We kept talking. It’s what old friends do, talk. The conversation over brunch spilled onto the sidewalk in front of the restaurant. No one was in a rush to leave. The spring sunlight danced on my shoulders. Traffic passed behind us.
After a random bit of chit-chat, I said, “Oh, just word vomit.”
I’m using ‘word vomit’ as a place holder instead of the actual comment to align with others who have embarrassed themselves socially. Foot in mouth syndrome: it’s a universal affliction, and sadly, less rare for me than I’d like to admit.
My friends laughed. But was it a jolly laugh or a glad I didn’t say that laugh. The person closest in relation to the individual my comment referenced didn’t call me a B, but I couldn’t see her facial expression. Darn low vision, robbing me of extra social cues. I panicked. Come back here I wanted to command to my outburst. Right now.
The sugar and fat and caffeine overloading my bloodstream wreaked havoc on my neurotransmitters. I grasped for linguistic purchase, backing away from my words, hoping to dilute the meaning that I didn’t intend, but it was too late, damage done. I apologized. Like Jimmy Durante in It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World, I just sailed right out there and into the mean ravine. Crash, tumble, dust.
Let’s be honest. It must’ve been those bloody Mary’s. That’s understandable. Except that I was stone cold sober. I was kind of sleep deprived–because this body can never get enough rest–but I wasn’t drunk. Only stupid. Didn’t drink a drop of alcohol at brunch. The bevies looked tasty on the menu though.
The group moved on to other topics. I languished in my head, neurotically considering my comment. Ten seconds later, I clarified what my intended meaning was (to myself) and how I should’ve substituted a name. Unfortunately, comment correction is like the perfect comeback–unless you say it immediately, the timing is wrong and the opportunity to use it expires.
Eons ago when the care genes were handed out, my ancestors took second helpings and passed the concern nucleotide down to me. I care. Constantly. The Catholic guilt that I was raised with burns on, too. So, later I apologized to my friend again when it was just the two of us. She graciously said she was fine, no harm done. Whew. I could move on.
Cheers to old friends.