PM on November 4, 2015 [22 favorites]


I just thought of a couple of my smoothiest moments...

boy: "I love you."
me: (realizes he means the thing he said) "That's probably good news...to someone."

Different boy: "I love you."
me: "Oh. Oh. Fuck. We're, yeah, this is gross. I guess we're going to have to be in love now."
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 8:49 PM on November 4, 2015 [30 favorites]


So a friend of mine's FIL was visiting from the USA, and my friend was showing him around this famous market here in Melbourne. FIL evinces a desire to buy some candy. As it happened, there was a store that sold classic and limited-run Australian candy right there in the market. Friend sees some packets of these white sugar sticks made to look like cigarettes, which he hadn't seen in years. He has a flashback and says Oh! Look! ... Fads. They used to be called Fags you know. But they changed the name because –

Friend suddenly recalls that FIL is gay, tries to salvage situation: – because of smoking! The name meant cigarettes and they didn't want to encourage kids to smoke!

Their relationship has never recovered.
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:03 PM on November 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


I.
Back in the day, when I tried to be straight, my girlfriend and I were both at a park having a picnic with friends. I went back to the car to get something, and then returned, put my arm around her, and asked her if I'd missed anything.

Wasn't her. Also, not our friends. Upon realizing this, I stammered something about how she has blonde hair, so of course... except this is the US, so it's not like blonde hair is rare.

At which point the girlfriend waves at me from the table we were sitting at.

---

II.
Once, after a pretty successful job interview, on my way out I stopped in front of the glass door, expecting it to open. It didn't. So I waited a bit, and waved above my head for a second, thinking it didn't detect me. Door still didn't open.

So I turn to the receptionist, who is obviously trying not to explode with laughter, asking if the door was broken. She just pointed to the other side where the door was; I'd been standing in front of the glass panel.

I go over to this other door, waiting for it to open, and behind me she says, "You have to push."

People, I pulled the door first.

(Still got the job.)
posted by qcubed at 9:06 PM on November 4, 2015 [40 favorites]


I went looking for insect repellent at Jewel, a major Chicago grocery chain, a few months ago. I stumbled when asking a young female employee where they were.

"Miss? Where can I find the ... ant death-related products?"

She didn't even hesitate: "Aisle ten. On the right."

As I said on Facebook when it happened: I'm a nerd and she's an angel and the world just keeps turning.
posted by MarvinTheCat at 9:07 PM on November 4, 2015 [37 favorites]


Do you guys not repress all memory of these awkward moments to the extent that most of your adult life is just a blur? Just me then?

The one that I dwell upon because I'm still thinking of how to come back from it was when I caught up with a friend and she announced that she was pregnant and entering her second trimester. Friend has always been full-figured and good-natured about it; I have other female friends who fret about a 5lb weight gain and my default response is to to be reassuring. Which resulted in this lovely exchange that I will cringe over until I die:

ME: Oh wow, no way! Congratulations!
HER: Haha, it's not like you can tell, anyway.
ME: Oh no, not at all! I couldn't even tell that you were pregnant!
MY MIND AS THE WORDS ARE COMING OUT OF MY MOUTH: fuck you did you just say that she has always looked like she was four months pregnant oh my goddddd you are a monster
ME (flailing): I-I mean, some women show very early, you know, but not you, obviously!
MY MIND: PLEASE. STOP.

Anyway. Never talking to anyone else ever again forever.
posted by peripathetic at 9:23 PM on November 4, 2015 [13 favorites]


I still cringe about the time I got out of sync and kissed a very formal older woman smack on the lips.

Those slightly misdirected hello kisses have gotten me more than once. Most recent one should have been a brush on the check, but I ended up planting a wet one on her earlobe. I spent several minutes trying to think of how to apologize and eventually just decided that would be worse.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 9:39 PM on November 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I was in a consultation group with a famous therapist who had just written an excellent new book on treating alcoholism. She's a very strong advocate for 12 step approaches and sobriety. Anyway, I was complimenting her about the book and said that it was so rich and deep that I was only reading a bit of it at a time, so I could savor it, like fine brandy.

*deep internal cringe occurs*
posted by jasper411 at 9:41 PM on November 4, 2015 [27 favorites]


Re: trying to pay with your library/bus card: Awkward Family Photos apparently makes, like, trading cards or something, and a friend of a friend was carrying some around in her wallet because she thought they were funny, and when she picked up her dog at the doggie daycare she handed them this instead of her points card. Apparently the person at the counter did not even crack a smile when she handed it back.
posted by sunset in snow country at 9:43 PM on November 4, 2015 [12 favorites]


I KNOW I have some howlers but I must be repressing them because I'm only thinking of stuff that happened to my friends.

One friend drank some wine at a birthday party at work and then on her way out to her car she was wondering if she had some wine teeth going on, so she leaned down to check in the side mirror of a parked car, but she didn't check to see if there was anyone in the car so she basically just walked up and grimaced at some poor stranger.

Another friend was waiting for the bathroom at Chipotle and a guy walked up and said "Sooo, does someone have the key to that?" She said "Oh, no, someone's in there, we have to wait." He said "No, uh, I meant your necklace, uhhh..." She was wearing her Tiffany heart-shaped lock necklace. He was trying to awkwardly hit on her.
posted by sunset in snow country at 9:48 PM on November 4, 2015 [6 favorites]


I still cringe about the time I got out of sync and kissed a very formal older woman smack on the lips.

When I was around 6 I went to the grocery store with my dad, and when we were in the frozen food aisle he sent me back to to get apples or something. I came back to find him leaning over a bin, and gave his legs a surprise hug.

Not my dad. Just the same trousers. Worn by a man who was very surprised indeed.
posted by DarlingBri at 10:01 PM on November 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure I've said "you too" in response to "have a safe flight" from airport cashiers on multiple occasions. Are they used to it? This seems like something that probably happens a lot. But maybe I'm just oblivious.

They have a leaderboard in the breakroom.
posted by sebastienbailard at 10:10 PM on November 4, 2015 [15 favorites]


Some years ago I was giving a very important academic job talk to a room full of distinguished people. Fifteen minutes in, someone in the front row asked a confusing question. . . and it suddenly became clear that throughout the talk my tongue had replaced the four syllable English word for the specific thing I study with a similar sounding but very different four syllable word describing the vaguely related thing one third of the audience studied. (To my astonishment, I actually got a job offer anyway. . . but every so often I remember how many colleagues witnessed that talk, and I have to crawl under a desk for a bit to recover.)
posted by eotvos at 10:16 PM on November 4, 2015 [3 favorites]


> Breast,
> Erin

A word of caution: consider the proximity of the g and t keys before opting for a "safer" closing.

Retards
-Wf
posted by Westringia F. at 10:33 PM on November 4, 2015 [21 favorites]


When I was doing a year long assistant teaching job in Japan after graduation I was once playing a game with one of my classes where for extra credit I was asking them in English what colours things in the room were.

After a couple of these where they immediately got them right, I asked, "what colour are my pants?"

Stunned silence and then bursts of laughter ensued. Male teacher I was assisting: fully red face.

I had completely forgotten that "pantsu" is the japanese word for underwear and, as a 22 yr old freshly graduated female assistant teacher, had just accidentally asked a room full of 17-18 year olds what colour my underwear was.
posted by raw sugar at 10:35 PM on November 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


Uh, they are AIRLINE EMPLOYEES and thus have flight benefits. It's not so outlandish to assume they might be taking a flight soon and your wishing them a safe flight isn't all the weird. At least, this is how I rationalize it to myself.

The other remedy to awkward repartee is to simply smile weakly and say nothing at all.
posted by Doleful Creature at 10:40 PM on November 4, 2015 [2 favorites]


I spent 3 years of college working at pizza places on nights and weekends. Every transaction ended with "thanks, and enjoy your pizza!" as I handed them the box. I did it thousands of times over the years.

Years later after I graduated college, I went home to visit my parents, and ended up ordering pizzas the first night for dinner. At the door, I pay the delivery driver, get the pizzas and say really loud and automatically "Thanks, and enjoy your pizza!" and saw a look of complete confusion on the pizza driver's face, like a total record-scratch moment.

To this day, whenever I order pizza inside my head I'm repeating "don't say thanks and enjoy your pizza, don't say thanks and enjoy your pizza..." over and over to keep it from ever happening again.
posted by mathowie at 10:55 PM on November 4, 2015 [32 favorites]


I do the "You too" thing all the time. ALL THE TIME.

The more-than-140-characters version of the one I shared:

The scene: My dorm room, sophomore year at IU. I had been talking to a friend of mine, and she had to go for a few minutes but said she would call right back. About 5 minutes later, the phone rang. (Bear in mind, this was the early 90s, well before the days of Caller ID.)

Thinking it was my friend calling back, I answered the phone with a wacky college-student greeting.

Me: "Hello, SisterHavana's House of Bondage, what can I do to you?"

*long silence*

Voice on phone: "Oh, very nice. This is your father!"

OOPS.

(My dad then proceeded to tell this story to all the relatives for the next month or so.)
posted by SisterHavana at 10:56 PM on November 4, 2015 [11 favorites]


A month into my new job at NewCompany, my phone rang. After so much conditioning at my old job, I promptly answered, "OldCompany, this is Sam!"

Then I died.

Then my boss said, from the other end of the line, ".. Hey Sam. So... Yeah, these things happen... Anyway, I need your help with Task A, I'm on the road and..."

Ugh
posted by samthemander at 11:01 PM on November 4, 2015 [7 favorites]


I was at the LA Book Fair, in one of the big tents full of books. A friend pointed out a book and asked if I'd read it. I had, and said something like ""It was fun, but kind of like third-rate Donald Westlake." My friend said "I thought it was FIRST rate!" and a booming voice behind me said "WHY THANK YOU!" It was the writer. Who was standing right behind me. All I could think of to do was run out of the tent without looking back.
posted by OolooKitty at 11:03 PM on November 4, 2015 [8 favorites]


I once sent out a batch of job applications with a cover letter that said, "I am very interesting in this position."
posted by kirkaracha at 11:04 PM on November 4, 2015 [54 favorites]


About ten years ago, at the job that (remarkably) I still have, I was in a meeting with an important potential donor (of collection materials), his wife, my boss, and others. I was trying to read aloud from text projected on the screen as part of the presentation, and was struggling a bit. The donor-to-be noticed and said, "We need to get [datawrangler] new eyes."

I flipped him the bird. Not sure he noticed but his wife did. To this day I still feel a mixture of embarrassment and yessssssssss.
posted by datawrangler at 11:05 PM on November 4, 2015 [11 favorites]


Walked into the gym child care with my four year old, like we do every weekday morning. Child care worker says, "hey there buddy! Tell me something new!"

My son says, "My mom has a furry vulva because she's an old lady."

Child care worker says "welp I definitely did not previously know that" while I strongly considered faking my own death.
posted by KathrynT at 11:41 PM on November 4, 2015 [128 favorites]


This is just my most recent: very platonic male friend and I are collaborating on a woodworking project. We are both covered in sawdust. Usually, we flip on the air compressor before we go inside the house so we don't track sawdust through the house. I asked him, "Do you want me to blow you?"
posted by Sophie1 at 11:46 PM on November 4, 2015 [14 favorites]


I swear stories like this must account for about 99% of the recruitment figures of the French Foreign Legion.
posted by um at 12:26 AM on November 5, 2015 [49 favorites]


Same goes for tramp freighters.
posted by um at 12:27 AM on November 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


Years ago. Shared student flat. Sitting watching TV with one of my flatmates and his girlfriend. Said flatmate and girlfriend had until very recently been evangelical Christians, the kind of evangelical Christians who owned books on Christian relationships that included advice like "holding hands in public is an amber light activity". They were now starting to move away from that, so they were now doing things like holding hands in public - and even in private (red light activity!) - but were clearly still very self-conscious about this, having evangelical embarrassment to wrangle with on top of standard teenage embarrassment.

So we're sitting there watching 24 or whatever, and it's coming to an end, and they start looking at each other and shuffling awkwardly and eventually my flatmate says "so, um, I think we'll, um, I think it's time for bed."

And I know that Girlfriend has never stayed over before. And I know what a big thing this is for them. And I can see how they're both embarrassed that I will even know about this, and they are both blushing, and I am trying to help by coming out with a response that sounds normal and chirpy and totally casual so as to not make any more of a Thing out of it for them, and what do I come out with?

"Have fun!"

argh.
posted by Catseye at 1:29 AM on November 5, 2015 [12 favorites]


Being in a different timezone from most everyone else stinks sometimes, I am often too late to the party. :/

In any case, this has been a great, laugh-aloud read! I love hearing about other people's foibles, as it makes my own seem less mortifying.

I offer a few examples (for posterity):

1) I often get myself into trouble because I am too honest: I can generally only lie/fib if I prepare myself to do it in advance (and even then my fib will be a truth-related misdirection). Anyway...I once needed a short-term, part-time job whilst I was attending grad school, and someone offered me one doing some secretarial-type stuff for her committee. Not riveting or difficult work, but a bit tedious and also annoying because the committee was rather disorganised. A month or two into this job, my boss - out of nowhere - asked me how I liked it. My exact words (because I hadn't anticipated the question): This job is like a fly in my face.

The look on her face was, well, memorable and she, of course, went on to ask what I meant and say how she thought I needed a job, etc. I then had to try to explain the "fly in the face" concept in the most positive, least-insulting way I could manage. I don't think I managed it so well though, and we never really discussed my attitude toward the job again.

2) I was once teaching a concept about which there were two opposing theories, one of which emphasized the general-over-the-specific ("top-down"), and the other the specific-over-the-general ("bottom-up"). I wanted the students to reflect on the theories and consider which one might have more empirical support. So I said: "Which is better: top-down or bottom-up?" I only realised that this could be miscontrued when a couple of the young men in the back snickered. I felt my face flush and immediately tried to rephrase. But it was too late. Luckily, this happened toward the end of class so I only had to stand there and act 'cool' for another 10 mins or so.

3) Ooh, this made me think of another embarrassing sexual-innuendo-related moment when I was teaching. We were discussing the credibility of eyewitness testimony in the courtroom. While giving an example to try to make the issue more vivid, I said something about how the "eyewitness had fingered the defendent" (you know, where fingering = identifying). Of course, I was laughed at again. If only I did these things intentionally!

4) This one still pains me to this day, approx 20 years later. Gloria Steinem was touring bookstores and I went to get my copy of her latest book signed when she was in town. I had spoken to my parents over the phone ahead of time and told them each what I was going to do. I asked my mom for advice as to what I should say to GS when it was finally my turn. She suggested a few things, but they all felt a bit obvious/cliche. My dad also offered me his opinion on the matter (wait for it).

Anyway, I'm standing in the queue for a LONG time, and the whole time I am trying to figure out what the heck I was going to say, and I couldn't decide! Next thing I know, it is my turn. And this is what I said after thanking her for all the work she had done to date on behalf of women (this is still awful to think about): And even my dad thinks you are one groovy chick.

Aaaaaaaaaahhhhhh! The look on her face was....ugh. If she could have shot me dead with laser-beams from her eyeballs, I would not be here to relay this story. SO AWFUL! :/

I cried all the way home in my car and rang my mom and cried to her too. I felt sick for days.

But maybe I can laught about it now, right? Ha, ha?
posted by Halo in reverse at 1:55 AM on November 5, 2015 [19 favorites]


A couple of weeks ago I and my kid were walking down our street, which is a typical Dutch city street with a row of townhouses lining the sidewalk. We came across the cuddliest neighbourhood cat sitting in front of the basement window of a house, so we crouched down to pet him.

And then a couple of things happened simultaniously: the cat had enough of it and leapt away, and my kid got up quickly and said: "Um, there's a guy in there", in what in retrospect was a very obvious don't-look-now tone of voice.

And of course I turned my head and looked right into the basement window, and there was Sid, the guy whose house it was. And he saw me and gave me a smile and a little wave with this puzzled look on his face, and I immediately realized that from his perspective it looked like I had just crouched down on the sidewalk to peek into their basement.

So I waved back cheerfully, and fled back into my own house as fast as I could, with my kid running behind me repeating "Oh no Mum, why did you do that?"

So, now we have to move.
posted by sively at 1:56 AM on November 5, 2015 [17 favorites]


A few years ago I was taking a morning walk with my infant son when it started to rain quite hard. Just down the block I saw an empty church with some nice big eaves that we should shelter under.

I ran over, stroller in tow, then stood on the porch for a while. The rain wasn't letting up so I started entertaining my son by holding him in front of each of the plants one-by-one and letting him grab at them. Slowly we worked our way around the church, and finally I decided to hold him up to a big window so he could see his reflection.

At this point I discovered that it was, in fact, not a church. It was a private home whose owner was staring at me, clearly startled and discomfited, wondering what to make of the random lady who had been wandering around her front deck for fifteen minutes in the rain.

Not sure how I got out of there, I think I waved my son at her and made a face as if to say "Babies, Iknowright?" as if that makes any sense at all. Didn't dare wander down that street again for months.
posted by forza at 2:09 AM on November 5, 2015 [21 favorites]


I was waiting in line for a teller at the bank. I was next and someone had just moved away and I was walking towards the teller when they said that they weren't ready yet so I did the stupidest little dance and said the exact words 'oopsy doodly doo' much louder than was necessary as I walked back and no-one made room for me, as they'd all moved forward, and they all looked at me as if I was a complete idiot, like no smiles at all. I stood there, cheeks blazing, for about 5 minutes before I was served.
posted by h00py at 2:58 AM on November 5, 2015 [56 favorites]


My three year old son had been toilet training and putting it into practice. He emerged from the bathroom and told the entire room in a big voice that he did a poo in the toilet and not in his big boy pants. Everyone was very impressed and he got a lot of congratulations - from all the other people at the pub.

I was talking to a friend out the front of my house when the same child tugged at my skirt and told me he wanted big knockers. Turning red, I said, um, excuse me? Aren't we a bit young for that... Yes, he said, I want to play with with Wendy's big knockers! Now Wendy is my 80 year old next door neighbour and I can vouch that she doesn't have big knockers. Turns out Wendy has been lending him her binoculars. Guess what he wanted to play with.
posted by Jubey at 3:04 AM on November 5, 2015 [10 favorites]


When I used to live in San Diego, many drunken nights ended with a mission for carne asada burritos. One time my friends and I came out of bar in an unfamiliar area so we weren't sure where to go for our Mexican food fix. In my drunken stupor I approached a stranger on the street and slurred "Hey YOU, do you know where I can find some Mexican food?!" and realised too late that the guy happened to look Mexican and now I look like I'm making kind of racist assumptions.

