I don't mingle well. I have a habit of saying the wrong thing and being frowned at. First impressions aren't my strong point: I'm more of an acquired taste, like Vegemite.
Not that I'm alone in this infliction. There are some very high profile personalities with the same problem. One which springs to mind, and one I always feel a certain affinity with, is Prince Philip, who seems to wear his feet in his mouth more often than in his shoes. Apparently the Queen genuinely gets a laugh out of hearing his public faux pas, like when he told the President of Nigeria, who was wearing the country's national dress, "You look like you're ready for bed!"
Last night we went to a fantastic, preemptive Halloween party next door. Our neighbours have four kids still living at home, and when we added our 5 little ones they combined to create a level of noise the local constabulary must have had a hard time ignoring.
Before I go on with my little tale I have to mention this was the best decorated Halloween party I've ever been to. Probably because the man of the house is some sort of props artist and his good wife a movie makeup artist. All I know is it made our effort last year, with Christmas lights we cleverly dubbed Halloween lights draped over the balcony, look a bit preschoolish. These guys had a smoke machine, floating eyes in the punch (made our of lychees and blueberries) and had set up a huge Haunted House in the carport for the kids. And their kids costumes made my liberal use of fake blood on our munchkins look a little underwhelming. Sadly I can't share photos of the event because Tracey had all our cameras at the wedding she was playing photographer for and didn't arrived until around 8.30pm, but trust me, it was an awesome effort.
Around 9pm I dragged home our three youngest, who had started to hit a wall made of sugary drinks and salted chips, and put them to bed. Tracey followed an hour later with the oldest two.
"I had a bit of an awkward moment," she told me.
"What did you say?" I asked, acutely aware of the role reversal. In fact, if I ever tire of writing about our family life I could write a daily post about my faux pas
"Not me," she said. "I was on the receiving end."
"How wonderful! What happened?"
"That lovely lady dressed as a skeleton was saying to me the parade was a bit of a let down and specifically mentioned the dancing in the park," grinned Tracey. "Then I got to say, 'Oh, our daughters were the ones dancing in the park.' It was fabulously awkward."
"Oh," I said to Tracey. "Actually, I think she owed us that one."
"Why?" she looked at me expectantly. Then a little crossly. "What did you do?"
"Ah, well..." I began strongly, "...they were talking about the parade and she mentioned she was in the Mary Valley bit with the turtles and I said how fantastic it was." Tracey raised her eyebrows, waiting for the punchline. "Then I asked, 'Where you lady carrying the baby turtle?'"
"But that was-"
"Yeah, a much, much older woman. I know. She told me."
"What did you say then? I hope you apologized."
"Even better," I told Tracey. "I diverted attention away from myself by pointing to the hostess," (our delightful neighbour), "and asking her why on Earth she insisted I ask this lovely lady that question." Disaster averted.
Not sure what damage I've done yet, if any, but they all laughed so that's at least promising. I guess we'll know Wednesday night when the neighbours are supposed to be coming over for some pumpkin carving festivities.
While Tracey doesn't seem to be quite as amused as, say, the Queen, she has taken to calling me 'Phil' this morning. Every time she does this I'm sorely tempted to ask her to check out my family jewels, but you know me, I'd hate to say the wrong thing.
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