Friday, June 26, 2009

There Are No Words

I have always been a "word" person. I love to talk, read, write, document, journal, blog, or anything else involving the spoken or written word. I probably missed my life's calling as a high school English teacher or a book editor. In fact, my job now involves writing...interpreting financial statements and putting the data in a format that people can read to clue them in on the viability of a loan request. It is like fact based creative writing.

I feel that this must be a God given passion and one that He apparently values since we have the Bible as proof. It is the only book or publication that I have read and not found a single error.

Sometimes, though, there are occasions where there are just no words that seem adequate for the situation. I mean, you can say something...but you'll almost wish that you hadn't and you'll find yourself floundering around in the sea of political correctness. Or, you'll try to be philosophical and end up sounding insincere and like you ripped off what you are saying from the inside of a Hallmark card. I mean...sometimes it is just tacky to say what you are REALLY thinking. And you know that we don't tolerate tackiness in the South.

Like looking at someone's scrapbook and turning to the wedding photos of their son and daughter-in-law's nuptuals. You instandly notice that something isn't quite right. You realize that it is the tattoo on her shoulder and the one on her arm and the one on her lower back. She finds it necessary to have one of those low cut wedding dresses so that it can be displayed properly. Yeah. "Lovely girl" just doesn't seem to fit. If people want to get tattoos...that is fine. But sometimes, just for the sake of decent wedding photos...we need to cover that stuff up. Either that, or get married in Vegas by an Elvis impersonator.

You then flip forward a few pages and see her daughter's wedding. The groom looks shell-shocked and the pictures emphasize that sweat is pouring out of his body onto his tux. His Mama and Daddy are looking none too pleased. And then you realize that she looks a little heavier than when you saw her last. When was that?

Oh, wait! Now it's the honeymoon pictures. You see that she's standing barefoot on the porch of a cabin with a huge Confederate flag draped across the front of it. From this particular angle... you put it all together pretty quickly.

A few pages (and six months later according to the dates on the scrapbook) see the new grandbaby. Mystery solved.

Or you are talking to someone beside you at the doctor's office...and they start out making polite conversation. And before you know it, you have found out more about their life than you are really comfortable knowing including most of their indiscretions of youth, arrest record, number of sexual partners, and how much they make. Granted, there are people who have absolutely no filter with people they know...but with random people who sit beside them at the OB/GYN? What do you say? A paternity test...really? I mean...there just are no words.

Perhaps you are somewhere and it becomes abundantly clear that you have absolutely nothing in common with anyone in the general vicinity...and you are there for a week. Their lives are the equivalent of one continuous mission trip, alcohol has never touched their lips, and they refuse to watch network TV because someone said "damn" in 1974. You are afraid to speak for fear that they will find out that you actually go five miles over the speed limit sometimes. So you sit and smile...and keep your mouth shut for fear that they will know that you have actually entertained an evil thought...not to mention acted on quite a few.

My personal with friends. Someone asks my opinion about some ghastly outfit they are thinking of wearing out in public. I don't like to lie, and since I find it totally tacky to flaunt one's cleavage...I often have difficulty saying "that's trashy" on that single basis alone. Women vary greatly on the whole cleavage argument...and many women just accept it as a fact of life. Having never really been the possessor of cleavage, I don't particularly enjoy seeing it. So, I honestly am floored when they are concerned that the length of the garment is too short or too long, when my attention is drawn to the fact that the "girls" are planning a mutiny in the front.

Then there are the people who just ask something directly like..."why don't you lose weight?" as they stand there with their high metabolism and 4% body fat. Or people who will directly ask you how much you make, if you are going to have (or are through having) children, or how much you paid for your house, car, or vacation. On one hand you don't want to be rude, but on the other hand, it is truly none of their business.

I find that for someone who loves words, there are times when they fail me. I make it a policy now not to exaggerate (except to jest), lie, or speak the truth unkindly. Sometimes I find, though, that there are a few antidotes to these situations. Here are a few I've learned. I am not taking credit for all of these...because most of them I read somewhere else. I'm just compiling them for you.

When someone has a lifestyle that is not in line with yours, and does not see the ridiculousness of taking a traditional ceremony (ie wedding) and turning it into a circus, just be glad it isn't your child. Be doubly glad if you aren't invited to go. My poor friend, Cindy, has a knack for being invited to weddings that are just too tacky...and my friend, Beve, is attending one in a few weeks. Cindy sent us photos from the last one via cell phone...which were precious...and Beve is trying to figure out which covered dish she wants to take to the reception. I kid you not.

If you find that someone has put "the cart before the horse" in the wedding glad that there is a marriage...and know that while a lot of marriages of this particular kind fail...a lot of them don't. Frankly, a small wedding is fine in these cases, but the full blown, doves released, $35,000 shindig is totally tacky...especially if everyone knows why they are gathered.

If someone gives you personal information that you are not prepared to deal with ask, "have you talked to a professional counselor or your minister about this?" That usually clues them in that they are oversharing. If not, pick up your purse and say, "I have to take this call..." and then go out to the hall and act like you are on the cell. Actually call somebody so you won't be lying. (I have actually done this. By the time I got back...they had called her in. Thank heavens.)

When you are in foreign territory, just be yourself. God may have put you there to straighten out a few Pharisees. I have been in this particular situation more times than I care to mention. I've found that when I open the barn door of reality, it is amazing what runs out into the light. No lie.

With regard to how someone looks. Tell your friend that the offending outfit is "not my favorite" and hope that she gets the message. Sometimes, she will ask you which you respond, "because your boobs are hanging out in the front." If you don't tell her... she'll probably be mortified to hear women trashing her in the bathroom while she is in the stall and locked in a full debate about whether they are real or not. In this a is tacky NOT to be.

If someone asks you a rude question, ask them in return (with a smile, of course)..."why do you want to know?" That shuts them up. If not, go, "seriously, why do you want to know?" over and over until they get the message or give YOU an answer. (They won't.)

Hope that this is helpful...good luck out there! Later!

1 comment:

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