I think my thinking was, someone walking around this neighbourhood might know the what's in this neighbourhood? Which doesn't make any sense because we're also walking around this neighbourhood not knowing where anything is. My friends drag me away "No no, you can't say that... Let's just keep walking..."

I could have let them save me from myself but instead I decided that I could redeem the situation by shouting "No no you don't get it, he looks like he knows where there's Mexican food!". It did not redeem the situation.
posted by like_neon at 3:14 AM on November 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


not that girl: "Ellie says, "Hey, I have a question for you."

I say, "Ok, what is it?"

Ellie decides it's silly to keep hollering at each other when we could talk face to face, so she pulls open the shower curtain and steps into the cubicle with me.

Different Sue.
"

This is the comment you get when you look up "eponysterical" in the dictionary.
posted by chavenet at 3:16 AM on November 5, 2015 [25 favorites]


In line at the Dollar Store and I've got one can of some generic cola. The cashier tells me cheerily, "You know these come in four-packs?"

"Oh?" I say, "How much do they cost?"

There is a long beat as she examines my face with an exhausted look.

"They're a dollar." she says.
posted by valkane at 3:28 AM on November 5, 2015 [15 favorites]


This may not count, because I was just a kid at the time. I think about 8 years old.

My older brother's friend came to the house for a sleepover. His mother and the boy come in the front door, saying hello to everyone and my mother says "come inside" and as soon as they step inside I yell, for some reason still unknown to even me, "There's the TV!" while gesturing to said TV most emphatically. Everyone paused a beat, then burst into laughter. I didn't live that down for years.
posted by zardoz at 3:51 AM on November 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Me answering phone at work: "good aftermorning, library services technical!"
Other end of call: "..."
Me: "..."
Them: "I'd like to book a taxi to Gatwick, please."
Me: "...this is a library...?"
Them: "... *hangs up*"

A mutual phonecall of incomprehensiveness.
posted by halcyonday at 4:30 AM on November 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


i once farted in a deposition and before I could stop myself asked if that was on the record

The best part of this story is that after your comment, it was DEFINITELY on the record, because the stenographer had to record the comment and then put in a note explaining what you were referring to.

Well done!
posted by chainsofreedom at 4:56 AM on November 5, 2015 [53 favorites]


My personal contribution is once asking an amputee packing his shopping if he "needed a hand".
posted by Acey at 5:01 AM on November 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


The game Taboo is good for noun-misplacement. It's the game where you have to get your team to guess a particular word but you have to avoid using a list of words.

At one session my friend is painfully trying to come up with any clues that's not on the can't-say-list and finally blurts out "It's like... balls for your face!".

The word was eyeglasses.
posted by like_neon at 5:02 AM on November 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


barchan: i farted right after a question in my thesis defense

If that question was "do you have a rebuttal?", then that was the only thing you could have done.
posted by dr_dank at 5:08 AM on November 5, 2015 [27 favorites]


These are great! I do the "you too!!" thing probably once a week at least.

About 100 years ago in college, I ran into a friend outside after class.
Her: What class do you have in this building?
Me: Journalism
Her: Who's your teacher?
Me: .... I don't remember his name...
Her: Well what does he look like?
Me: (this is happening about 3 minutes after class, mid semester) I don't really remember? He's a man? With maybe brownish hair? I don't remember if he has glasses. Maybe. Maybe he has a beard...
Professor walking past: If you can't describe me any better than that, you're not going to do well as a journalist!!
Me: (dies)

So maybe a week later, I'm talking to different friend.
Me: OMG SO EMBARRASSING so there I am saying maybe he has hair and I don't know maybe a beard or glasses...
Professor walking past: You still have no idea what I look like!!!

I did not become a journalist.
posted by artychoke at 5:29 AM on November 5, 2015 [158 favorites]


In the receiving line at a wake:
"It's good to see you. How are you?"
Me: "I'm good. How are you today?"
*awkward silence*
Me: "Riiiiiiight."


I received a call for my grandfather shortly after his death and after notifying the caller that he had passed, habitually offered to take a message. Now I do it intentionally. "Sorry, you have the wrong number; there's no Susan here. Can I take a message for her?"
posted by dances with hamsters at 5:41 AM on November 5, 2015 [9 favorites]


I received a call for my grandfather shortly after his death and after notifying the caller that he had passed, habitually offered to take a message.

I read the first part of that sentence as, "I received a call from my grandfather shortly after his death..."
posted by lharmon at 5:45 AM on November 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


So I was walking in the woods of northern New England with this super hot California boy, and we passed a rock with a divet. It reminded him of the mortars used by Native Californians to prepare acorns for consumption, and he proceeded to tell me all about how you can eat acorns if you grind them and wash the poison out of the meal, &c. I'd had no idea about any of this, and my mind was blown.

My mind was in fact SO blown that I completely & instantly forgot the source of this fascinating information. And that is how, not even 5 minutes later when we passed that very the same rock on the way back, I acted on an overwhelming urge to impress the cute guy by telling him Cool New Facts All About Preparing Acorns.

I was expecting a reaction of interest and fascination. Instead he stared at me with a look of utter confusion.

"I just told you that!"

And then, rather than immediately & properly dying of embarrassment, I made matters worse by insisting that no no, I'd really learned it someplace else (because surely I'd remember if he'd just told me, right?), forcing him to argue with me before I finally accepted the horrifying truth of what I'd done. How we're still together I'll never know.
posted by Westringia F. at 5:45 AM on November 5, 2015 [52 favorites]


> sexual-innuendo-related moment when I was teaching

Oh god just this week I was giving a lecture on Polya urn models and I said over and over and over again "so imagine I reach down and grab some balls...."
posted by Westringia F. at 5:56 AM on November 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


A guy I knew would visit the same convenience store nearly nightly after he'd moved to rural Japan. Not knowing much Japanese at all, he heard the clerk greet him with "irasshaimase" and, figuring it basically just meant "good evening," he'd repeat it back all chipper and friendly-like. It wasn't for weeks that someone finally took him aside and explained that, no, that meant "welcome," and the clerks would have to work to stifle their laughter whenever they saw him coming.
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:57 AM on November 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


I spent several of my first few days in coastal Kenya saying "samaki" (fish) instead of "samahani" (excuse me) whenever I bumped into someone or get past someone, or wanted to ask a question. I figured the startled looks I was getting were just because it was so strange to hear a white person in Kenya using Swahili (and was pretty proud of myself) until my professor explained what was going on.
posted by ChuraChura at 6:15 AM on November 5, 2015 [23 favorites]


While in Puerto Rico, I got my French and Spanish twisted up and asked a gas station attendant, "Ou sont los banos?"

To which he responded, " The bathroom is over there."
posted by teleri025 at 6:26 AM on November 5, 2015 [16 favorites]


Mostly I don't remember these kind of things but just last night I stopped in to the local convenience store and after the cashier said, "Have a good night" my brain got stuck halfway between "Take it easy" and "You too" and what actually came out of my mouth-hole was, "Takea eeooo yootooo."


I blame you all.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:01 AM on November 5, 2015 [19 favorites]


When teaching in Malawi (my students ranged in age from about 11 to 14 years), I would sprinkle some Chichewa words and phrases into my lesson. When someone got an answer right, I'd congratulate them by saying "Mwakodza!" which would usually be followed by a round of stifled giggling from the class. I'd been doing this for about a month before I learned my critical error:

Mwakhoza! = You're right!
Mwakodza! = You have urinated!
posted by duffell at 7:14 AM on November 5, 2015 [48 favorites]


No misplaced "And you" or "You, too" today (yet), but I am having a private little giggle each time I hear or say those phrases.
posted by jaruwaan at 7:19 AM on November 5, 2015


Over the phone on a voice mail:

"…and my last name is spelled K, O, R, T, as in… tea…"
posted by Turkey Glue at 7:20 AM on November 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


The first time I went skiing, I had to return a set of rental skis. This involved exiting the lodge through a revolving door. As I'm halfway through, the door stops turning. I look behind and my poles are stuck in the door.

No problem! I'll just push the door backwards and…

*whumpa whumpa*

…the door won't spin in the opposite direction. So I'm stuck in a glass booth, pushing a door that won't budge, worried about how the fire department will free me in front of a growing crowd of spectators when…

"Zach! Your skis are stuck in the other side!"

I managed to get ski poles and skis caught in opposite ends of a revolving door without noticing. The door spun just fine once they were dislodged.
posted by Turkey Glue at 7:51 AM on November 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


I spent several of my first few days in coastal Kenya saying "samaki" (fish) instead of "samahani" (excuse me) whenever I bumped into someone or get past someone, or wanted to ask a question. I figured the startled looks I was getting were just because it was so strange to hear a white person in Kenya using Swahili (and was pretty proud of myself) until my professor explained what was going on.

In Portugal in May, I went into a store to buy a small tile magnet for a coworker who had requested a magnet from my trip. I know about six words of Portuguese, so the conversation is limited, but I've been trying to use what little I know. I finish the transaction, go to say thank you, look confidently at the woman and with a big smile say "Azulejo!" (the word for the type of tile) instead of "Obrigado." Naturally, I turned and ran before I could see her expression.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 7:57 AM on November 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


My two year old, after flushing: "Bye bye pee pee! I love you."

Yeah, I know, not the same thing. But it still cracks me up.
posted by OnceUponATime at 8:00 AM on November 5, 2015 [26 favorites]


When you recount this tale in front of their prom date at age 16 it will have the desired effect.
posted by poffin boffin at 8:04 AM on November 5, 2015 [49 favorites]


I spent several of my first few days in coastal Kenya saying "samaki" (fish) instead of "samahani" (excuse me) whenever I bumped into someone or get past someone,

I spend a pretty fair amount of my working life making my way through crowds, and now I want to do this quietly murmuring "Fish. Fish. Fish? Fish. Fish. Fish." in the standard "Excuse me" inflection. . . . . .
posted by soundguy99 at 8:12 AM on November 5, 2015 [27 favorites]


My mechanic recently called me, and I answered the phone with "WHAT'S SHAKIN'?" ...thinking it was my friend.
posted by pepcorn at 8:26 AM on November 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


I've been away from my regular choir rehearsals for 2 weeks, and in that time we added 3 more people to our roster. After rehearsal last night, one of the new folks walks up to me, and says, "Hi, onehalfjunco. We haven't met yet. I'm Aliya"
"Oh yeah. Good to meet you. I'm Aliya"
...
"No, I'm Aliya. You're onehalfjunco"
So then I double down on my idiocy as if I've intended this hilarious joke all along.
"I assure you, I'm Ailya"
She just looked at me confusedly and walked away.

great.
posted by onehalfjunco at 8:26 AM on November 5, 2015 [10 favorites]


Back in college before cell phones were really a thing, I'd occasionally e-mail my mom with updates since I lived on campus. One day as I was writing the e-mail I was being way more sappy than normal and I sent it and went on with my day. That night I had a meeting with a social group I was a member of and one of the people there said something that caused my heart to stop beating, a reference to something they couldn't possibly have known.

Turns out I had sent the e-mail to the wrong address, to an e-mail list-serv for the social group. Like 100 people got my sappy e-mail that was meant for my mom. DIED.
posted by Green With You at 8:29 AM on November 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


Some of these are very good but I can't favorite them because then a little bit of the horribleness will cling to me forever.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:36 AM on November 5, 2015 [12 favorites]


Once I was waiting outside my gate for a friend to pick me up. She drove a white Volvo station wagon. We had been having an ongoing text exchange that somehow involved us acting like birds (I seriously have no fucking clue what that was about). Anyway, as she pulled up, I jumped in front of her car and flapped my "wings" (something to do with the fucking birds), then ran excitedly to jump into the passenger seat (I was enthusiastic about the fact it was Friday and we were headed out for drinks). Imagine my surprise as I tried to jump into my friend's car, and the poor stranger whose car it really was locked their door to keep the crazy bird lady out of his car. As I realized my mistake, I turned and ran in embarrassment back through my gate, and the stranger in the white Volvo pulled into the driveway next to my own. Reader, the stranger was my neighbor, and he hasn't spoken to me since.
posted by msali at 8:38 AM on November 5, 2015 [50 favorites]


> Breast,
> Erin


I have signed an unfortunate number of work emails with "my vest, liz" or even "lix" if the ulnar nerve gods are feeling particularly capricious.
posted by poffin boffin at 8:39 AM on November 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


When I was traveling solo in Italy, I spent a couple days in Napoli. My Italian was rudimentary but outside of Rome, it was a toss up whether anyone spoke English. I ventured out to put together a picnic lunch for my day and sat down and made a list of the things I wanted in English and Italian. I struggled with the weight conversion, pounds and kilograms. This was before smartphones and I just sort of figured it out as best I could.

I find a store with meats and cheeses. I look around and finally the guy gets to me. I cannot find my list! No problem. I say politely (forgive all spelling and grammar from here on out), "quindici grammi o prosciutto." The guy goggles at me. "Quindici grammi?! Quindici grammi?" I realize I've made a terrible error but I can't pick among all the things I've possibly done wrong. "Si?" I stutter. Then he gestures at the huge ham displayed on the wall and again says, slowly, "quin-dici-grammi?" Now I don't know whether I've asked for a vast amount of pork or what. I try to explain that it's for "sandwiches?" He just looks incredulous and puts his hands on his hips.

I got no ham that day.

*15 grams is, in fact, a very, very small amount of prosciutto.
posted by amanda at 8:44 AM on November 5, 2015 [15 favorites]


When I was a kid, one of my friends was a kid about four years my junior named Jake. That is a huge gap when you are a child -- not many seven-year-olds hanging out with kids who are eleven -- but our mothers were coworkers and good friends and Jake and I had a lot of the same interests (Star Wars, principally).

One summer day Jake and I and our mothers were all at the seaside, on a crowded beach. Jake, maybe eight or nine at this point, mentioned to his mother that he had to pee. The nearest public washroom was about two blocks away and very crowded on a hot summer day and no one felt like trudging up there through the teeming masses. His mom said, "Jake, honey, it's okay -- you can just go in the lake." Jake goggled at this but was assured that the expanses of Lake Erie would not be fouled by the contents of one child's bladder.

And so he marched out into the lake up to his knees, dropped his bathing suit, and let fly. I guess his mom should have been more specific.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:47 AM on November 5, 2015 [13 favorites]


After fleeing that shop with bread, cheese and fizzy water (con gas) I very much amused the next deli guy by requesting a "small pile of tomatoes" (piccolo pilè o pomodoro) and exactly 10 olives. He dropped them in a container with my "small pile" and gleefully counted each one. Then he added olive oil, pinch of salt and pepper and sprinkling of herbs over the whole thing. It was fucking delicious.
posted by amanda at 8:49 AM on November 5, 2015 [23 favorites]


Thought of another one.

My dad was going to call up my mother to ask her out on a (first) date. He doesn't like using the phone. He dials, palms sweaty, and waits.
"Hello?"
"Hi, is Lisa there? This is Dave Lastname."

Bemused pause. "No, but try again, son. You'll get it."
It was HIS dad. He had called his own parents.
posted by castlebravo at 9:05 AM on November 5, 2015 [71 favorites]


I recently met my husband's ex-girlfriend and her parents at their home near Portland. I have heard a bit about her and from my husband's description she seemed like an impressive, interesting person, so of course I was eager to make a good impression. And you can imagine that there was the potential for it to be awkward -- me and her ex boyfriend (my now-husband) showing up after all of these years. So when her mother began asking me questions about our life and family, I tried to answer them as forthrightly and enthusiastically as possible.

"Where did you meet?" she asks me.

"At work," I say.

"And how long have you been married?"

"Three years," I reply.

"How many kids do you have?" The normal questions, bang bang bang, one after the other.

"Three," I say, smiling.

"Oh, and what about sex?" she asks.

"Yes, we do have sex," I answer.

Then, too late, I realize that what she was asking was OF COURSE not "Do you and your husband have sex?" but "What is the gender of your children?"

If only she had said "What about THE sex?" I would have immediately known what she was trying to ask. And to be honest, I thought it was a little weird and sort of intrusive that her line of questioning had taken this extremely personal turn all of the sudden, but, hey, this is Portland, and maybe this is what they do out here, and I was pretty desperate to fit in and come off as friendly and accessible and accommodating.

But no. She and my husband stared at me in horror while I tried to pretend that I had just had a massive stroke or was not really a native English speaker and thus was not responsible for anything coming out of my mouth.
posted by staggering termagant at 9:14 AM on November 5, 2015 [49 favorites]


To be fair that is an extremely awkward and unnecessary way of phrasing that question. She should be in here sharing that story from her point of view.
posted by bleep at 10:04 AM on November 5, 2015 [46 favorites]


My current "favorite"[1] email embarrassment: I work for a very large tech firm. We use an off-the-shelf data mining package to store log data from all of our servers. If, in an email, you forget to capitalize the name of this software, auto-correct will turn it into a very different word. So, if you're like me, and you're typing very quickly, you end up sending endless emails to your boss talking about 'spunk repositories'.

Luckily, he thinks it's hilarious Every. Damn. Time.

[1] No, not 'favorite'. That other word. 'Hated'.
posted by hanov3r at 10:06 AM on November 5, 2015 [13 favorites]


First day of orientation; first year of university. A guy double takes at me as I walk by. "Tim! Tim, how are you?" he says. "Haven't seen you for a while." I stop and look around at him awkwardly, because my name isn't Tim." "Er, I'm not Tim," I say. We share an awkward moment of silence. I look at him again; he's kind of familiar looking. "Hey," I say, trying to deflate the awkwardness. "Didn't we play cricket together? Cornwall Under 12s?" Because we totally did. "Yeah," he says hesitantly, as though he's not sure. "Ages and ages ago. I can't remember your name, sorry." But that's OK, because I can't remember his. And so we share another, more awkward moment together in silence. Good times.
posted by Sonny Jim at 10:06 AM on November 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


And also, I was standing in a very long line at the convenience store the other day, waiting for my biscuit. I was bored, standing there, and so I decided to try to strike up a conversation with a stranger. I looked around at the other people in the line and noticed that the young guy right behind me was dressed entirely in camouflage. So I said, very somberly, "Thank you for your service to our country."

