It started in about 3rd grade, when my youngest sister was just walking. My mom went for parent-teacher conferences, and my younger sister and I were left to take care of the littlest one. I decided we would walk around and meet all the staff. She looked so cute, toddling along, that I was sure this would be a big hit.
I walked her into the library and said, "Look Janet, there's Mrs. Levy!" I was so proud of myself. Mrs. Levy said, "I'm NOT Mrs. Levy!" and stalked out. Oops. (I guess Mrs. Levy was not someone she wanted to be!)
I remember another time when I was working for an outdoor music theater. One of the concerts was a benefit for an organization helping people with lupus. The chairwoman of the event, a Chicago socialite, spent lots of time with me that afternoon, as I was the receptionist and "door watcher," and she was a personal friend of the general manager. She kept wandering in to chat with him, and, because he was often busy, she would chat with me while she waited. Very nice, very friendly lady.
Later that evening, as the concert began, cooler weather also moved in. About an hour into the concert, the door opened and in came in Ms. Friendly. As I was busy with some concert-night task, I didn't notice that she was almost carried in. When I turned and said, "Oh, my, did you get injured," she laughed and said, "No, I'm just one of those people who happens to have lupus and the cold really gets to me." Not that I heard that last bit; I had, for some inexplicable reason, laughed back at her. If looks could have killed, the one the production assistant carrying the left side of her body gave me would have put me under and you wouldn't be reading this now. But it didn't, and, instead, I get to live with occasional episodes where I remember my faux pas. Like right now, for instance.
I suffer, myself, from the occasionally-almost-fatal and socially-debilitating Foot In Mouth disease. I'm in good company; I'm told St. Peter himself feasted regularly on his feet. And, see here, and here, more famous bloggers than I are infected with it, also!
I did it more recently, too. At Matthew's wedding, a friend came up to me and said she'd noticed that we'd moved the gifts from our living room, where they had been set early in the party, to a table under the dancing tent. She said, "Ours is in the living room still. I don't want you to forget about it." Did I ease her concern gracefully? No, I blurted something like, "Well, your gift was really big and we didn't want it to cover the whole table. But don't worry, when they open gifts, they'll get it." Chomp, chomp; I was wearing sandals, so it was easy.
I did it yesterday, too, saying something unspeakable to my son, and, by extension, his fiancee. I won't tell you what I said; it really was unspeakable. Again, I have a mouth full of foot. I'll be surprised if I have room tonight for the fajitas I'm cooking! I feel just awful. I sent an apology, and am waiting to find out if they can forgive me. Waiting...
But at least I'm in good company!