Juliana Writes...

Living with the best of intentions

Sunday, March 29, 2015

My Awkward Word Vomit

If actions speak louder than words I would like someone to please explain the exchange I had with my neighbor the other day.

I was coming home as he was leaving.  As we walked toward each other we exchanged pleasant hellos and how are yous, followed by an extra mile question: “How’s your dog?”

I feel I need to preface this next bit by explaining my deeply rooted need for people to like me.  I do not do well with conflict or negative emotion; I instantaneously begin to implode at the very suggestion of a public argument.  Generally these circumstances can be avoided by existing on peoples’ good side, or at least on their neutral side, so that is where I want to be.  Always.  Besides, isn’t life better when we all just get along? (Says the girl who finds that the only way to keep her anxiety in check is to spew glitter and smiles into every situation ever.)

This particular neighbor had complained when we first moved in nearly a year ago about our TV being too loud, to which I had promptly responded with home-baked brownies and a sincere apology, a combination that should never fail to sweeten a bitter situation.  Sadly, we have reason to believe there is some lingering passive-aggressive resentment regarding our (very reasonable) noise level despite peace making pastries – though there have been no more formal complaints so really I should be able to carry on without giving it a second thought.  Nope.  Every time I see this particular neighbor I feel the need to become the gooiest ray of sunshine, sugar coated with what borders on manic enthusiasm in hopes that I will be embraced into the Best-Neighbor-Ever bracket.  This will never happen.  I know this.  Still, I can’t help but try, which invariably leads to conversations like this one.

“How’s your dog?” I say.
“He’s alright,” The Neighbor replies, and without even a moment’s hesitation he adds, “although he’s got a little bit of diarrhea.”

Okay sir.  We do not know each other well enough for you to say diarrhea to me.  On the other hand, I desperately want you to like me.  These are not good conflicting emotions to have inside of me.  It’s truly amazing how quickly this short-circuited my brain, generating the response, “oh that’s nothing, we’ve got diarrhea all the time over here!”

Now, at this point I have one foot through my front door and he’s about to walk out the gate.  We have reached the natural ending point to our conversation. 

Naturally I panicked.

“Nope!  Nope.  We don’t, I mean the dog, the dog has diarrhea all the time…I mean, not all the time, just…”

Aaaand he’s gone.  Super.

I closed the door and leaned against it for a minute, replaying the whole thing in my head and hating myself.  “No problem,” I tried to shrug, “I’m sure he totally knew what you meant.  He gets that it was just silly small talk.  Probably wasn’t even listening.  No big deal.”

Wrong.  The Neighbor now A.) Thinks I’m insane, B.) Is certain my dog is the cause of his dog’s diarrhea, and C.) Yep, we probably all have diarrhea.

In my defense, he said diarrhea first.

1 comment:

  1. My verbal vomit usually comes out later at home when I'm thinking about a past encounter with someone, in the the form of an uncontrolled "meow"!