Only then did I realize that he was dressed not in military camo, but in hunting camo.

"Yes ma'am," he said around the plug of chaw in his lip.
posted by staggering termagant at 10:08 AM on November 5, 2015 [13 favorites]


I got that from the opposite side. I was wearing this old canvas Army shirt as a jacket, because it was a rainy day and that thing keeps water off like nobody's business.

A little kid stopped and told me, "Thank you for defending my country."

It had been a very rainy day, I was damp from the knees down, my hair resembled some kind of angry beached jellyfish, and the kid's mom was beaming at her son and waiting expectantly for me to say something appropriately heroic.

"I, uh, I never did, my uh boyfriend, he owned this shirt, he went to Iraq about ten years ago, you probably weren't even born then..."

I have put the shirt away and will never again wear it no matter how perfect it is to keep the rain off me. And the kid probably got a lecture about talking to crazy people. So it goes.
posted by cmyk at 10:15 AM on November 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


My nine-year-old brother brought a water pistol with him when we went out to dinner. When my mom saw him take it out to use on me, she said in her loudest, sternest voice: "Firstname Middlename Lastname, put down that gun right now!", and customers were diving under their tables.
posted by QuakerMel at 10:15 AM on November 5, 2015 [26 favorites]


Finally, I tried to make a new mom friend at the playground and forgot that I had a rat in my sweater. The rat poked his nose out of the v in my sweater right at the moment I was trying to seal the deal with the new mom. We did not end up being friends.

The whole story is much longer, and much lamer.
posted by staggering termagant at 10:16 AM on November 5, 2015 [19 favorites]


Also, the one about mistaken use of spray glitter before a gynecologist's visit has been circulating at least since I was a senior in college. I doubt it was the same woman, so I therefore declare it an urban myth.

This may be so, but when my second kid was a baby he and I battled an endless thrush infection we kept passing back and forth. Thrush, for those who don't know it, is just a yeast infection in the baby's mouth, but it can transfer to mom's nipples. It can be very hard to get rid of because mom and baby give it to each other repeatedly. At some point, we were treating it with gentian violet, which is a deep purple solution applied topically. The baby had a purple mouth and I had purple nipples during this time.

At some point, I got a vaginal yeast infection as well, and went to my doctor to get it checked out. I undressed, got into the stirrups, and my doctor took a look, paused, and said, "Um, is there something else we need to talk about?"

I had forgotten to mention that before I gave up and went to the doctor, I'd tried treating myself with gentian violet. I had presented her with genitals that were, essentially, painted dark purple.
posted by not that girl at 10:42 AM on November 5, 2015 [29 favorites]


Yeah, she wasn't tugging for attention. When I'd gone to the bathroom before the service I had tucked the whole back of my dress into my pantyhose. I think she might have peed herself laughing when she told me afterwards. The rest of the family thought it was funny too, especially Grandma.

At the honors assembly the day before my high school graduation, I was on my way to the stage for an award and one of the volunteer herder-moms said to me, "Dear, you've got a bit of dirt on the back of your gown."

I shrugged, thinking I'd picked up some dust off my car when I got out, and that I'd sponge it off after the assembly.

Turned out what she meant by "a little dirt" was "great blots and drips of menstrual blood on your baby-blue graduation gown." I hadn't picked up on it because we were in a gymnasium so sweltering that I assumed any wetness I felt was sweat. I collected several awards that way before a friend gave me a more useful heads-up.

The moral of this story is that there is a time and place for polite euphemisms, and this was not it, herder-mom.
posted by not that girl at 10:49 AM on November 5, 2015 [32 favorites]


I had my regular glasses on instead of my computer glasses and ended a text chat session with an opposite-sex co-worker with a kissy smiley instead of the nerd smiley that I had intended.
============================================================
Checking out of a hotel in Argentina, intending to gesture towards my husband a few feet behind me gathering the luggage, I pointed my thumb behind me and pivoted around, only to find that he had come up behind without my being aware of it, and my thumb had landed directly in his mouth. (We still laugh about this uncontrollably to this day; the absurdity cancels out the embarrassment.)
posted by matildaben at 10:51 AM on November 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


I was interviewing someone from the municipality after a press conference. Standing there, tapping my pen against my chin and nodding. Fumbled and dropped my pen down my cleavage.

Now, I don't actually have cleavage as the boob fairy never came for me. I've also lost all sense of shame because stupid shit like that happens to me every week or so. So in a ninja move, I plunge my hand down my neckline and retrieve my pen, all the while staring into the guy's eyes in fascination while he lists the planned housing projects of the next few years. Willing him not to look down.

He had the good grace to pretend that it worked!
posted by Omnomnom at 10:59 AM on November 5, 2015 [9 favorites]


I used to suffer a lot of pratfalls when I was younger. I've gotten better at not falling on my face as I've aged, but around fifteen? Constant.

My favorite of these was when I fell off a friend's porch. It had proper steps on the front, but on the side leading to the driveway there was just a pair of cinder blocks leading to a gravel walkway with big stone pavers. I missed something on my way down, pitched forward, and landed sprawled like a frog on an unforgiving patch of gravel.

My friends chorused behind me: "Are you okay?" "Oh god, cmyk!"

I was focused on one object about two inches from my nose and somehow the absurdity of finding it there was the only reply I could give: "Hey, did you drop your pager?"
posted by cmyk at 11:00 AM on November 5, 2015 [6 favorites]


Oh! Our company had just been bought by an investor and we were all expecting pay cuts and workforce decimations.
So here I am, working away at my keyboard through lunchtime, when my boss says, "hey Om, I can't finish my last slice of pizza. Want it?"
I wasn't all that hungry, but why not, I thought.

So I pick up the greasy slice, take one big bite...and there is a hustle and a bustle and a big to-do at the door because New Hotshot Owner has just entered the room.

He wants to get to know everyone! He wants to shake our hands! He walks up to me! I miserably put down my pizza and give him one smelly greasy handshake.
posted by Omnomnom at 11:07 AM on November 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


A few weeks ago I was in the produce section of the supermarket. I reached up to tear off a plastic bag, holding the roll steady with my left hand. I guess the angle was weird or something because it didn't tear. I tried again. Nothing. Again. Nothing. I realize the woman next to me has taken notice, and I try again. Finally after another try or two the bag tore off. This is precisely the kind of thing I would normally be the first to laugh about, even with a total stranger, but for some reason I just turned to her and said, "I'm not very strong." And then I made the Debbie Downer face. Why? Why?
posted by Room 641-A at 11:12 AM on November 5, 2015 [14 favorites]


Called a colleague I would run into occasionally "Reggie" for 3 years until one day he stopped me and said "my name's not Reggie, it's Craig...."

OMG. For years at work a friendly guy would call me "Megs." Like, "what's up, Megs?", "good to see you, Megs," all the time. My last name happens to start with M-e-g, so I just assumed he'd made up this cool little nickname for me playing off my last name, and I just responded as if it was totally normal. A handful of years later, he comes into my office holding a printed out email I had sent him, and he asked "your name is Jen?", aghast. It turns out that for years he thought my name was Megan, and he was like "why did you respond to Megs?!" And I was like "I thought you gave me a cool nickname!"
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 11:13 AM on November 5, 2015 [31 favorites]


Then there was the time I was sent on a trip to Poland to see a newly built car factory. Only it turned out the trip had been misrepresented and my job there was to test drive cars together with a bunch of seasoned motor journalists.
They were tearing up the Polish countryside with 140 Km/h!
Then they all had to wait for me while I took the curves with a terrifying 30 Km/h, and then in Warsaw proper the press rep gently removed the steering wheel from my grasp because I was too scared to park.

They were all really nice to me once the misunderstanding had beem cleared up, though!
posted by Omnomnom at 11:18 AM on November 5, 2015 [10 favorites]


I forgot that I had a rat in my sweater

Any story that can contain a sentence like this is automatically awesome, and likewise any person who can tell a story that includes this sentence.
posted by not that girl at 11:26 AM on November 5, 2015 [25 favorites]


When I was 11, I asked my Mormon uncle, "How's it hanging?"

One character had said it to another character in a book I was reading, and I had no idea what it was referring to, I just thought it was a cool greeting. Now I remember his expression every time I see him.
posted by jenjenc at 11:36 AM on November 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


College dorm bathroom, circa 1970. I'm sitting meditatively in a stall when I suddenly remember some annoyance from earlier in the day (wrong answer on a test, maybe?) and burst out with "Oh, shit." A chipper voice from beyond the door, pleased with its own wit, instantly responds "That's what it is, all right!" Then I can practically hear his brain going "Not cool, he may be having a health crisis, or maybe a parent died," and he says "Sorry, man!" I chuckled weakly and reassured him that it was no big deal, but I think we both learned a lesson that day about blurting things out in public restrooms.

> "Oh, John Mark," I said, "how is your chest?" Or, well, that was what I meant to say (in Swahili) - Habari za kifuo? Instead, I asked him "Habari za kifaru," which actually means "How is your rhinoceros?"

Well, Habari za kifuo? would have been better, but it means "How is your stake for ripping off coconut husks?"

"Chest" is kifua.

posted by languagehat at 11:37 AM on November 5, 2015 [27 favorites]


Just got off the phone from this happening:

Person scheduling my MRI: "Last name L-A-S-T-N-A-M-E?"
Me: "That's correct."
Scheduler: "First name N-A-M-E?"
Me: "Yes."
Scheduler: "And do you have a middle name or initial?"
Me: "No."
Scheduler starts laughing, and after a sec says, "I just put down 'No' as your middle name."
posted by not that girl at 11:39 AM on November 5, 2015 [16 favorites]


Not That Girl, your story is the only one on here that really made me think, "Oh my God, I would die." Congratulations?
posted by staggering termagant at 11:39 AM on November 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


Swahili is a really interesting language!
posted by Omnomnom at 11:40 AM on November 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


I used to work in an office where we were constantly signing birthday cards for co-workers. They got passed around in file folders so the recipient would not know they were getting a birthday card. A folder got passed to me, I didn't bother to look at it, and scrawled a hasty "happy birthday!" message.

Found it later it was a Get Well Soon card.
posted by maurice at 11:44 AM on November 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


> When I was 11, I asked my Mormon uncle, "How's it hanging?"

Oh, that reminds me of another one! I was an obsessive devourer of sf as a kid, and I was reading Cyril M. Kornbluth's "The Marching Morons" in the car on a family trip; I was so delighted with the catch phrase "Would you buy it for a quarter?" that I repeated it out loud as I was reading. Then I fastened on the name of the future game show in the story, "Take It and Stick It," and I started hollering that over and over. My father, who grew up Southern Baptist and didn't cotton to anything that even smacked of indecorousness, pulled over, glared at me, and told me not to say that again. "But... why??" "YOU KNOW WHY!!" But I didn't! I had no idea! But his reaction gave me a hint, and I was hideously embarrassed. Poor dad didn't enjoy it either, and I suspect he felt foolish once he realized that I was genuinely clueless.
posted by languagehat at 11:46 AM on November 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


Not That Girl, your story is the only one on here that really made me think, "Oh my God, I would die." Congratulations?

For some reason, I got over getting my period in front of the entire graduating class really quickly and easily, and am only ever amused by the story. But I can still flush when I think about this time in grad school 15 years ago when I opened a door walked into a room I thought my meeting was in but there was another meeting already in progress there.
posted by not that girl at 11:47 AM on November 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


I'm usually not terribly amused by basic Japanese language mix-ups (kirei/kirai and kawaii/kawaiso are amateur hour), but I do still snicker inwardly when I think of the time my dashing gay friend tried to offer an elderly gentleman a seat (suwatte mo ii) and instead ended up telling him it was okay to touch (sawaide mo ii). He realized only much later why the gentleman left in a huff.

Actually, that reminds me of the time I saw a cute little potted succulent with a little sign in the pot that I assumed said the name of the plant, so I grabbed it and started to read slowly and loudly, "SA-WA-RA-NA--oh fuck." (It said "Do not touch.")

(Thanks to this thread I have realized I am that gaijin that ruins everything for all other gaijin, only no one suspects it of me because I'm a woman and Asian.)
posted by sunset in snow country at 11:49 AM on November 5, 2015 [14 favorites]


forgive my vowels, it's been a few years :-)
posted by ChuraChura at 11:51 AM on November 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Even the mighty Wonderella can have issues with this.
posted by FatherDagon at 12:29 PM on November 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


This one happened to my mom, before I was born. She and my dad were newlyweds touring the country in their VW wagon. They had stopped at a McDonald's somewhere for breakfast - they placed their order and then dad paid, got the food, and sat down while mom went to the bathroom.

Well, mom, she comes out, sits down, takes the hashbrown off the tray and has a bite, then starts pouring the cream and sugar to mix dad's coffee for him, chatting dad up about their plans for that day...

except it isn't dad at that table, it's some complete stranger who's just been staring at her the whole time. Dad's 2 tables over watching with a huge grin. Mom jumps up screaming at the poor guy:

"WHO THE HECK ARE YOU???"

Honestly I think our poor stranger got the better story out of that one.
posted by allkindsoftime at 12:41 PM on November 5, 2015 [18 favorites]


I grew up in Texas and have now been living in Rome for over 17 years.

There is a rude idiom for something done shoddily - fatto a cazzo di cane, literally done like a dog's dick.

I am forever famous amongst certain friends (who never fail to tell new mutual acquaintances) for repeatedly saying fatto a cazzo di cavallo.

Cavallo is horse.

While this is a source of great hilarity for my Italian friends, trying to dig my way out of it was met with puzzled faces, heads cocked like a dog waiting for understanding.

"Everything's bigger In Texas" just doesn't translate, culturally speaking.
posted by romakimmy at 12:48 PM on November 5, 2015 [16 favorites]



> Breast,
> Erin

I have signed an unfortunate number of work emails with "my vest, liz" or even "lix" if the ulnar nerve gods are feeling particularly capricious.


My boss, prior to my current one, was named Doug. Had to forcibly train myself NOT to type "Dough" EVERY time I sent him an email.
posted by dlugoczaj at 12:49 PM on November 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


A couple from college. Twenty years later, I am still cringing:

My small senior-level class was meeting at the library and we were waiting for the quite proper professor, Dr. Michael Charles (not real name). He was late, and I was getting impatient. I loudly said, "Come on Mikey, get your ass in here!" not realizing he was standing right behind me the whole time.


I had to give a presentation on the Magna Carta in said professor's class, which would be a major part of our grade. I absolutely hate to give presentations and speak in front of others, but I knew I had done a great job of studying and research, and was well prepared with detailed notes. For some reason, I wrote all the major players' names with just an initial: J for John, W for William, etc. in my notes. I even wrote MC for Magna Carta. A guy I had a crush on was in the class, and as I presented, he kept giving me these great smiles throughout. When I was done, I thought I had done a fabulous job and finally got the attention of my crush. After the class, another friend came over and said I had used the initials instead of the full names, so I was saying things like, "J was opposed to the MC, but H and W pressed on with their entreaties." Ugh. I did manage to pass the class somehow.
posted by ElleElle at 12:49 PM on November 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


I was at a convention a few years back, and I met Chris Sarandon. I shook his hand and told him how much I liked him in The Princess Bride, and he thanked me politely. Then I said, "Really, I think Count Rugen is one of the great screen villains."

He said, "Thanks, but I didn't play Count Rugen."

I gasped audibly. I had confused him with Christopher Guest, and he knew it. I tried to play it off as a slip of the tongue, saying, "I meant Prince Humperdinck, of course!" but it was too late. The damage had been done. I slunk away in shame.

I try to avoid talking to celebrities.

Much better was the time I went to the local grocery/deli where I usually get my lunch. I had just placed my order with Billy, the sandwich guy, when a well-dressed older woman walked up to me, put her hand on my arm and said, "Oh, hi! How are you?"

I panicked. Who was this woman? I have a terrible memory for faces, so she could have been anybody: a distant aunt, a friend of my mother's, who knows? So of course I did the usual thing and bluffed. "Hi! I'm fine! How are you?"

We ended up in a whole conversation, my mind racing the whole time. "I didn't know you worked around here!" "Yeah, I work just around the corner." Et cetera, et cetera.

Finally, Billy handed me my sandwich and I was able to escape. I took it over to the cashier, who had witnessed the whole ordeal, and I shamefacedly whispered, "I have absolutely no idea who that woman is."

Just then, Billy came over to the register. He told me that after I had walked away, the woman had turned to him and said, "Is that guy's name Steve?" He told her no.

She said, "I fucked up."
posted by Faint of Butt at 12:50 PM on November 5, 2015 [43 favorites]


Breast,
Erin


Oh my god, I have done this many times too, except it is forgetting the L in "public."
posted by everybody had matching towels at 12:51 PM on November 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


I had the hiccups in the middle of my physics class during my junior year in high school. I was trying to stifle them so no one would notice, and of course that worked exactly the opposite of the way it was supposed to. I opened my mouth and emitted the loudest, sharpest hiccup I have ever produced. Everyone turned around and looked at me and I asked our teacher if I could go get a drink. He said yes and I headed out while one of the wise-ass "popular" guys (you know the type, the ones who are popular even though nobody actually likes them) said "Oh. I thought she barked. I was going to throw her a Milk-Bone."
posted by dlugoczaj at 12:53 PM on November 5, 2015


But I can still flush when I think about this time in grad school 15 years ago when I opened a door walked into a room I thought my meeting was in but there was another meeting already in progress there.

Working in a hostel in the last century I had to go up to the rooms around noon and make sure people checking out that day had actually departed (sometimes they had not informed the front desk, just skedaddled to catch a train or something). Traditionally it was slightly cagier in private rooms: we always knocked a couple of times, paused, then opened the door a few inches and called out "Front desk!" to do our best to avoid startling someone who had just stepped out of the shower or something.

It was unavoidable that if you did this long enough, you would eventually find your knock and announcement of your arrival had gone unnoticed because the two people in the room were in flagrante delicto. I had the distinction of being the only staffer there who ever walked in on three people up to no good. They had apparently all been preoccupied making merry sport and it was only when I stepped into the room that three sets of eyes turned toward me. I am not sure which of the four of us was most startled at that instant.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:05 PM on November 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


If I had a nickel for every time someone looked at me, their face lighting up and I've smiled and waved back... I would long ago have buried myself in a shame-pile of "they were waving at the person behind me" nickels.

