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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

What is that? What IS that? OMG...It's YOU!!!

I think I may have mentioned this (she says, and looks around furtively to be certain no one is rolling their eyes) already, but I'm about to move across the country.

In preparation for the big move, I flew out to the Raleigh area last week so I could see the apartment, sign the lease, arrange for utilities...that sort of thing. Ava Stone was kind enough to offer to let me stay with her for a few days while I was in town.

Any time the two of us get together, much gut-busting laughter is sure to ensue. This trip was no different.

You might also recall that Ava recently had a run-in with a couple of dead mice...and that she is not so fond of mice. The mice problem has been eradicated, but her fear/loathing/general disquietude about the possibility of rodents being in her house has not.

We were sitting in her living room one night, watching the Olympics with her son. The two of them were having a discussion full of laughter (shocking, I know!), and I got a notification on my phone that I'd had an email. The response required a bit more typing than I really wanted to do on a phone, so I pulled out my laptop and started to type...and briefly tuned out the rest of the world while I composed my email.

This isn't an uncommon occurrence for me. I have been known to be lost in my head more often than I'm aware of what is going on around me. As a writer, I consider this a skill. (Perhaps an annoying skill for those who are trying to have a conversation with me, but a skill, nonetheless.)

After I was almost finished with typing my email, I became a bit more aware of Ava's conversation with her son. Here's what I heard from her: "What is that? What is that???" *cue dramatic pause* "Oh my god."

At this point, I looked up at her to see what she was freaking out about. Ava had one hand covering her nose and mouth. She pointed the other straight at me and, with sheer and utter horror filling her eyes, said, "It's YOU!"

Now, color me silly, but my first impression was that she was smelling something nasty and trying to place the blame on me and not her fourteen-year-old son.

After a few minutes of utter confusion, followed by long minutes of such sincere, gut-busting hilarity that I had tears in my eyes, my stomach hurt, and I couldn't stop myself from halfway snorting through my laughter, we sorted out that poor Ava was not accusing me of breaking wind or desperately needing a shower to clear the air of B.O.

No, instead she'd apparently heard my fingers tapping away at my laptop keyboard, and as it was an unfamiliar sound (normally, the only fingers tapping away at a keyboard in her home belong to her, and so she knows to expect it) and one which could potentially sound eerily similar to mice feet on hard floors, she thought her itty-bitty rodent problem had returned.

We continued to laugh over this--both her thinking that there were mice in the house, and my impression that she thought I'd stunk up the joint--the rest of the night. At least this miscommunication was harmless, not to mention humorous. I've had plenty over the years which were not so well received.

What's the funniest thing you ever misunderstood? Or have you been on my end of things and interpreted someone's words and visual cues to mean something completely opposite of what they were intended to mean? Would you find a scene like this believable if you read it in a book? (Sometimes, truth is stranger than fiction...)

23 comments:

  1. That is hilarious, Catherine! I'm certain I've had more than my share of misunderstandings, but I can't think of any at the moment. One of the silliest things I think I've done is tell one of my very Caucasian patients that her daughter resembled her. She smiled politely and told me her daughter had been adopted from China. LOL! But her father had been American, and I swear that they really did look similar.

    My life and the funny things I do often inspire scenes in my books. I don't know if people find them believable or not, but writing these scenes amuses me.

    Oh! I just thought of one. I gave my agent a high-five in California. Hahaha! I think she was holding her hand up to gesture while she spoke, but I am so used to my daughter holding up her hand for a high-five, that I automatically did it. Seriously, my daughter does this to me about ten times a day! It drives me insane. LOL! I blushing just thinking about it!

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    1. LMAO Sam! Did your agent give you a "What was that?" look? I'm cracking up just thinking about it.

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    2. Hee! I love that you high-fived your agent out of habit. Did you explain afterwards why you did it? I often tend to try to explain myself after I've done something awkward or odd, and then I dig myself a deeper hole than I'd started with in the first place.

      I sometimes write scenes like this into my books, only to take them out about half the time because they seem too unrealistic (despite the fact that I experience them in real life all the time). But at least I'm not alone in that. :)

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    3. Ava,
      She did, but she played it off well and went with it. LOL. Gotta love her!

      Cat,
      I didn't explain myself, because I was so embarrassed! I wanted to just pretend it didn't happen. :D

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  2. So you heard Cat's version of the story. What you don't know is as soon as I started hearing this little clicking sound, every muscle in my body tensed up.

    At first I thought I was imagning the sound. BUT it just wouldn't stop. So I sat bolt upright, turning my head to the right (Cat was to the left). I slowly panned the length of my living room until my eyes landed on her tapping away on her keyboard.

