Sunday, February 6, 2011
Genuine Imitation Faux Pas
I really shouldn’t be allowed out in public. Seriously—I shouldn’t. There should be firm policies against letting boneheaded women have access to normal people.
As I write this, I’m listening to Mr. Grumbles as he reads aloud to me from a catalogue: American Science and Surplus. Since I spend so much time working at the computer, the poor man has gotten quite proficient at speaking to my back and expecting nothing more than the occasional grunt in response. Once in awhile, he says something that breaks through my concentration and causes me to pause and really listen. I don’t do that often enough, I know. But he seems content to prattle away as he waits for that cognitive spark from his wife which acknowledges—at least temporarily--his presence on the bed behind me.
Tonight, he’s said several things which caught my attention. He read the description of a combination wallet and checkbook holder. It was made of “genuine imitation faux leather”. I puzzled over that one for several minutes. Genuine. Imitation. Faux. Leather.
As he read along, he also described another item offered in the catalogue. World War One-era glass urinals. Curiosity piqued, I turned around and said, “What in the world would someone want to buy those for?”
Of course, there was an answer. He continued. “These can be mounted on the wall and used as vases.”
What excellent imagery. That is the exact language--and usage--I would have chosen. Sheesh…
The catalogue offered other delights for just a fraction of the price you’d pay at any other high-class boutique or gift store. My favorite? For just pennies on the dollar, you can purchase a kit which includes toothpicks and toilet paper, so that you can turn house flies into mini airplanes. (Flies not included.)
I kid you not…you can’t make this stuff up.
But it was Mr. Grumble’s earlier ramble which really sent me for a loop. He’d climbed into bed and enjoyed his customary cuddle with his cat, Timmie. My husband doesn’t like cats, but he loves Timmie. She’s simply too danged cute and snuggly to ignore. He pets her and talks to her for a few minutes each night as she sits beside him with her tail-end on the bed, and her front feet on his chest or belly.
As he patted Timmie, I typed away-- hearing his words but not really listening. Not absorbing them. I was engrossed in a project, after all.
“That was pretty funny, this afternoon.”
“Mmm hmmm…” I typed away.
“You gave them quite a laugh.”
I turned around. He was talking about me, so I thought I’d better pay attention.
“I gave them a laugh, when?” I raised my brows enquiringly-- a little embarrassed, because I knew he’d probably already told me, and I simply hadn’t absorbed it. It wasn’t long before I regretted asking him to repeat himself.
We attended a meeting and luncheon today, and I was called on to give a brief rundown of the agenda for a conference which I have helped to plan and coordinate, and which is coming up on Saturday. As I explained the events for the morning session, I told the 35 attendees that there would be a segment during which representatives of other, similar organizations would come to the podium and give summaries of their own projects. I told them I was going to be very strict about keeping each speaker to his allotted five minutes. Someone in the crowd asked what I was going to do if a speaker went over his time.
I said, “I’ll yank him off.”
I remember the laughter. One chap asked, “You’ll WHAT?” and I thought he didn’t understand that I was serious. That those speakers would be held to their time limits, or there would be serious consequences!
The laughter went on. But saying that I’d jerk someone off stage if they spoke too long wasn’t really all that funny, I didn’t think.
That’s the problem, though. I didn’t think. I didn’t get it. And I carried on, content with my merry-go-lucky audience, and not even cognizant of the (genuine imitation) faux pas.
It took a retelling by Mr. Grumbles to make me realize I’d had another Bonehead Moment while in public. And he took more than five minutes to tell me, too.
Pffftt! I’m staying home, from now on. It’s not like I’ll be bored, here. I’ve got some house flies to catch before my order from the catalogue store arrives.