This isn't as much of a problem any more since I no longer respond to anyone unless I'm absolutely sure they're waving to me... this has also led to some awkwardness but so much less.

But none of those compare to leaving a lunch and realizing I forgot to tell the other person something. So I call out "Dad! DAD! DAD!" to get their attention. They only respond after the last shout with a confused look because they weren't my dad... they were my boss.

...shame-pile...
posted by ghostiger at 1:26 PM on November 5, 2015 [23 favorites]


I try to avoid talking to celebrities.

Oh dear this thread is bringing up so many embarassing situations that I had forgotten.

The set-up: 15ish years old and I got a job as crowd extra on a movie.First time I did had done this. We got very explicit instructions on what to do which included, do not talk to the main actors unless they talk to you first. This was emphasized several times. The other big one was extra food is over here, any other tables of food do not touch.

So during one of the scenes I was taken out of the main crowd that was attending a reception in a gym and assigned to walk back and forth by the door to the gym. My starting/waiting spot was out of camera range and beside the actors fully loaded craft table. This included a couple of trays of very yummy looking sandwiches. I worked hard at ignoring them....so hungry by that time.

I'm working hard at doing what I was instructed. I was the best darn door walker. Then there was a short break and what do you know here comes the person I know as the Karate Kid. He stood a couple of feet away from me looking at the food. I get all weirded out because while I don't necessarily get star struck when I do see celebrities it feels surreal because they're 3d and in person they just look all weird because yes totally familiar but only 2 dimensionally. So that's where my head is at and also I'm getting extra weirded out because we are the only two people in the area and I'm following instructions and not saying anything and trying to ignore him and it just felt socially wrong and awkward in a general sense.

He grabs a sandwich and says 'hi'

My brain "OKAY HE TALKED JALLI IT IS OKAY TO TALK NOW" (I do remember it as all caps head talking)

Me as cool as I can "Hi" then silence

Him while eating "Hey do you want a sandwich?"

My Brain "REMEMBER YOUR INSTRUCTIONS JALLI"

Me: "No I can't eat."

Him: "Yeah sure you can eat"

Me " I'm not allowed to eat that."

Him: "Sure you are, here" and he grabs a sandwich and holds it out to me.

My Brain "I THINK ITS OKAY JALLI THE KARATE KID IS HANDING YOU THE SANDWICH. YOU WILL NOT GET INTO TROUBLE"

I took it, offered a quick thanks and took a bite without looking at it. So what happen next was classic me. I have a really awful gag reflex when I eat seafood. Like hard to control, hack, choke and spit it out sort of reflex.

It was a tuna sandwich. It wasn't pretty.

40+ year old me would have been able to deal and smooth it over. 15 year old me just died and I could do nothing but stand there with half chewed tuna sandwich in my hand.

From what I remember Karate Kid was cool and I think he handed me a napkin. I really don't remember for sure. All I remember is being so relieved when he was called back to set.
posted by Jalliah at 1:30 PM on November 5, 2015 [19 favorites]


Youll enjoy this one, ricochet. Immediately after the 2000 Giubileo wound down, Rome hosted the Deaf Olympics. My friend and coworker was working the night shift when out filed the only 6 non-deaf guests in the entire hostel at 3am. Because two other guests were having some fun in the dorm room and didn't realize how loud their activities actually were.

It was like some bad zen koan parody of those Truely Tasteless joke books from the 80's: how do you stop two deaf people fucking so the rest of their dorm could go back to sleep?

I think he flickered the lights and then had to pantomime "no fucking in the dorms," because he'd forgot to bring pen and paper with in his agitation.
posted by romakimmy at 1:32 PM on November 5, 2015 [15 favorites]


Youll enjoy this one, ricochet.

You are correct!
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:58 PM on November 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Trying to be smooth with a Sr VP to whom I was temporarily reporting, I referenced, "Leadershipness." He gave me a blank stare & I said, "I just made up a new word didn't I?" Eventually he cracked a smile and said, "I think I kind of like it. Leadershipness, huh?" But still. *Leadershipness*?

We also have a thing that runs in our family where we forget words for things. I spent years calling the lid to a pot a "hat", to the eternal amusement of my children who were like, "Mom, you mean a *lid*?" Yeah, that thing. Words, man.
posted by susanbeeswax at 2:02 PM on November 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


The four of us were standing there and the guy I was dating made a very casual introduction, and out of habit I assertively extended my hand towards them and said, "Pleased to meet you." The three of them just stood there and stared at my hand and after a few moments we all just awkwardly walked away. Fortunately I did not end up seeing the roommate or the girlfriend during the couple of months we were together but it still mortifies me to this day.

...So handshakes are stodgy? How is this an indication of anything other than that they were just massive dicks to you?
posted by psoas at 2:09 PM on November 5, 2015 [24 favorites]


I'm puttering around in a dimly-lit basement gathering garden tools, my feet insulated from the ground by the thick soles of my Danish clogs.

I take a step toward the wall to fetch a pair of shears....

Something has hit me in the forehead!

Startled, I instinctively leap back. And then, like an idiot, I decide to test if this effect is repeatable by once more stepping toward the wall. What could it be???

I step forcefully, with all the investigative purposefulness of a scientist....

Something has hit me in the forehead! Again!

I was stepping on the tines of a rake. Just like in the cartoons. So in case you ever wondered: yes, that's a thing that really happens, and for the most special of us, it happens twice.
posted by Westringia F. at 2:16 PM on November 5, 2015 [97 favorites]


I was living in rural Peru doing an internship with a public health development agency. I'd been set up to live with one of the wealthier families in town, but had gotten to know a bunch of other people, some much poorer. I had the impression they were maybe embarrassed to invite me to their much more modest homes, but one guy invited me to dinner with his family.

They served this delicious dish I'd had before in Peru, a stir fry made with vegetables and french-fried potatoes and various kinds of meat (in this case a few tiny bits of chicken or maybe guinea pig), served over rice.

I praised the food, using the name I'd learned for it: "Lomo Saltado is one of my favorite dishes!"

The host chuckled and made a sheepish comment I didn't quite catch, along the lines of, "Well, the lomo is a little something something..."

I immediately suspected and later confirmed that the word "Lomo" in that name referred to steak, which was definitely not an ingredient in their recipe. It's like I'd been served canned tuna and said, "You know, lobster is one of my favorite dishes!" I am The Worst Person, the Ugliest American. My friend continued the conversation cheerfully, but his wife had been pretty quiet the whole time and I think I spent most of the rest of the meal worrying about how she felt.

I felt a kind of humiliated relief a few months later when I was saying goodbye to people and that same guy came up to me and said, "Hey, people here really appreciated the way you hung out with everyone and visited people instead of staying off to yourself like most other white people who come here." Thanks for setting the bar so low, Other White People.
posted by straight at 2:26 PM on November 5, 2015 [8 favorites]


susanbeeswax, my children are both convinced that "hot-hand-holders" are an actual thing that other people would be able to reference and recognize, because i am so consistently unable to pull the word "potholders" out of my brain.
posted by KathrynT at 2:41 PM on November 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


I have that problem with the appliance that grinds up food scraps so you can put them down the kitchen sink. I know it's not a "dish disposal" but damned if my brain will offer up anything else.
posted by Westringia F. at 2:48 PM on November 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


KathrynT, my kids were old enough that it was a new one too them and they were old enough to mock me... Oh -- I also regularly call the dishwasher "the washing machine."
posted by susanbeeswax at 2:52 PM on November 5, 2015


This reminds me of that wonderful story from Douglas Adams.

That same story has been told by a bunch of people long before Adams told it.

It's possible it really happened to Adams; lots of us have genuine stories of saying "you too" to service people, even though it's a common story. I remember but cannot find documentation of someone 20 years ago in alt.folklore.urban digging up earlier versions of the story that suggested the way Adams told the story was derived from earlier versions.

Adams wouldn't be the first person to tell a story so many times he was convinced it actually happened to him. It's also possible I'm making up ever seeing that evidence that he copied the story from earlier sources.
posted by straight at 2:57 PM on November 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Years ago, a friend of mine was talking on the phone to a coworker (who was also a close friend) on the phone, and the coworker said she had to go but would call right back. The phone rang again immediately and my friend picked it up and said, "Hi, shit-for-brains!"

It was their boss's wife. She was fired about five minutes later.
posted by anderjen at 2:59 PM on November 5, 2015


KathrynT: "my children are both convinced that "hot-hand-holders" are an actual thing"

Oh, God, I just call them "hot hands." "Where are my hot hands? Where are my hot hands? I need to get the pan out of the oven!" WHY IS THIS SUCH A HARD WORD?

susanbeeswax: "I also regularly call the dishwasher "the washing machine.""

Yeah, I have that one too, and my kids get it, but my very literal-minded husband always looks super-confused when I ask him if he'll put the dishes in the washing machine.

IT IS A MACHINE THAT WASHES, I STAND BY IT.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 3:48 PM on November 5, 2015 [14 favorites]


I was stepping on the tines of a rake. Just like in the cartoons. So in case you ever wondered: yes, that's a thing that really happens, and for the most special of us, it happens twice.

I HAVE DONE THIS TOO. Except in my case, the rake was in a closet at a theater, and so there was no realistic reason to expect one to be there and I don't count it as an awkward moment on my part, but rather a comedic accident.

my very literal-minded husband always looks super-confused when I ask him if he'll put the dishes in the washing machine. IT IS A MACHINE THAT WASHES, I STAND BY IT.

My mother sometimes forgets the names of things when tired. Once after dinner she told us all as we were getting up from the table - "Don't forget to put your dishes away in...in....uh...in the machine that makes them be clean."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:53 PM on November 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


A phonetic variation: a few years back, I'm doing odd jobs at my wife's old condo, one of them being re-caulking the bathtub. The next day, she's at my place, thoughtfully looking at my bathtub, and asks, "Do you look at your caulk differently since you did mine?" If there's one single moment I can point to where I fell in love, it was in that glorious, pregnant pause where she's genuinely puzzled why I'm too incapacitated to respond.
posted by sapere aude at 4:15 PM on November 5, 2015 [27 favorites]


I get a lot of phone calls all day that require some quick thinking and usually interrupting research that I'm really concentrating hard on. I always answer with the same greeting. Not long ago my phone rang, I picked it up, and just... silence. Then I blurted out "I forgot how to answer the phone!" Luckily it was someone with a sense of humor on the other end.

A long time ago I was on a date with my now-husband, and I figured it was a good idea to eat only salad while declaring that I was only going to drink red wine "so I don't get too drunk." That went as well as it sounds. So my husband later offered to order some actual food for me. I protested, saying "no, no, you'll order me an old boot roasted over an open... thing." I forgot the word for fire. In my mind, the idea of fire was represented by cartoon images of a plate of cookies and a rotisserie chicken.
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 4:54 PM on November 5, 2015 [10 favorites]


Speaking of doing things twice, just to be sure...

When I first visited Thailand and was discovering *different kinds* of bananas [yeah, I grew up in the land and the days of Chiquita only], I bit into one and wondered how a stone got inside of a banana skin. It never occurred to me that there could be another in the next bite. There were more (seeds). Ouch!
posted by jaruwaan at 5:00 PM on November 5, 2015


I try to avoid talking to celebrities.

Oh man, I knew I must have a good story to share, thanks for reminding me...

I was at a concert some years ago. Several excellent European folk metal bands, nice small venue, really fun show. It ends, and everybody starts slowly pouring out of the place. As I'm trudging toward the exit with everyone else, I see a guy going against the flow of the crowd, coming into the venue. But he looks familiar. Oh, that's because he's the bassist from one of the bands! (And he really was--that's not part of the punchline, unfortunately.) But nobody else notices, they're just moving along trying to get to the exit, oblivious of who this guys is! He gets closer and closer and he's about to walk right past me, and my brain is like, "Quick! I've gotta say something to this guy, nobody else even recognizes him! It was a great show, I've got to say something!" So I give him a quick pat on the shoulder and say, "Hey, good job!"

Good job? GOOD JOB?? Jesus, is this a professional musician I'm trying to compliment or a kid at a recital? I wish I could attribute the confused look on his face to a language barrier, but I know the guy speaks English--probably better than I do, judging from that exchange.
posted by gueneverey at 5:18 PM on November 5, 2015 [5 favorites]


"Do you look at your caulk differently since you did mine?"

Once I was on a team of 3 nurses who were assigned to take a few days to spruce up our hospital unit in whatever ways we thought would be helpful. We made the equipment storage closet more accessible, fixed the incorrect labels on all the cabinets, threw away piles of ancient VHS patient education videos, and requested tons of minor but important fixes from the hospital's housekeeping and maintenance departments.

The caulk around one of the unit sinks was moldy, so it was my job to call Myron, the 60+ year old head of maintenance, and ask that it be fixed. Over the past 2 days he had been very patient with our requests to move paper towel holders, install additional shelving, etc. Very accommodating. I had barely gotten out the words "there's some moldy caulk" when my coworker sitting next to me said in a sing-song voice "Caulk, caulk, caulk!"

Having recently enjoyed a week of double entendres at home while my husband fixed up our bathtub, this was instant trouble for me. I could feel the explosion of giggles coming, and I stopped talking mid-sentence, staring at my chirpy coworker in wide-eyed horror. As she and our other team member realized what was happening in my brain, they both dissolved into hysterical laughter. Holding my breath was the only thing keeping me from laughing, but you can't hold your breath and talk at the same time. I choked out a few more words over the phone to Myron but literally could not finish my sentence. After a few gasps, I just hung up on the guy.

For the next 3 hours, every time I started dialing his number I would crack up again. I finally had to go in a different room away from my coworkers and imagine the day my dog died, just to get through the phone call. I apologized for my earlier "coughing fit" and asked if someone could look at the "edging" on the sink. To this day I cringe wondering whether he knows why I hung up on him.
posted by vytae at 5:50 PM on November 5, 2015 [8 favorites]


Is this a cultural thing? What is funny about caulk? The word? It rhymes with something? It is another meaning in another language?
posted by taff at 6:26 PM on November 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


taff, what's another word for rooster? (Also, I see you're Australian, so there may be humor that exists in one accent but not in others.)
posted by Faint of Butt at 6:30 PM on November 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


What is funny about caulk? The word? It rhymes with something?

It sounds like something.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:37 PM on November 5, 2015


taff, in North American English at least, the "L" in caulk is generally/mostly silent.

And that's what I get for looking away after composing a reply and not previewing.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 6:38 PM on November 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Is my failing to remember any similar experiences a sign of unhealthy repression or healthy lack of neuroses?
posted by Joseph Gurl at 7:12 PM on November 5, 2015


Waiting on line to pay for groceries with my old roommates, picked up on of the cucumbers in the cart and started fidgeting idly. It wasn't till one of the guys gave me a meaningful look and told me to put it down that I realized I'd been rubbing the cucumber as if it were a dildo.
posted by ActionPopulated at 7:25 PM on November 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


According to the OED (which in this case is like Australian pronunciation) "caulk" rhymes with "cork" and "talk". "Cock" rhymes with "tock" or "Spock". The US pronunciation reflects the "cot/caught" merger.

I looked this up after getting some odd looks because I was muttering "cock ... caaawk... cock... caaaawk" to myself.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:48 PM on November 5, 2015 [33 favorites]


Happiness. Hap-piness. Ha-penis. Ha... penis.
posted by amanda at 8:22 PM on November 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


Sigh.

My wife and I both make awkward horrible blunders constantly and we both have a tendency toward self-recrimination.

My saving grace is that I have the world's worst memory, so I tend to forget my blunders not long after my shame-reddened cheeks have faded to their normal hue. My wife, on the other hand, has near-perfect recollection of basically every moment of her life, so as far as I can tell, her lifetime blooper reel is basically on a constant loop in the background of her consciousness.
posted by duffell at 8:48 PM on November 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


Caulk/cock. Man, if there was ONE thread I thought would be safe from US-centrism and cultural appropriation...apologies to anyone not speaking 'murrican.
posted by sapere aude at 9:11 PM on November 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


Summer of 1989, homestay in Mexico. First night with our host family. My sister, then 15 (I was 16), makes a forgivable Spanish blunder and turns red, apologizes, and says "yo estoy un poco embarazada."

That sort of reverse-construction from English is often correct, thanks to English and Spanish's shared roots and cognates.

In this instance, however, it was, um, less than optimal, a "false friend" in the parlance.

You see, "embarazada" means "pregnant." My 15-year-old sister had just informed our host family, on our first night in their warm, welcoming home in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico, that she was "a little pregnant."
posted by Joseph Gurl at 9:11 PM on November 5, 2015 [3 favorites]


The double nn sound in Italian has been known to give me problems if I'm not careful as will the E (pronounced like the letter A) and A dichotomies (pronounced "ah")

penne - the pasta
penna - a pen
pene - penis

After asking for or ordering penis one too many times, now I ask for a pencil and order the spaghetti.
posted by romakimmy at 9:45 PM on November 5, 2015 [7 favorites]


On our honeymoon my wife and I were having dinner at a small restaurant in Amsterdam. She doesn't drink very often but she'd had a couple of glasses of wine and was a little tipsy. She said something a bit loud so I gave her a small look and she whispered behind her hand, "I'm trying to be indiscreet."
posted by kirkaracha at 10:06 PM on November 5, 2015 [4 favorites]


Was in a meeting with a group of people I don't know super well but see regularly and hope to get to know. As the meeting came to a close, one woman said she wouldn't be able to make the next meeting because she would be on vacation in Fort Worth.

For some unknown reason I blurt out, Fort Worth? What the heck are you going there for? And babble on about it being such a nothing little place, how my spouse and I actually met for the first time in Fort Worth because it was halfway between our respective towns and it was such a boring town (never mind that we only left our hotel room once for two hours to have dinner at Applebees, wouldn't want to let that stop me from having big opinions about the town) and why would you go to such a dull little podunk town for vacation, and just blah blah blah'd about it like an asshole. And another lady asked me what two towns were we from, that Fort Worth was halfway? And I said Chicago and Mansfield OH, which prompted some really puzzled looks but nobody said anything, and then the topic changed and we moved on.