    I was sooo relieved and yet still on edge at the same time. (Adrenaline was coursing through my veins.) I'm pretty sure my heart stopped sometime during this event.

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    1. LOL, Ava. At least we were able to relieve the adrenaline rush you had by laughing so hard we cried and our stomachs hurt and we were snorting through our noses. No? Just me? Okay. Well I was laughing like that at least. :)

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    2. LOL. Not just you! I don't know when my stomach has ever ached so much from laughter. I was thiiiis close to crying.

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  3. Catherine,
    What a funny story! I can just see Ava freaking out. Of course, I would be too. I had a run in with mice earlier this year, and sadly, I'm more afraid of them than they are of me. The thing that sticks with me the most over a misunderstand of words was when my best friend in high school misunderstood some words to a song. A huge group of us girls we're sitting in gym class on the bleachers and singing a song. We all stopped but my best friend kept going and belted out the weirdest interpretation of the words to the song I had ever heard. I can still picture the scene to this day. I laughed so hard my side hurt the rest of the day. Great memory. Thanks for bringing it back!

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    1. LOL! Oh, Julie, I've got a great song lyric misinterpretation, too. My older sister is always the smartest and the best at everything, so when she has a screw-up of sorts, it always really strikes the funny bones of everyone else in the family. Well, have you heard that Rage Against the Machine song Guerilla Radio? Well, the lyric goes "Aw, yeah, turn that $*@( up!" right? We were all sitting around and talking one day, and that song was on the radio. And then, with her best awkward, not-cool voice, she belted out: "Aw, yeah, turn that $*@( OFF!" We still laugh about this one today. Yeah, Big Sis...that song is a parents' anthem, right? Turn it all off, you crazy youngsters! LOL.

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  4. I can SO see this playing out, lol! Especially after having witnessed Ava's blood-curdling scream this weekend, only for her to shrug and say, "A bug." Ava - you might not want to come to my house again ;) Lake living means cohabiting with many of the insect variety!

    I'll have to think of a misunderstanding. I'm sure I've had dozens of them, but not one comes to mind!

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    1. LOL, Erin! You looked at me like I was insane (which, clearly, I'm not) and I'm pretty sure my next words were. "There's no shame in that." It didn't appear that you agreed with me, however. ;)

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    2. LOL, Erin. We did a mini-re-enactment on Friday night, but it was before you got there. I don't like bugs, but they don't make me scream. :)

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  5. OMG, I have a miscommunication story that I can't share! Let's just say that it involves a friend, a boy, getting asked to the prom, pride and utter blindness. Yes, it has the makings of a romance. Yes, it totally inspired one of my books, in an almost unrecognizable way. And no, I wish I could tell it, but I can't!

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    1. Augh! Deb!!!! Now I really, really want to know. LOL. Very cool that it inspired one of your books, though. I have a feeling some readers will now be poring through all of your books to see if they can figure out which one.

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  6. Too funny, Catherine. And I can't think of a single incident. Strange since I'm sure there have to be tons of tons of them. ;)

    Thanks for the laugh and I'm so happy you're moving up here! :)

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    1. Nothing, Marquita? Really??? Hmmm...we'll have to remedy that soon. LOL.

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  7. Catherine, I must say when I sat next to you I thought you smelled lovely. That Ava, she's so rude sometimes! Oh wait-she didn't say you stink? Uh. Forget I said that. ;}
    I have a lot of misunderstandings because my hearing is that of a 140 year old dead chick. One can only ask, "What?!" a few times before it gets uncomfortable. By then I just shout, "No, I don't have a goat, you pervert." I'm kidding!
    So glad you're moving up here! Can't wait to see you again.

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    1. Andris, I was thrilled to have someone else whose hearing is as bad as mine! I swear, there was one point where Mr. Monroe had to have asked me the same question seven times, and I still was just smiling and nodding, pretending I had a clue what he was asking me. Nope. I didn't. The really funny thing is I think he assumed that we were at my house and not Ava's, because when I finally figured out what he was asking, it turned out to be "Where do I put the recycling?" Lucky for us all, I had been staying there for almost a week, so I knew the answer to his question.

      I do like your answer, though. I might have to come up with my own variation of it. :)

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  8. "That Ava, she's so rude sometimes" ?!?!??

    What?!?!

    You are in so much trouble, Andris Bear. Just wait. ;)

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    1. She is the jail break coordinator, though, right? I mean, I think that gives her some leeway.

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    2. Uh. Umm, I misheard what she typed. It didn't sound the way it read. No, I don't have a goat, you pervert! *cackling as I race off to lock myself IN a jail cell* ;}

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    3. That's okay, Andris. She misheard what I typed, too, and thought it was a mouse.

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