So I get home, and at some point it struck me like a thunderbolt of stupid: I met my husband in FORT WAYNE. Not Fort Worth. And I'd just insulted this lady's home town all over the place and it wasn't even the right town! Cue awkward email explanation, which unfortunately nobody seemed to find as hilarious as I'd hoped.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 10:24 PM on November 5, 2015 [1 favorite]


penne - the pasta
penna - a pen
pene - penis


I just learned that I went to Italy and ate "angry dicks" for a week.
posted by you could feel the sky at 10:39 PM on November 5, 2015 [19 favorites]


Ugh, my high school girlfriend's older sister used to set me up for awkward encounters all the time. She was in her late 20s, older, more mature, while I was a skinny, gawky 17-18 year-old boy.
First encounter: I go to have dinner with gf's dad and older sister. The gods have cursed me upon this day and prior to the meeting I have managed to develop a huge, sore, pimple right on the end of my nose. I show up for dinner, and gf's sister immediately holds her finger out and says "What's that!?" as she presses on the zit at the end of my nose. I have no immediate answer and mostly just want to die.
Later in the meal, we have all eaten our eggplant lasagna and are sipping aperitifs. The nose zit has seemed to become less of a focus and everyone is conversing fluidly. Meanwhile, I didn't realize that eggplant lasagna would give me explosive gas. I excuse myself to use the bathroom (which happens to be RIGHT NEXT to the dining room, wtf!?). I am doing everything I can to cover up the sounds of uncontrollable shitting, but it just isn't working out. Finally, I come out of the bathroom. Gf's sister just blurts out laughing uncontrollably. Her dad is unamused, gf is totally embarrassed. Later that evening, gf's dad gives me a ride back home, just me and him. I tell him that I have "nothing but the sincerest intentions" for his daughter. Yeah...ugh.
Second encounter with gf's older sister: We go and visit her at her fancy uptown apartment where she and her bf live. Gf goes to the bathroom. I am just sitting on the couch, waiting for gf to get back. Gf's sister pulls her pants to her ankles, spreads her ass cheeks (underwear still on) and asks me if I think she's getting "cottage cheese thighs."
"Um, I don't know, sorry."
"Come on, Demogorgon, just lay it on me straight. I know I have cellulite, I just want someone to be honest with me. Be a fucking man and TELL ME."
"No, you look really sexy."
Long, awkward pause as gf is just getting out of the bathroom.
posted by Demogorgon at 10:51 PM on November 5, 2015 [2 favorites]


When I was 8 or 9 years old, I was digging a hole in the backyard with a large, pointy shovel. Since many of my ideas at this age came from cartoons, I was tossing the dirt over my shoulder with every scoop. I did not notice my friend sneaking up behind me. TWANG! The tip of the shovel caught her eyebrow, and she had to have stitches.

This would have merely been an unfortunate accident, were it not for the conversation we later had with her parents about the incident. Wanting to impress the grown-ups with fancy language, I said, "It was like a hot knife through butter!"

They did not let her play with me again after that.
posted by Feyala at 12:55 AM on November 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


the exact words 'oopsy doodly doo'

I don't know what nerve this hit, but I sob-laughed for three solid minutes at this and even now every time I re-read the words or re-visualize the sentence it starts again. Anyway I plan to start saying this always in every situation.
posted by en forme de poire at 1:46 AM on November 6, 2015 [27 favorites]


Wow Demogorgon. Older Sis sounds like a nasty piece of work. Humiliating people is not funny at all and I bet she wasn't decent to your gf either.
posted by Omnomnom at 1:58 AM on November 6, 2015 [15 favorites]


I just remembered that I've had an awkward airline exchange of a different sort.

In 2012 I was flying from Washington DC to Moscow. The ticket agent at Dulles airport checked my documents, handed me my boarding pass, took my bags, glanced at the SVO on the luggage tag, and then informed me:

"Your bags are checked all the way through to the Soviet Union."

We both sort of stared at each other for a moment with the puzzled sense that something was off, but weren't quite sure what. It clicked for her first and she hurriedly blurted a correction: "Sheremetyevo! Moscow! Russia."
posted by Westringia F. at 5:14 AM on November 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


I took my 3yo son to a birthday party, and decorated the gift with a big J, since the birthday boy's name was Josh. Uh, no it wasn't. The mom (WHOSE NAME I STILL DON'T KNOW BECAUSE I'M AN ASSHOLE) laughed it off as, oh, well, our last name starts with J, but I just wanted to dieeeeeeeeeeee.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:18 AM on November 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


This entire thread is what the phrase "it me" was made for.
posted by duffell at 6:38 AM on November 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


Wow Demogorgon. Older Sis sounds like a nasty piece of work. Humiliating people is not funny at all and I bet she wasn't decent to your gf either.

How did you guess? Yeah, the whole family had issues. I noped out of there eventually.
posted by Demogorgon at 6:43 AM on November 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Easter Sunday, the whole church was coming over to my house for breakfast. The day before, my neighbor, Lee, a 62-year-old man who is very pious, came over to the house to drop something off. My 1-year-old son was running around the house completely naked. Lee and I laughed and talked about how lucky and carefree kids are, running around with no clothes on.

The next morning, the whole crowd of mainly elderly Methodists was standing on the porch, waiting for me to open the front door. I did, and standing at the front of the group was Lee. I was holding my son, who was dressed in his Easter best.

Remembering the day before, Lee raised his eyebrows at my son and said "Hey, look at you!" To the crowd behind him, it seemed like he was talking to ME, because I was also dressed in my Easter best.

And I said, very loudly, in front of all of the elderly Methodists, "Yeah, Lee, you're probably thinking, 'It's so crazy to see you with your clothes on!'"

I liked to have died.
posted by staggering termagant at 6:52 AM on November 6, 2015 [13 favorites]


This thread reminded me of why I'm fond of those socially awkward penguin macros:

Knows one person at party / Follows them around the entire night

"See you later" / Walks in the same direction

Hairdresser is doing it wrong / "Looks great, thanks"

Pass neighbor in street walking dog / Smile at dog

Cop gives you a ticket / "Thank you"

Rehearses sandwich order before stepping up to counter / "I'll have a six inch long white American"

Runs into bookshelf / "Sorry"

Hang out with two friends who've never met each other / Still the third wheel

Knows everyone at party / Plays with dog for 3 hours
posted by dgaicun at 6:57 AM on November 6, 2015 [18 favorites]


King Hat

Rehearses sandwich order before stepping up to counter / "I'll have a six inch long white American"

We once ordered a pizza but after an hour there was still no sign of it, and I started playfully goading my friend to call them and demand satisfaction. He finally said, "I can't call them because if I do I know I will end up telling them to take the pizza and shove it up my ass."
posted by Room 641-A at 7:15 AM on November 6, 2015 [5 favorites]


At one point, I was known for regularly saying nonsensical things like "happy birthday to you too!" on purpose. This had two benefits:
  1. It was a source of endless amusement to me (and exponentially decreasing amusement for everyone else).
  2. Whenever I said something unintentionally stupid, people would assume it was just grouse making another idiotic joke again.
posted by grouse at 7:18 AM on November 6, 2015 [11 favorites]


Hang out with two friends who've never met each other / Still the third wheel

I am still quite mortified at a little drinks get-together that I wrangled with four other ladies. It was quite a feat with competing schedules and special requests. It got rescheduled at least once and on the day-of there was much emailing about times and at some point I got a little snippish and said, "Hey, is anyone going to be there at 7:30? That's when I will be there but I can't tell now who is coming?"

So, we all finally arrive together and over the course of a few drinks it dawns on me, I'm totally on the outside of this group. I mean, I knew that they all knew each other socially and hung out here and there but I didn't realize the extent to which these four women and their young kids hang out together without me. They are aunts to each other's children! They are all perfectly tight friends and I'm not in their circle. I felt like such a massive idiot. No wonder it was hard for me to organize.

Social is hard.
posted by amanda at 7:51 AM on November 6, 2015 [10 favorites]


My sister and I were visiting Manhattan in 2000, and amongst the fantastic theatre tickets we had, was a set of tickets to see Jekyll and Hyde. Starring, I kid you not, Sebastian Bach. Now, this is was not a good play, in its original incarnation, and Sebastian Bach just pushed it into a flashback territory.

So, I'm outside, during intermission, and I am going off about whatever talentless hack who had the audacity to write lyrics like "He must have had a lot of balls, to do a murder at St Pauls.", and then present it on Broadway like he was proud of it.

Turns out, the writer was standing right behind me, and one of his groupies tapped me on the shoulder and told me the man beside me was the author, and I swear before God, I turned to him and said, "oh, it's so brave of you to admit that. Good for you! That's the fist step to recovery, you know!" And patted him on the hand he had proffered.

It's been 15 years, and I still think my sister is too embarrassed to be seen with me in a theatre.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 9:38 AM on November 6, 2015 [35 favorites]


I'm leaving a grocery store and go to my car and I can't figure out why my key isn't working. Then I look at the car and realize its the exact same car, but not my car. I turn to go find my actual car and there is the owner of this car. She was really nice and said it happens to her all the time too.
posted by LizBoBiz at 10:04 AM on November 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


Oh and another!

I worked at McDonalds in high school, 90% of the time in the drive through. It was not uncommon for me to end calls with "Please pull around to the first window". It happened alot when I would switch from drive-though to front counter too.
posted by LizBoBiz at 10:08 AM on November 6, 2015 [2 favorites]


Turns out, the writer was standing right behind me, and one of his groupies tapped me on the shoulder and told me the man beside me was the author, and I swear before God, I turned to him and said, "oh, it's so brave of you to admit that. Good for you! That's the fist step to recovery, you know!" And patted him on the hand he had proffered.

This one paragragh elicited six OHMYGODs.
posted by Room 641-A at 11:04 AM on November 6, 2015 [11 favorites]


As I was reading this thread someone came over to wish me a safe flight home and I looked up, nodded and said "Take it... bye" which was meant to be "take it easy" and then "bye" but instead sounded weirdly aggressive.
posted by Molesome at 11:12 AM on November 6, 2015 [4 favorites]


Oh, I forgot the best part! I started the sentence with, "Oh, bless your heart..."

I regret nothing.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 11:14 AM on November 6, 2015 [11 favorites]


Once, nearing the end of negotiations over a contract with a customer named Bobby, feeling relief as the long process was nearing the end, I wrote to thank him from my iPad.

"Thanks, Gobby."
posted by zippy at 11:41 AM on November 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


Master has presented Gobby with thanks!!
posted by en forme de poire at 2:35 PM on November 6, 2015 [33 favorites]


There was also the time when I saw a friend, a normally jovial man in his mid-sixties, at a bus stop. I'd taken some evening classes with this friend and I'd also befriended some others in the class, but for some reason we didn't know yet, we hadn't seen this guy for a few weeks. So I walk up to him and say "Hi! We haven't seen you for so long! We all thought you'd had a heart attack!" in a jocular tone.

Long silence.

"Er, actually, I did have a heart attack."

I have never felt a more ardent desire to have the ground swallow me up.
posted by Rissa at 3:25 PM on November 6, 2015 [6 favorites]


I'm leaving a grocery store and go to my car and I can't figure out why my key isn't working. Then I look at the car and realize its the exact same car, but not my car. I turn to go find my actual car and there is the owner of this car. She was really nice and said it happens to her all the time too.

My cousin and I were in the car when we realized it wasn't ours.
posted by sebastienbailard at 4:10 PM on November 6, 2015 [7 favorites]


Oh! On the topic of grocery stores, my mother once took my infant sister to Stu Lwonard's, filled the cart, wheeled back out to the parking lot, loaded the car, and drove home.

Leaving my sister in the cart. In the parking lot.
posted by DarlingBri at 9:16 PM on November 6, 2015 [3 favorites]


So, not me, but my distracted vegetarian friend. She turns to the hot waitress and says, "I'll take the lessy vagina."

Waitress: "Uhh...what was that?"

Distracted vegetarian friend: "The veggie lasagna."

She later insisted that she'd said "veggie lasagna" the first time, despite the table-full of us howling with laughter.
posted by agog at 10:47 PM on November 6, 2015 [8 favorites]


My cousin and I were in the car when we realized it wasn't ours.

I.. drove away in someone else's car that looked like mine. Hey, the key worked!! It was a shitty old Ford Laser, made in 1991. It took me three days (and an agonisingly fun conversation with The Police!!) to work out what had happened.
posted by Philby at 11:16 PM on November 6, 2015 [16 favorites]


I would just like to report that "oopsy doodly doo" is still funny today, and probably forever
posted by en forme de poire at 3:02 AM on November 7, 2015 [28 favorites]


So...my husband is Tibetan. We met in exile in India. I came home to Australia to wait for visa approval for a year after we married (another story) and while here told my friends and colleagues of the man I'd met overseas and his culture and language. I sat in a restaurant in one of Sydney's most expensive suburbs and loudly (as is my want) told the assembled table of colleagues celebrating a work Christmas dinner how I'd met the Dalai Lama last month. And how I'd received a blessed thread from him. And said thank you. And I then mentioned how once my husband had told me how in Tibetan "thank you" sometimes sounds like vagina when said by a foreigner. I mentioned how many thanks I'd said to HH Dalai Lama as he presented me with the sacred thread.

Then the penny dropped. S.L.O.W.L.Y..... In front of all my work colleagues. I realised that when I'd met the Dalai Lama the previous month I had said ,"HUGE vaginas for the thread, your Holines. Huge. Huge!"

19 years later, still blushing.
posted by taff at 5:46 AM on November 7, 2015 [17 favorites]


In high school, I was on my first solo hang, not quite date, with a guy I liked. It had been going pretty well. He drops me off at my house, and I get out and say, "Ok, bye! Love you!" We never spoke again.
posted by quiet coyote at 10:09 AM on November 7, 2015 [1 favorite]


I'm leaving a grocery store and go to my car and I can't figure out why my key isn't working. Then I look at the car and realize its the exact same car, but not my car. I turn to go find my actual car and there is the owner of this car. She was really nice and said it happens to her all the time too.

...

My cousin and I were in the car when we realized it wasn't ours.


I posted about this sort of thing once before on the blue... briefly, my mom and I did this once but her key opened and started the stranger's car and had we not noticed some clue like an unfamiliar parking pass or something, we likely would have driven home in someone else's Honda. The owner of the other car, so far as I know, had no idea that someone else had opened and started his or her vehicle.

I asked the late, lamented Lemurrhea about this once -- is it grand theft auto if there is no intent and you leave behind another essentially identical vehicle? He lawyered for a second and said that at worst my mom would technically be in possession of stolen goods but that realistically, any judge would throw out the charges.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:40 AM on November 7, 2015 [5 favorites]


I have a perhaps unfortunate love for your mama jokes and in high school I started one to a friend who had been quite close with her mother. I say "had" because her mom was dead and I had the luxury of forgetting that for a moment, and exactly the wrong moment. I apologized profusely and she thankfully forgave me, but in all my years of making terrible jokes this is the time it went the most wrong.

(My mom is now dead and I know I have made friends for life with people who keep on making jokes even after finding this out, but we were not close.)
posted by bile and syntax at 11:33 AM on November 7, 2015


In the '90s, I once engaged in an extended (and quite good) phone sex session with a person who wound up not being the person I thought it was, and in fact being an entirely wrong number. To this day, I have no idea how neither of us realized how generic our pre-heavy-breathing conversation was and tipped to the wrongness of the number.

Worst part: neither of us had finished by the time one of us realized that "Yeah, you like that" was something that person actually quite hated.
posted by Etrigan at 7:00 PM on November 7, 2015 [7 favorites]


As I've worked behind a counter, sometimes I blurted out seller-talk at the clerks of the stores I was buying stuff from. I believe I once asked the cashier at the supermarket if that was all (the obvious reply was, of course, you tell me). I didn't find that awkward because that shit just kind of happened. Just like once answering my cellphone with "&STORENAME, good afternoon"

As for actual awkwardness, I'll probably have to check with my brain when I'm trying to sleep, or I'm feeling somewhat adjusted.
posted by lmfsilva at 9:28 PM on November 7, 2015 [2 favorites]


Once, in a public bathroom stall, I thought of something that amused me. Immediately after, I let out a little poot. I giggled a little bit, and then realized - the person in the stall next to me probably thinks that I just giggled at my own tiny fart. I found this even funnier, so I started out-and-out laughing. The more I laughed, the more ridiculous I knew it must have seemed from the outside, so it just kept escalating through mad cackles and guffaws and gasps for breath.

And then a long wait for the other guy to leave first.

----------------

I was working in a retail stockroom when my supervisor came up to me and said "Jerry, this is Tom, a new addition to the back room team." I shook his hand, but before I could say something sensible like "Pleased to meet you", my mind immediately flitted to Tom and Jerry cartoons and I blurted out "I hope you don't end up chasing me with a hammer." As quickly as possible I hopped onto a forklift and sped away.

----------------

I was still working in retail when I started going back to school, and in my psych course I could get extra credit for participating in psychology experiments. So I ended up participating in a LOT of these and maxed out my extra credit.

Anyway, back at the store, I'm out on the sales floor restocking some products and see someone who had, surely less than a week ago, run an experiment that I had participated in. Well, I think it was her, but I'm not totally sure, so of course the way to find out is to go up to her and ask "Did you experiment on me?" Her face darkens with visible concern and even fear and I immediately realize that I just said probably the single best thing to convince someone that I'm totally insane.

-----------------

I'm on the phone with some hospital staff trying to get assigned to a new doctor after my old one retired. I'm talking with one half of my brain and the other half is thinking "Okay, Jerry, you're going to have to spell your last name soon. Everybody always mistakes the P for a T when you say it over this shitty phone. Why haven't you learned a phonetic alphabet yet? Ok... how about 'P as in pie'? No, that's easily confused for 'tie'. Why can't I think of anything? ... Well, whatever I do, I shouldn't use a word like 'physics' or 'psychology' or - shit, it's go time!" I start spelling my name and end up saying "P, as in... pterodactyl."
posted by Jpfed at 12:02 AM on November 8, 2015 [41 favorites]


I find a store with meats and cheeses. I look around and finally the guy gets to me. I cannot find my list! No problem. I say politely (forgive all spelling and grammar from here on out), "quindici grammi o prosciutto." The guy goggles at me. "Quindici grammi?! Quindici grammi?" I realize I've made a terrible error but I can't pick among all the things I've possibly done wrong. "Si?" I stutter. Then he gestures at the huge ham displayed on the wall and again says, slowly, "quin-dici-grammi?" Now I don't know whether I've asked for a vast amount of pork or what. I try to explain that it's for "sandwiches?" He just looks incredulous and puts his hands on his hips.

It's like 2004 and I'm in Florence and the place I'm staying at doesn't have a coffee machine or a French press or anything so I have to go downstairs to the coffee shop every morning cause I need coffee in the morning and because this is 2004 I am insanely over-confidant in my Italian language abilities, wearing a neon fur wrap and light up shoes, and probably hung over. I go to the counter and order what I think is "Two double expressos". The barista always looks confused and slightly hesitant about it. I assume that's cause I look like I fell out of Luc Besson movie about the future but realize a week later that I've been saying is "double the double coffee, twice." And just ...accepting whatever he gave me.

The look of pure relief on his face when I said it correctly the next Monday I tell you.

(family lore in the 30s has a relative in Rome running downstairs to complain that the mosquitos are biting her. The desk clerk says "Well we can't do anything if you invited them in."

Mosquitos -> zanzare
gypsies -> zingare)
posted by The Whelk at 12:29 AM on November 8, 2015 [18 favorites]


Where I live, there is a burger restaurant called the Helvti, and a vegetarian buffet-style restaurant called Hiltl (Swiss names, don't worry about pronunciation).

I was out with three other friends recently and we were walking and talking, and one friend mentioned that Helvti now does a happy hour, where you can fill your plate from the self-service for a set price, instead of by weight.

Friend 2 says, "They do? That seems weird."

"No it doesn't," I argue. "It's way better than paying by weight! We should go there!"

After arguing back and forth a bit, the third friend says, "Um, I think you're talking about Hiltl."

Friend One: "That's what I said!"

Me: "Yes, that's exactly what she said!"

It took much convincing from the other two sensible friends for Friend One and I to realise we had both been thinking of Hiltl while she was saying Helvti.

-----------------------------

Another time recently:

Friend One: So this is my friend's engagement pendant. Her fiancé didn't get her a ring because he's divorced."

Me (mishearing): He's the worst? Then why are they getting married?

Friend One (mishearing...or something): But he's not even German!

-----------------------

And an oldie but the one I dwell on the most.

I was in Mexico and had a basic knowledge of Spanish, and enough confidence to get into awkward situations. We were at a waterfall with a sort of sandy beach area below it, and a couple of kids were playing with a frog.

[in Spanish] Me: What's that called in Spanish?

Kids: La rana.

Me: Oh cool I learned a new word. [not realising I had misheard...story of my life]

Later the kids were burying the poor frog in the sand.

Me [in worst rudimentary Spanish but determined to rescue the poor frog]: Ooooh, la naranja pobre!

Kids: ....

Me [an hour later]: Shit. Naranja means orange.
posted by tracicle at 12:58 AM on November 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


(family lore in the 30s has a relative in Rome running downstairs to complain that the mosquitos are biting her. The desk clerk says "Well we can't do anything if you invited them in."

Mosquitos -> zanzare
gypsies -> zingare)


On the phone with my friend after she's just found that only the really really really expensive tickets are left for the the Roma-Lazio derby, so I tell her we can just get them from the scalpers perennially lurking around the stadium. She dies laughing for about 5 minutes straight.

bagarini - ticket scalpers
bagarozzi - Roman slang for cockroaches

Same difference, as far as I'm concerned.
posted by romakimmy at 1:47 AM on November 8, 2015 [8 favorites]


First time presenting research to my entire department as an undergraduate I managed to refer to a specific RNA and protein interactions as "gettin' down together"

I've never been one for formal presentations, but that might have been a wee bit too informal.
posted by sciencegeek at 3:09 AM on November 8, 2015 [7 favorites]


I moved to Norway for a job once and I'd never lived anywhere with a real winter so when it started cooling down and I spotted an area of...something on the sidewalk, I wasn't quite sure what it was. After studying it like an ape confronted with a problem, I thought it might be ice. So I decided I'd try to walk over it. If I slipped and fell, that would mean it was ice. Brilliant! I'd formulated a hypothesis and now I was going to test it. Science! So I took a few steps back and marched proudly forward. My foot came down solidly on the patch of potentially ice, then it slipped completely out from under me, since it was ice. Then I landed hard and skinned my knee and tore my jeans. As I lay there in pain wondering why I was such an idiot, the concerned face of my landlady appeared over me. Once we determined I would live, she asked why I'd deliberately stepped on the ice. "It was...it was...a science experiment. I wanted to see if it was ice...so I stepped on it. See?" At that point she backed away nervously and I limped off to work.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 3:33 AM on November 8, 2015 [25 favorites]


About a year ago I nipped out from work at lunch for a quick bus trip to the comic shop. A colleague was also getting on the same bus. As I got I accidentally showed the bus driver an old Day Ticket and he shouted me back to the front of the bus. As I was bumbling to find the correct ticket in my wallet my glasses slipped of my head and off of the bus. I then got off the bus and bent over to pick them up. And then fell off of the pavement and onto the rainsoaked road.

The driver eventually took pity on this most Poindexter of scenes and just waved me on.

My colleague informs me his kids often ask him to tell them the story of his idiot workmate and the bus.
posted by gnuhavenpier at 6:02 AM on November 8, 2015 [21 favorites]


I've discovered that it's not a good idea to get in the habit of responding to a partner's "just popping to the bathroom" with the hilarious rejoinder "have fun! ". It's less hilarious when you accidentally do it to someone else.

I also used to work with a large gentleman with a shaved head and tattoos, who broke his arm in the winter and started getting a lift to work with a colleague still possessed of two working arms. Broken Arm Guy got into the colleague's very steamed-up car one day at the bus stop as usual, put his seatbelt on and commenced a long and one-sided conversation, which finally ended with the other guy saying "Who the F are you and what are you doing in my car?!".

posted by emilyw at 6:09 AM on November 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


Asked for a bottle of Arsenic instead of a bottle of Abentium.
Barman laughed so hard he bave me a shot on the house.
posted by thegirlwiththehat at 6:26 AM on November 8, 2015


In Chile for a two week course in Spanish with a dear friend. At the end of the first day of classes we decide to hit up a local bar. After round two it occurred to us that what we needed to be doing was smoking cigarettes like everyone around us. Filled with a good five hours of introductory Spanish, my friend sides up to the guy selling cigarettes on the street and with confidence says, "Fumar?"
posted by pipoquinha at 8:10 AM on November 8, 2015


"What is the DEAL with handball anyway? It's not a sport! It's just hitting things with your fist. It's like boxing with balls. It's just tennis if you've dropped your racquet."

Noticed a lot of silence. And not just because I'm not funny.

The hostess was on the Canadian National Handball team.


Many years ago playing some light historical board game (Axis and Allies maybe) with some friends who were regulars in my gaming group along with a coworker of mine, a fellow named Ryan, who was a newcomer. I had invited him along because he said the subject matter sounded interesting.

Ryan at one point speculated on something that happened in the game and mused on how it would have played out in real life. One of the other players -- by nature a pushy and somewhat arrogant guy -- dismissed Ryan's musings with "When was the last time you read a history book?" Ryan and I exchanged glances across the table, as we were the only ones there aware that Ryan was finishing his Ph. D. in history at Harvard that year.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:10 AM on November 8, 2015 [9 favorites]


I've discovered that it's not a good idea to get in the habit of responding to a partner's "just popping to the bathroom" with the hilarious rejoinder "have fun! "

Enjoy your pizza!
posted by en forme de poire at 9:21 AM on November 8, 2015 [4 favorites]


Oh, gosh, I just remembered the story that I guess could count as my most awkward:

I was at a rooftop party with my girlfriend at the time; her friend Dave lived right along the parade route for Philadelphia's annual New Year's Day Mummers parade, a huge bacchanalian event that turns from a visually-spectacular choreographed march into a nightmare of 24-hour-long drinking and shouting and carousing. If you live in Philly, you are aware of the Hieronymus Bosch kind of chaos-scape the day becomes.

So after a morning and afternoon of daydrinking, we went to Dave's place as the official events were winding down, went from Dave's apartment to the roof, and as it started to get dark, we just stayed up on the roof drinking way way way more than any human should, looking down at the various groups milling about as they vomited, made out, fought, threw things, danced, passed out, and screamed about The Eagles

That rooftop access was super-easy, too, because Dave's place had a stairwell that led straight from his living room up to the roof, so we could go down periodically to warm up, eat snacks, use the bathroom, and mingle. Then back up to the roof, where several of the neighbors had similar setups going on, so we could meet new people and chat! Lovely drunken times.

So at one point I had to pee, and I moseyed downstairs to the apartment, where the snacks were all arranged on a big table. Everyone else at the party was apparently up on the roof, though, because the only two people there were a man and a woman I hadn't met, hanging out in the kitchen.

"Hi!" I said to them jovially. "I don't think I've met you guys! I'm Greg!"

"Uh... hi!" said the man. I scooped up some dip with a chip, and ate it.

"Oh my gosh, this dip is amazing!" I said. "Do you know what's in it?"

"Uh, it's garlic and herbs," said the woman.

"Parsley?" I said. "I'm getting parsley ... and dill?"

"Yeah!" said the man. "We made it earlier."

"You made it?" I said. "It's great! Good job, dudes!"

"Thanks!" said the woman.

"I'm sorry, I didn't get your names," I said, extending my hand. They introduced themselves, shaking my hand but looking mildly confused.

"So how do you guys know Dave?" I asked, scooping up some more dip.

"Dave?" said the man. "Our neighbor?"

"Dave?" I said.

"He lives next door," said the man

"He lives - " I said, and then my eyes went wide. "oh my god"

The couple nodded

"OH MY GOD I AM IN THE WRONG APARTMENT"

The couple nodded

"I THOUGHT THIS WAS DAVE'S FOOD I WAS EATING"

"There are two apartments in this building with rooftop access" said the woman

"I HAVE ENTERED YOUR HOME"

"They're right next to each other" added the man

"I ENTERED YOUR HOME, BADLY, I DID IT INTRUDINGLY, I WAS EATING YOUR FOOD"

"Don't worry about about it"

"I HAVE- I HAVE DONE A BAD MOVE HERE"

"It's okay, maybe you should go back up to the roof though"

"YES YES OF COURSE, OH MY GOD, I AM SO SORRY"

"It's okay, you're okay"

"I'M SO SORRY," I repeated, then paused. "It was really great to meet you guys, though!"

The man nodded, and said, "Good to meet you too!"

I walked over to the stairs. "I guess I'll.. see you guys! Good to meet you!"

"You too!"

I walked up the stairs, and stopped again at the top, looking down at where the couple was standing next to each other, looking up at me. "Your house is lovely!" I added, before waving goodbye and exiting the door. They stood at the bottom of the stairwell, waving goodbye.
posted by Greg Nog at 11:35 AM on November 8, 2015 [81 favorites]


At my previous position at work I was on the Help Desk. While we didn't have a script, most of us had a certain way we'd answer the phone.

One night "Ann" came back from lunch and had brought food back with her. A coworker (and also her cousin) asked "What kind of sandwich is that?" right as her phone rang. She picked up during the middle of his sentence and answered with "Help Desk, this is chicken"

On another occasion, someone answered with "Facebook, this is 'Bob' "

I have told many a store "I love you" more times than I care to recollect.

Another coworker once emailed our Sys Admin team asking them to email him their "spreadshit" (rather than spreadsheet). The kicker is that the Sys Admins were in a meeting and had their email notifications turned on, so that email popped up in front of the meeting on a 60 inch television. Luckily they had probably said worse during that meeting and thought that was hilarious.
posted by Twain Device at 11:45 AM on November 8, 2015 [8 favorites]


Two quick ones from the world of medicine that show how utterly unfit I am to be a physician:

1. I am walking into the grocery store after some ungodly 32 hour shift and am rapidly approached by Random Lady pushing a stroller, with a big smile on her face.

"Dr. Bartfast! So great to see you!"

*blank stare on my face*

"It's me, Random Lady! Here is Random Baby!"

*more blank staring, sensing growing discomfort*

"You delivered my Random Baby? 18 hour labor? Stayed up with us all night?"

TWO WEEKS PRIOR TO THIS.

2. I do a fair amount of work with transgender patients. One thing you have to do right away is understand their own gender identity as much as possible and establish where along the gender continuum these people consider themselves at any given time, and, very importantly, establish the right pronouns to use.

This one time, I was working with a person born phenotypically male who had an extremely strong feminine identity. As in, "I have never been male, I have always been female, I don't want to be called trans or male to female or anything, I am and always have been a woman." Cool. I understand. I get it. I know exactly how you wish to be treated and will respect that. So after our first couple visits, we start hormones and get her driver's license and social security gender legally changed.

The thing about me is that I also have a very casual bedside manner and because I am a total dork I especially like to use the hip new vernacular of today's young people. I am the "cool" doctor that the youths can have a rap session with.

So one day, I walk in to see my very strongly feminine gendered patient who is very offended by people treating her as anything other than female and I stroll down, sit by her, look her in the eye and what do I say?

"Hey, how is it going, man?"
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 12:02 PM on November 8, 2015 [22 favorites]


I ended a call to a casual male friend with "Ok bye, love you!" and had to avoid him until my face stopped burning (a long time).

I constantly end work phone calls with a random mixture of the phrases "Take care", "Many thanks, bye" or "Talk to you soon" so they get "Many bye", "Take soon" or sometimes just a collection of vowels and consonants like I've hit my head on my mental keyboard.

I walked in on my babysitter on the toilet when I was about ten and didn't come out of my room when she came to the house for months.

But most of the many embarrassing things I've done have been buried by the most recent one. In an interview a few days ago I was asked a question I wasn't prepared for. They asked "Talk us through the Tiers you'll be dealing with at this service and give examples of each." I said "Well there are 5 Tiers..." at which I saw three pairs of eyebrows shoot up. I remembered in that instant there are 3 Tiers. Did I backpedal and say "Sorry I mean 3 of course haha!" No. No I did not. Instead I stuck to my guns and talked for a reeeeally long time and heard myself over the noise of my screaming brain inventing things which would fall under the mythical extra two Tiers (in the hope that they would think "Oh really? Even we didn't know about them! You're hired!" Who can say?) I was bullshitting and they knew I was bullshitting and I knew they knew I was bullshitting and I could not. stop. talking. It was only the second question and I had to suffer through the rest of the interview even though they clearly thought I'd wandered in off the street and they'd accidentally brought me into someone else's interview. After I left I slunk back to work and was working on something in total silence with just me and one other colleague. At one point I had a hideous flashback to teh stupid and let out an actual yelp of shame. Out of the corner of my eye I saw her raise her head and look at me but I just kept my head down and face straight and hoped she'd think she imagined it. It was not a good day.
posted by billiebee at 12:23 PM on November 8, 2015 [12 favorites]


Oh. Oh god. I had made it through this entire thread thinking for sure I have a few of these rattling around in my brain. I wish I hadn't thought so hard about it.

I was managing a small niche store, and a regular customer came in. We attended a hobby group together sometimes, and while making her purchases she asked if I was going to be at the group that week. I said "See you there, baby," and for reasons I cannot discern, the baby came out super lasciviously.

Still mortified every time I think of that. We never spoke of it. I did not even try to explain, just chaaaaanged the subject. She had the decency to pretend it never happened.
posted by bilabial at 12:29 PM on November 8, 2015


Help Desk, this is chicken

I love this so much!!

After a long day on the phone, requesting things of people, my phone rang. I picked up, brightly said "Thank you very much!" and hung up again.

My boss, Mr. Bob, once sent a cold call email and started it off with, "Dear Ms. Bob".
She wrote back, "are you proposing to me? :D"
posted by Omnomnom at 1:17 PM on November 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Well, now I know all it takes to summon Greg Nog is a killer parsley and dill dip.
posted by a halcyon day at 1:29 PM on November 8, 2015 [16 favorites]


get ready for the most jovial home invasion you can imagine
posted by Greg Nog at 1:58 PM on November 8, 2015 [33 favorites]


I did this when I was a senior in college.

One spring afternoon I was walking back home from my last class in kind of an abstracted mood, came to a signal-controlled intersection on not a terribly busy street, hit the button, waited for the change and started crossing, noticing as I did so that cars kept turning right in front of me despite the red light, which was annoying but OK, it's a broad street and they'll stop when I get up to them -- but then I'm about four feet away and this car doesn't even slow down and the woman driving it mouths 'fuck you' at me as she goes past into her turn!

So spontaneously, by reflex, whatever (I am a volatile person) I lash out with my left foot and kick a huge dent into her left rear quarter panel as I scream 'fuck you too, you fucking moron!' at the top of my lungs.

But the rebound from the panel against my foot spins me three quarters of the way around and I see that the only cars on the road are in a long line stretching up the hill in the right lane the woman just turned out of and that I am now blocking; I look down the street the woman turned onto, and I remember the big cemetery on it a couple of blocks beyond my house, and then I realize she wasn't mouthing 'fuck you' she was mouthing 'funeral'.

When I get home I just turn out all the lights in the house and sit in the armchair by the living room windows, watching the street and waiting for the police car to pull up.
posted by jamjam at 2:22 PM on November 8, 2015 [29 favorites]


get ready for the most jovial home invasion you can imagine

Straw Doge
posted by shakespeherian at 3:44 PM on November 8, 2015 [10 favorites]


You're Snacks
(Are great!)
posted by The Whelk at 4:08 PM on November 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Walk on to two friends making out.
- Please continue as if i was not here.
posted by thegirlwiththehat at 4:25 PM on November 8, 2015


Called a colleague I would run into occasionally "Reggie" for 3 years until one day he stopped me and said "my name's not Reggie, it's Craig...."

Mine's almost the same -- there was a guy who was in my residence at Place Vanier at UBC who was sort of on the fringe of the emerging group of friends I was a part of who I thought was named Randy. For some reason, he also thought I was called Randy. It took us nearly two years before we realized that we were both wrong, and in fact we were both actually named Christopher.

Thirty years later now, and when we see each other every 5 years or so, we still call each other Randy.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:10 PM on November 8, 2015 [17 favorites]


I have a language one as well that I just remembered. Twenty years ago, when I first got to Korea, my primary food groups were booze and cigarettes and ramyeon. I just was starting to learn Korean, and I hadn't yet realized that the counting words were different for different classes of nouns. Thanks to acquisition of booze being my highest language priority, I'd learned han-byeong, du-byeong, sae-byeong and so on for one-bottle, two-bottles, three-bottles, and just kind of assumed that '-byeong' was the counting word for everything.

For months, I had been asking the guy in the little corner shop near my apartment for '2 bottles of cigarettes'. He never batted an eye, before or after I figured it out.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:24 PM on November 8, 2015 [5 favorites]


I ended a job interview on the phone with "Thanks you!" >click<

First, slapped myself over the mistake, then started agonizing that it could've been parsed as "Thanks, you!"
posted by brappi at 5:31 PM on November 8, 2015 [1 favorite]


rhizome: "Oh man, I thought for sure we were going to get a, "Reader, I married him!" out of that."

Well, no one stood up and applauded, no one was Einstein or a vet home from duty, and there was a lack of a clever (in one person's mind) putdown. So, yeah, it works.
posted by Samizdata at 5:56 PM on November 8, 2015


bile and syntax: "I have a perhaps unfortunate love for your mama jokes and in high school I started one to a friend who had been quite close with her mother. I say "had" because her mom was dead and I had the luxury of forgetting that for a moment, and exactly the wrong moment. I apologized profusely and she thankfully forgave me, but in all my years of making terrible jokes this is the time it went the most wrong.

(My mom is now dead and I know I have made friends for life with people who keep on making jokes even after finding this out, but we were not close.)
"

I had a coworker that ambushed me that one once. We became friends later, but he said X, I said "That's what your mother said!" and he responded "My mother's dead."

At which point, a completely gobsmacked Samizdata (a rare occurrence) proceeds to stutter out profuse apologies while simultaneously fusing himself into the nearby cubicle wall.

(He later confessed he heard me say such jokes to other people, and had plotted the whole thing out in advance.)
posted by Samizdata at 7:45 PM on November 8, 2015


a halcyon day: "Well, now I know all it takes to summon Greg Nog is a killer parsley and dill dip."

Greg Nog: "get ready for the most jovial home invasion you can imagine"

This is NOT supposed to be a horror thread. That was last month.
posted by Samizdata at 8:01 PM on November 8, 2015


The only horror is mine, when I contemplate if I've made enough parsley-dill dip for the entire rooftop party.
posted by a halcyon day at 8:32 PM on November 8, 2015 [3 favorites]


Also:
Walk on to two friends making out.
- Please continue as if i was not here.


Hojeez. So, it's a long weekend's stay at a friend's family beach house with a large group, maybe ten of us. It's a large house, and owing to the arrangement of couples and bedrooms, I find myself assigned to a bedroom along with a female friend that's casually sleeping with me. There are other beds in this room, but everyone's turned in for the night and we're still alone, so… ahem.

Some time later, from behind me in the dark, I hear "Oh y'all just carry on, don't mind me". It's one of my best friends, stumbling in after he got cold on the hammock outside. Now I have my friend's ankles in my hands— there's no ambiguity to the degree of flagrante in which we are delicto, but he was looking for a warm bed and apparently the others are taken. He starts undressing to get in bed before our protests are convincing enough.

Breakfast was interesting.
posted by a halcyon day at 9:05 PM on November 8, 2015 [2 favorites]


Friend invites me over for with a couple he describes as mutual acquaintances. I can't place them, but apparently we knew each other in college. I'm puzzled as he describes them as excited to see me and I can't figure out who they are.

At dinner, on meeting them I still can't recall them. They are beside themselves with joy to see me again and spend the whole dinner telling me how awesome it is to see me again and how much it means to reconnect.

Eventually I crack and tell them I don't have any idea who they are or why they are so excited and they'll have to explain, in part because I think it's possible they may have me mixed up with someone else.

They then share, in great detail, their treasured memory of being convinced, by me, over the course of an evening, to get married and chase their dream, which involved dropping out of college and moving thousands of miles away from their families.

I still don't remember it at all, and become visibly uncomfortable. It got awkward from there.
posted by mwhybark at 10:33 PM on November 8, 2015 [25 favorites]


Hrm, my mom always tells me to say hi when calling. I once said you too (my dad died a while ago). We sort of both didn't hear that.

On a more elaborate note, I once was calling a friende "Bob" and his new gf "Anna" to ask them over for dinner with us: "Namlit" and my gf "Sarah". So I call and someone with a low voice answers the phone and says "Hi this is Anna".
How few milliseconds my mind needed to suppose this was Bob fooling around, and for me to say "Hi this is Sarah". Just really few.

It was actually Anna answering the phone, and she had a very low voice, simply. Difficult to explain my joke to her...
posted by Namlit at 2:10 AM on November 9, 2015


oho, I have a story which is not mine but which is excellent. Names changed to protect the embarrassed.

Jim goes on holiday over New Year with some friends including a couple Alice and Bob. They all make a trip to a place which has, among some spectacular scenery, a well known beautiful secluded spot.

Jim finds his way to this spot to see Bob, who is kneeling down, and Alice, who is not. Jim jumps on Bob and begins wrestling him to the ground comedy-horseplay-style while shouting "Haha, it looks like you're proposing!!".

Bob says "Yes I am proposing. Fuck off Jim".

Later in this holiday, by way of apology, Jim makes breakfast for Alice and Bob and carries it unannounced into their room, where it turns out they are busy celebrating their engagement vigorously. There is no furniture on which to set down the tray of breakfast, which requires both hands to carry, and the door to the room is a fire door so it slams dramatically shut behind Jim, leaving him stranded in the middle of the room with this breakfast tray, staring helplessly at Alice and Bob.
posted by emilyw at 4:22 AM on November 9, 2015 [31 favorites]


I really struggle to remember specific incidents where this has happened to me - I think I just blot them out of my mind, or they are mundane "fail to recognise person out of context" issues which happens to me regularly because face blind.

The best I can do was that I was passing a friend's houseboat a while ago and thought I would just say hello. I walked up to the river bank and somehow decided that a big patch of green algae on the surface of the water was solid ground. I confidently stepped forward and plunged into water up to my neck - I grabbed a mooring line instinctively to help keep me above the water.

A passerby helped me out but I felt incredibly awkward about explaining how I literally walked into the river by mistake. I decided I would cycle home rather than try to continue my social call (it turned out my friend was out anyway).

I also managed to feel mentally embarrassed about the adjacent timeline where I had fallen in and drowned. Super awkward to have your body found by your friend next to their boat with no indication of why they are there. It would have looked like a secret crush leading to suicide from unrequited love, leading to further awkwardness between my friend and my wife. Ugh, I cringe to think about this embarrassing death I narrowly avoided.
posted by crocomancer at 4:59 AM on November 9, 2015 [10 favorites]


I also managed to feel mentally embarrassed about the adjacent timeline where I had fallen in and drowned. Super awkward to have your body found by your friend next to their boat with no indication of why they are there. It would have looked like a secret crush leading to suicide from unrequited love, leading to further awkwardness between my friend and my wife. Ugh, I cringe to think about this embarrassing death I narrowly avoided.

Is there a term for imagining the worst possible scenario and feeling embarrassed about it? I do it, too (there probably is, it's probably German).
posted by everybody had matching towels at 6:23 AM on November 9, 2015 [10 favorites]


Gedankenpeinlichkeit is what I coined from my rusty knowledge and a bit of googling, but I'm sure a fluent speaker can do better.
posted by crocomancer at 7:08 AM on November 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


Oh man, I'm just catching up on this thread, and my eyes are streaming. In a good way. And I love you all.

I think I manage to brainwipe most of my embarrassing moments, but a couple just occurred to me while reading:

That time I told my Greek FIL that "I love the beautiful testicles" when trying to say that I liked the field of poppies. That time I forgot how to say "chicken breasts" in the moment in Greek, so when the grocery guy asked if he could help me, I said "I want chicken.... " and proceeded to pat myself on the boobs.

And recently, when answering the phone, and I was sure it was my husband because he said he would call when I finished work to see if he needed to pick up anything from the grocery store on his way home. Well, every single working day, he asks me "so, are you off yet?" at the end of my work day, and it's just this silly goofy joke between us. So the phone rings at the time I'm getting off work, and I answer the phone not with "hello," or "parakalo?" but "SO, AM I OFF YET?!"

Silence. More silence. Click.

I never did find out who was calling.
posted by taz at 9:45 AM on November 9, 2015 [7 favorites]


oh I have remembered another one, which did really happen to me.

So it's Christmas and I'm at my parents' house. They have no TV and the traditional way to keep occupied there for several days over the holidays involves playing a lot of Scrabble.

I am in the midst of a game of Scrabble with my mother, and the tiles in front of me lend themselves to a reasonable score by playing the world "DILDO". I'm in two minds about whether this is a good idea, but my family generally have a sense of humour and aren't particularly uptight, so DILDO goes down on the board and I start recording the score.

Mum looks at it. And she looks at me. And she looks at it and says "What on earth is a dildo? Haha! That's not a word!"

So I die quietly inside, and I think about this for a bit and the best answer I can come up with at short notice is "Well, it's the word for a rubber willy".

And Mum thinks about this and says in all seriousness, "A rubber willy! Haha! Why ever would somebody want a rubber willy?!"

....
posted by emilyw at 9:55 AM on November 9, 2015 [37 favorites]


taz: "That time I told my Greek FIL that "I love the beautiful testicles" when trying to say that I liked the field of poppies."

My best friend in junior high had a very stern, very German father (an economics professor at a nearby university), one of those dads who didn't really drive carpool or play ball in the yard or anything like that, but when required to supervise children could be found sitting, sternly and silently, in the chair furthest in the corner, reading economics articles or marking student papers. Everyone was very intimidated by him.

For reasons I do not recall but "we were in junior high" is probably sufficient, we learned how to say "I like my boys with whipped cream" in several languages, including German. We were at her house one afternoon running around shrieking and shouting it in various languages, when her dad suddenly emerges from his study (*gasp*) and says, in his heavily accented English, "Vat is this thing with the whipping cream in German?"

We looked at each other nervously and my friend started turning colors, and it was clear we were totally trapped, so I took the bullet and I looked at the floor and nervously said, "Ich mag meine Jungen mit Schlagsahne ... sir."

I'm not sure I've ever heard an adult man laugh harder, and I had certainly never heard that particular one laugh before. He thought this was just hilarious. Then he made me practice my pronunciation of the word Schlagsahne because it was not good (totally the most humiliating part, repeating "Schlagsahne" over and over while wishing for death), then he went back into his office chuckling to himself and muttering "die Jungen, heh heh heh." My friend said he would say it to himself at intervals for the next year, he'd just be reading quietly and suddenly say "Ich mag meine Jungen mit Schlagsahne," chuckle, and shake his head.

Obviously I avoided him for approximately three years afterwards from the extremely dire embarrassment. I ran into him in high school and he said, "Ah yes! I remember! The girl who likes the whipping cream!" DIE DIE DIE WHY CAN'T I DIE.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:02 AM on November 9, 2015 [52 favorites]


I was about 11 years old at some kind of science museum, sitting watching one of those little videos, when I reached up my hands behind my head to stretch--and knocked into a display behind me, which I could feel tipping over!! So I quickly grabbed onto the fabric to keep it from falling...and then a pair of hands gently disentangled me from what turned out to be THE FRONT OF HIS SHIRT oh god it wasn't a display it was a middle-aged man and I was HOLDING ONTO HIS SHIRT OH GOD
posted by exceptinsects at 10:58 AM on November 9, 2015 [5 favorites]


Eyebrows McGee: DIE DIE DIE WHY CAN'T I DIE.

Of course, that means "The the the why I can't I the", says Sideshow Bob.
posted by hanov3r at 11:28 AM on November 9, 2015 [7 favorites]


Pass neighbor in street walking dog / Smile at dog

Knows everyone at party / Plays with dog for 3 hours


Both of these seem like perfectly acceptable behavior to me. Perhaps this is why I do not know my neighbors and seldom get invited to parties.
posted by JanetLand at 11:57 AM on November 9, 2015 [2 favorites]


As a Team Leader in technical support, part of my job was to listen in to telephone calls. After a particularly tough call, I walked through the aisle and said to the employee [in earshot of half a dozen others], in quick succession, and with absolutely no ability to stop the words from tumbling out:

"Wow, that was a really shitty caller you had to deal with!"

"I can't fucking believe I just said that!"

"God damn, I just can't stop swearing!"
posted by QuakerMel at 2:13 PM on November 9, 2015 [1 favorite]


And last night I took out two shelves of pancake syrup at the same store. I am a winner.
posted by fluffy battle kitten at 2:48 PM on November 9, 2015


Eyebrows McGee, that story reminds me of one from my own teenage days.

I was 16, and had my first real girlfriend, who was a year younger. Anyways, one of the things we had been studying in school was genetics, and in covering that the teacher had us go through all those easily noticed/determined little physical things that are genetically determined such as the ability to roll one's tongue, earlobe attachment, PTC tasting, etc.

So, one night on a date I shared these with my girlfriend, including the fact that I could roll my tongue. She couldn't. The next night we're having dinner with her parents, and its a little awkward/nervous for both me & her. So, looking to fill some moment of silence after I had been answering a bunch of questions about me, she blurts out "And [nubs] has a really talented tongue!"

I guess I must have, because I did manage to talk my way out of that.
posted by nubs at 3:01 PM on November 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


nubs and emilyw reminded me of a story Jimmy Carr told in an interview. That when he and his girlfriend and her parents were out for dinner once and (I think) were talking about hidden talents, his girlfriend said "I can put my legs behind my head!" Which led to the two of them suddenly feeling uncomfortable, made worse by her Dad replying "So? When would that come in useful?"
posted by billiebee at 3:23 PM on November 9, 2015 [3 favorites]


Oh my god, this thread is half therapeutic, half traumatizing... I'm reliving so many blunders. I have ADHD-PI, which basically means half of the time I'm stumbling through life dazed and oblivious.

Sometimes I drag my kids down with me. Like this one time when I was visiting London with them, and we were walking along the river when I saw a homeless guy sitting and holding a disposable cup for people to put coins into. So I gave both my girls a few and urged them to go ahead and drop them into the cup so that the poor man could buy something to eat. The kids hesitated. "Are you sure that's what we're supposed to do?"

My youngest went first, dropped the coins - and then just remained standing there, frozen, while the eldest followed suit. And I was beaming encouragement all the while. Never too early to learn to help someone in need!

Afterwards, my eldest described that precise, awful moment that had felt like minutes, when she was stretching out her arm and realized that the cup was full of coffee. But it was too late, she couldn't stop her hand from moving, and just watched in horrified slow motion how her own fingers let go of the coins, which disappeared into the coffee with a plop.

They both ran to me, gasping: "Oh no mum, the cup was full", and the bloody scales fell from my bloody eyes: it was not a homeless person, just some guy on his lunch break who had come to the riverfront to have a cup of coffee and a sandwich. I... have no clue how I hadn't noticed that? He was now staring at his coffee in dismay, and the only thing left for me to do was to model to the kids the behaviour of a responsible adult after a fuckup.

I grabbed their little hands and we fled the scene.
posted by sively at 3:25 PM on November 9, 2015 [69 favorites]


Oh my god, you guys. I'm in tears. I love you all so very much.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 7:40 AM on November 10, 2015


They both ran to me, gasping: "Oh no mum, the cup was full", and the bloody scales fell from my bloody eyes: it was not a homeless person, just some guy on his lunch break who had come to the riverfront to have a cup of coffee and a sandwich. I... have no clue how I hadn't noticed that?

You know, this exact thing happened to Neil Gaiman once when he was having lunch with Alan Moore, and Moore was talking in graphic detail about a scene he was just then doing in From Hell and it was making Neil nauseous, so he was "getting some air" outside and a little old lady came along and tried to give him money because she thought he was a homeless guy. Far from being insulted, he was just amused, and in fact he ended up writing the scene into Neverwhere.

So the silver lining is that maybe that you and your girls will have inspired a scene in a modern fantasy novel someday.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:05 AM on November 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


One of my all-time most awkward moments remains walking into the green room at a club I was playing with my band only to get a face full of John Darnielle's ass (because he just so happened to be in the green room changing his pants at the time). We both stared uncomfortably at each other for a second or two, and then I quickly shut the door and left, making a point of making myself scarce after the show.
posted by saulgoodman at 11:23 AM on November 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


For the sake of clarity, let's call my former supervisor Ella.

*answers phone*

Me: "Good morning, Ella Lastname's office, this is.... Ella."

Actual Ella, calling to pick up messages, was not amused.

[In my defense, I got distracted sorting her mail and just read the name in front of me. Have I mentioned she disliked me under the best of circumstances?]
posted by Space Kitty at 12:50 PM on November 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


A friend of mine left to work on a farm for one summer, and brought her white cat with her to roam around in the fields and barns. She came back for a weekend and mentioned that the cat's fur was getting darker from all the time outdoors.

I asked if the cat was getting a tan. I'll never live it down.
posted by ActionPopulated at 1:21 PM on November 10, 2015 [9 favorites]


arrgh the coffee cut one finally loosened my own traumas: i did the same thing to a guy sat chilling in a shopping centre in Leeds. In my defence he was sat on the floor..
I also went into a fabric shop in France and, looking for the remnants box, asked "Avez vous des pièces?" and they went all hatchet-faced and chased me out of the shop, realised later pièces means coins...
At uni having a souful "ooh I'll stay up all night and go for an early morning wander" I went into a baker's at like dawn and asked if they had any stale bread for the piegeons, and the nice lady pressed so much baked goods on me am sure she thought I was really a starving student...
and the number of times I have loudly expressed to a mate undying lust for someone also present in a language it turns out they totally in fact do speak is not even plausible...
aargh gone all ouchy!
posted by runincircles at 2:43 PM on November 10, 2015


This is one of my mother's most awkward moments, but it's too good not to share. When my grandfather started going back in time due to senile dementia, he was solid up to the Johnson administration but frequently confused about the present, and at that point his children and children-in-law were taking it in turns to all go spend a week at a time with him to help out my grandmother. He maintained his lifelong routine of sitting down to watch the evening news (at the highest volume because I DON'T NEED HEARING AIDS I'M NOT DEAF YOU'RE JUST MUMBLING), and after the lead story, he'd always turn to his adult-child-of-the-week and demand, "Who the hell is Bill Clinton?"

"That's the president, dad. He was elected in 1992. You voted for Bush."

"Oh, yeah, right, right." He subsides to watch more of the story. The news announcer goes on. My grandfather gathers from the context that some kind of scandal is going on, but he's a little hazy on the details. At last, he turns to his adult-child-of-the-week again and demands clarification: "What the hell is a blow job?"

Every. Night.

And he had not yet lost his ability to tell when his children were lying to him. So my mother got to explain to her father, over and over, what, exactly, a blow job was and why Congress was so worked up about them.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 2:50 PM on November 10, 2015 [22 favorites]


Thanks for this. Now all I have to do is have my kids read your comment, so I can say, "This. This is the exact point where I want you to kill me. When I can't remember what a blowjob is."
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:19 PM on November 10, 2015 [18 favorites]


So my wife just got back from a business trip to America with her boss. Her coworker is really fond of turkey jerky, which is not available here, so whenever anyone takes a trip to America he asks whoever's going to pick some up for him. Her boss learned of this while they were waiting in the airport for their trip back from America, and so he decided to walk around the concourse trying to find some turkey jerky for him, but came back empty-handed. Apparently they didn't understand him, or something (he's not a native English speaker).

The next day, they're both back in the office, and the first thing her boss does is he walks over to her coworker and asks, in all seriousness, "Why didn't you tell me you like chicken chicken?"
posted by DoctorFedora at 5:09 PM on November 10, 2015


A good friend of mine, a very smart, capable civil engineer (who was also at the time very visibly pregnant) was having a conversation with another engineer in the middle of a pretty loud party. Instead of When are you due she heard What do you do? and cheerfully replied "Oh, wastewater!"
posted by janepanic at 5:27 PM on November 10, 2015


Just remembered one that happened to my best friend, not me, but it's one of my favorite things of all time. Back in her early twenties D briefly dated a musician a handful of years older, whose band was really more of a performance art group that at the time had a fair amount of local buzz, so she was very intimidated by this uber-cool guy and really wanted to impress him with her own coolness. He was coming over to hang out one night so she spent the afternoon cobbling together a playlist full of all the best cool kid make-out music she could find, and dude came over and things were progressing nicely and in the middle of putting the moves on her he's like, "wow, you've got great taste in music"...

And then the make-out playlist ended, and the repeat playlist option wasn't enabled, so iTunes just rolled into the next playlist, which started with this. At ear splitting volume.
posted by palomar at 5:31 PM on November 10, 2015 [6 favorites]


Palomar, that's hysterical, and the kind of thing that would happen to me.
posted by Jubey at 12:02 AM on November 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


This is the story of a friend of mine who is one of the kindest people I know:
He worked for many years in Israel with an organization that tries to bring Israeli and Palestinian kids together and this happened fairly shortly after he took the job in the mid-1990s. At the time his Hebrew was pretty good and he was just starting to learn Arabic.

His organization was being recognized by King Hussein and Queen Noor of Jordan and he knew that he might actually meet the King face to face and learned how to say, in polite form in Arabic, "It is an honor to meet you King Hussein."

Apparently his accent was good because when he met King Hussein and said "It is an honor to meet you King Hussein," King Hussein assumed that he spoke Arabic fluently and started talking to him at length. All my friend could do was nod and smile. I think the hardest part for him was that he had great respect for King Hussein and was totally crushed by not being able to understand what he was saying about his organization.
posted by sciencegeek at 7:01 AM on November 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


I went to a school with a really large number of Jewish students, and I'm pretty sure that one in every three male students there was named David. My first few days of freshman orientation, I made a good friend named David, and he introduced me to another guy (who became one of my best friends) also named David. They had some sort of Freshman Welcome dance the night that I met David2, whose dominant characteristics were being kind of short, kind of skinny, wearing large round hipster glasses, and a plaid shirt. I went by myself, but then I saw David2! "Oh, hey David!" I said with enthusiasm, and - because college is a time to go outside your comfort zone - started dancing with him, again perhaps with more enthusiasm than was actually warranted. After maybe 10 minutes of awkward small talk and even more awkward dancing, David said, "So what's your name?" "Oh, I'm Erin - David introduced us this afternoon. Remember? I live a floor up from you."

It turns out that this guy was not my David2, but some OTHER guy named David, who was also short, skinny, bespectacled, and wearing a plaid shirt. Once he realized I thought he was some other David, he got kind of offended and I was mortified and then we only ever made really awkward eye contact acknowledgment for the rest of college when we'd occasionally run into eachother.
posted by ChuraChura at 7:36 AM on November 11, 2015 [8 favorites]


Just saw this on a Facebook friend's feed (said person is a math professor):

"In one of my first statistics classes, I cracked the joke that the mean average number of legs on people is slightly less than 2. ...then I noticed that a student was missing an arm."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:59 AM on November 11, 2015 [6 favorites]


Went to a ball, and misremembered the coat I'd worn over my gown.
Got into a several minutes long argument with the lady in the cloak room before having to admit that "oh - that is my coat."

When I was about seven, a woman with a slightly older child was hired to pick me up after school and mind me for an hour. One day, the woman had a friend over. I asked whether I could pick a book from a sideboard high up on the wall. I'd have to stand on a chair to get it.
She looked at me thoughtfully infront of her friend, said, "well, you're a mature, careful girl who won't get into shenanigans, not like my daughter over there, so go ahead. Be careful, though." Even then, I knew that she was also making a point to her friend - I and my maturity were on display!

So I took a chair, climbed on to it, reached out and tore the entire sideboard out of the wall. I'll never forget the shame I felt as I sat on the floor, covered in books, and the lady came over wordlessly to survey the damage. I had shamed her!
posted by Omnomnom at 12:18 PM on November 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


My job is to write and draw in front of groups while they talk. This naturally takes a bit of multi-tasking to remember, synthesize a person's thought and then spell it correctly while also listening to the next person's thought. Sometimes it all gets jumbled up in there and when I'm writing the word "analysis" I am distracted and only write the first four letters. It happens to me often enough that I blush as soon as I start writing the word and have to mouth out the words to make sure I don't pause writing at an inappropriate point in the word.

You know how when you look at a word for a long time it starts to look wrong? A few months ago I had finished live drawing with permanent marker on foam core in front of about 100 people and a high up leadership-type person walks up to me and says "Hi I enjoyed watching you work. I'm suck a stickler for spelling... I just wanted to point out a few things..." People come up to me all the time to tell me how great my work is, and compliment me so I just brushed it off like "oh yeah, thanks... blah blah stock response about being awesome and how it's all about listening..." She was pulled away by a colleague before we finished talking. Ten minutes later I realized I spelled "used to" "ust to"six inches high in permanent ink with my fattest black marker and she was politely trying to tell me.
posted by Bunglegirl at 12:07 AM on November 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


I was on a second date with a guy I met online that I didn't think would go anywhere but figured I'd give another chance. We're sitting at dinner making small talk and he is going on about his free time and hobbies and how he enjoys gym time. I ask him "do you usually run or lift weights?" He replies "Jim. That's my name. Jim time. My name is Jim."

It's true, I forgot his name.
posted by Bunglegirl at 12:20 AM on November 13, 2015 [13 favorites]


Bunglegirl, your job sounds awesome. I've only seen that done for presentations, though, never group discussions. Sounds difficult!
posted by Omnomnom at 1:49 AM on November 13, 2015 [1 favorite]


Bunglegirl, I have several dear friends named Jim, and if any of them said they enjoy "Jim time", I would also think they'd said "gym time". And that includes the ones who I know have not worked out ever in their lives.
posted by Etrigan at 5:32 AM on November 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


A few years ago I was at a conference and the people around the table (all strangers to each other) were making chitchat. One person mentioned that he was from Florida, and I have no idea what possessed me to say this, but I remarked that "Florida, it's very sunny there, that's probably why you have that great tan!"

His reply: "Actually, this is my natural skin color."

Cue long silence.

Folks, I wanted to die and thought I probably deserved to. I absolutely did not mean what I accidentally said and I've felt guilty about it ever since. Thankfully, this far down, probably nobody will read this.
posted by epanalepsis at 6:57 AM on November 13, 2015 [10 favorites]


my most recent horrible moment yesterday involved me attempting to explain that my problems with spanish are not because i can't speak or understand it well enough but because i am a little bit deaf; in actual fact i proclaimed myself to be a small female pig.
posted by poffin boffin at 7:20 AM on November 13, 2015 [16 favorites]


Yesterday I was in a restaurant (or more accurately "temple of gluttony" or "all you can eat palace"). For unknown reasons, I dropped into my "accompanying a toddler" narrative mode even though the toddler in question was not there. So I was trying to get ice cream from a self-service ice cream machine and announcing "Wow I wonder how this works. Maybe I have to pull on this thing here. Whoaaaaa..... Oh wow! Ice cream! How exciting!"

Then I turned round to see none of my friends anywhere near me, and a queue of people behind me all staring at me as if I was completely off my rocker.
posted by emilyw at 8:17 AM on November 13, 2015 [34 favorites]


> Thankfully, this far down, probably nobody will read this

Sorry to break the news to you...
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:43 PM on November 13, 2015 [7 favorites]


It took me this whole thread to remember a mortifying moment of my own. I lived in the same apartment building as a good friend, and was leaving his apartment on the second floor after a visit one night to walk up to my own on the top floor of the building. I hadn't bothered to lock my door or wear shoes downstairs, and I was alarmed to hear voices as I walked up to it. I worked up all my courage, and flung open the door, ready to scream at the top of my lungs at whoever was breaking into my apartment, only to stare in confusion at two strangers standing in an apartment that didn't look at all like mine.

Instead of realizing that it didn't look like my apartment because it wasn't, I demanded "What are you doing in here?!"

Then it dawned on me that I was the one in the wrong place. Somehow I had missed the fact that I couldn't be at the top floor yet since there was still another floor to climb and had entered the apartment that was directly below my own. As I always do in situations like this, I came up with the first lie that I could think of that might help me out of the situation. "I'm so sorry, I'm visiting my friend lives in this apartment building and he told me this was his apartment number!" and hastily closed the door behind me and fled. This was in the winter, so the fact that I was barefoot made this pretty suspect, not to mention that I ended up running into them constantly, which I dealt with by not making eye contact.
posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 6:55 PM on November 13, 2015 [11 favorites]


At the playground and not paying attention at all to the time, I suddenly realized I was going to be really late getting Thing 3 to his annual checkup. And the office only holds appointments for 15 minutes then you have to reschedule.

I call out to Thing 2, "Get in the car!" as I find my youngest, scoop him up and toss him in his carseat.

He's throwing a tantrum to end all tantrums, squirming and kicking and waving his little fists in the air.

I'm like, "C'mon buddy. We gotta go. Let me buckle you in."

And JC ON A MUTHAFUCKING STICK this kid will not stop screaming, and I can't get the buckles done and I'm doing that panicky sweat where now my hands are soaking wet and he's screaming like I'm sticking knives in him.

And I finally get him buckled in, I'm going to be late, and when we get to the doctor, I find out that...

Kinetic 3 had a strangulated hernia and that's why he was screaming when I was forcing him to sit down.

Ha! You were waiting for it wasn't my kid, right??
posted by kinetic at 5:10 AM on November 15, 2015 [11 favorites]


I've never read a story before where kidnapping would have been the preferable punchline.
posted by Etrigan at 9:14 AM on November 15, 2015 [27 favorites]


Some Mefites were witness to one of my recent embarrassing moments, as it was at my very first Metafilter meetup recently in Brooklyn in the backyard of a local bar.

As this was my very first time meeting anyone from Metafilter, I saw down at a table on the edge of the main group and introduced myself to the people sitting there. Yeah, they were not Mefites and had no idea why this random person was sitting at their table and introducing herself.

After reading this thread, I'm less embarrassed as now I know pretty much everyone on Metafilter has done something similar. I'm officially one of y'all now.
posted by Fuego at 12:34 PM on November 15, 2015 [10 favorites]


Fuego, I hope you sat down and introduced yourself with your MeFi handle.

also obligatory MetaFilter: kidnapping would have been the preferable punchline
posted by a halcyon day at 2:42 PM on November 15, 2015 [3 favorites]


My partner's grandmother died, and my brother-in-law was in South America with his wife and family. His wife was from South America, and somebody had to call and speak to her family in Spanish to get the news to them. I was the only person with any Spanish language skills, and the were rusty. But I was very brave, because it was important. We dialed and they picked up and I made my way through telling them who I was, and that someone had died, and for some reason I couldn't come up with the Spanish word for "funeral" - I could've used, oh, I don't know, in Spanish: funeral. But instead I found myself yelling into the phone the equivalent of "ITS LIKE A PARTY! BUT FOR A DEAD PERSON!"
posted by vitabellosi at 6:32 PM on November 15, 2015 [24 favorites]


So, I'm on the phone to an OB/GYN office....

OB/GYN receptionist:Could I have your name please?
Me: Gwendoline
OB/GYN receptionist:Not a problem, Gwendoline. And what time would suit you?
Me: Afternoons are better
OB/GYN receptionist: Not a problem Gwendoline, So is this an appointment for a pregnancy or infertility?
Me: Infertility
OB/GYN receptionist: Not a problem...
.....
.....
Me: [not knowing whether to laugh or cry] I WISH it wasn't a problem!
posted by Gwendoline Mary at 9:12 PM on November 16, 2015 [5 favorites]


Yesterday at the market I asked the life-size cardboard Stormtrooper if he was in line. I don't think anyone noticed, but I scattered quickly.
posted by Room 641-A at 5:48 AM on November 17, 2015 [15 favorites]


It was not the queue you were looking for.
posted by nubs at 8:40 AM on November 17, 2015 [12 favorites]


I don't think anyone noticed, but I scattered quickly.

Did you ride off in all directions?
posted by McCoy Pauley at 8:51 AM on November 17, 2015 [2 favorites]


Nah, you go single file, to hide your numbers.
posted by nubs at 8:56 AM on November 17, 2015 [5 favorites]


As this was my very first time meeting anyone from Metafilter, I saw down at a table on the edge of the main group and introduced myself to the people sitting there. Yeah, they were not Mefites and had no idea why this random person was sitting at their table and introducing herself.

I went to a meetup while on the road once, years ago (and thus before the protocol of "Matt's birthday party"/"friends of Matt's" had been discovered). One of the mefites joined the rest of us an hour late. He had been in the same bar the whole time, but had approached a likely table and asked if they were here for a meetup from the website.

They said yes, so he sat and had a beer with a bunch of, IIRC, accountants there to talk about their rotisserie league baseball tournament. I gather he felt it would have been abrupt to get up and walk away, so he genteelly finished his beer before excusing himself and tracking us down.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:22 AM on November 18, 2015 [11 favorites]


My whole life feels like a long awkward moment, so I have plenty to choose from. Off the top of my head : I was seventeen, sitting in the first row of the class, next to a girl I found really attractive. Suddenly, she handed a small folded piece of paper to me. I took it, checked with a glance whether someone had seen us or not - some students were watching me with with a puzzled expression on their face - and put it in the inside pocket of my jacket. I expected something really romantic because I thought she was not insensitive to my - rather limited - charms.
When I read it during recess it was only a poll to make the list of the students who wanted to go to a club on Saturday night. So I pretended I was too captivated by the lesson and forgot about the list, and then handed it to the next person.
posted by nicolin at 10:35 AM on November 23, 2015 [2 favorites]


Not mine, but a colleague just told us that she works part time at an events venue. They have to say either "Have a good night!" or "Enjoy the show!" to customers, and at the weekend she managed to accidentally combine the two and say to an elderly gentleman "Have a good shite!"
posted by billiebee at 8:19 AM on November 25, 2015 [8 favorites]


AHAHA

Another one from a friend (I swear): she went to Home Depot to buy paint, the paint had to be mixed, the guy asked if she needed anything else while the paint was mixing and actually, she did, she needed masking tape! Tape, to keep the paint off the crown molding!

What came out: "Yes, where is your taint?"

And then she had to stand there and pretend to be interested in the different kinds of tape while the paint mixed for five minutes and she died inside.
posted by sunset in snow country at 9:56 AM on November 25, 2015 [11 favorites]


Etrigan, I think this was me.

And, yes, I agree. AWKWARD.
posted by metasav at 3:54 PM on December 3, 2015 [1 favorite]


One of the final assignments for my political science class is to write my own citizen pledge, an assignment based on this. I also had to record myself reciting my pledge and submit the written document and the sound file by midnight last night to get full credit. Easy peasy lemon squeezy, right? Ohohohoho. Oh, sweet summer child. Take one: interrupted by my cat going full Screamin' Jay Hawkins from the middle of her super loud crinkly plastic bag nest. Take two: a gnat flew into my mouth two seconds after I tapped the record button, and "I pledge to phhhhtttbt ewwwwwww wtf" is what results. Take three: Made it all the way to the end without any problems... except for the last line of my pledge, in which I misquoted Emma Lazarus, so my lovely recording ends "your yearning masses... yearning to... break... ffffffuuuuuck."

Nailed it on take four, though. Wish that's the file I'd submitted in the first place instead of realizing this morning that I submitted take three.
posted by palomar at 10:13 AM on December 4, 2015 [9 favorites]


My rock-ribbed atheist partner is actually a pillar of the church her parents were prominent members of twenty-plus years ago -- "ancestor worship", she calls it -- and in private conference with her favorite pastor a while back, overcome by a sudden access of tears, she snatched blindly at the kleenex he keeps on his desk, and amidst some fairly extensive wiping and dabbing hears a panicked "oh my goodness!" and looks up to see the pastor rather ineffectually slapping at the box of tissues which is now all but fully involved in flame because she had pulled it over so that the extended tissue was over the lit candle which was also on his desk.

A few stomps from her heavy rain boots later the crisis had passed, and she dismisses out of hand any suggestion from me that this might have been a Sign.
posted by jamjam at 11:29 AM on December 4, 2015 [1 favorite]


Once, I volunteered to cover a presentation on "business lingerie" for a newspaper. I got lost in the building and ended up in a seminar on "How to Find a Man". (I mean, whut! And it was full of people!)

Nobody questioned my appearance in the middle of the seminar, but I was immediately handed a notepad and asked to jot down my requirements for the man of my dreams.
("When you imagine your ideal man figure out what it is you are really saying. If the man of your dreams must be broad shouldered, for instance, what you really mean is that you want a man who supports you, who is strong for you.")

By then, I'd twigged that something was wrong. But because I was too embarassed to just get up and leave, I actually finished the assignment before mumbling something and bolting out.

I never did find the underwear presentation.
posted by Omnomnom at 12:35 PM on December 4, 2015 [5 favorites]


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