No Conversation Eraser
Sometimes when I get nervous I say stupid stuff. Last night I was at a thing and was talking to someone and I said something sorta stupid. A somewhat insensitive conversation stopper. I'd rather not get into what I said but needless to say it wernt good. Afterwards I was mentally punching myself in the face. I walked smack into the dope rake and then wandered around for a while a little stunned and conversationally gunshy. (Possibly overreacting completely.)
I'm socially awkward and often find myself scrambling around to maintain normal conversation-- and unfortunately there's some trickster in my head who sets up a neon lit signs toward sentences mislabeled as 'Witty!" or 'Funny!' or 'Irreverent!' And like a dope sometimes I'll take the bait and go for it. Sort of like when you're driving and all of a sudden you get hit with a panic of 'You're about to drive past your exit!!' and you swerve across three lanes just in time to realize it's not your exit at all.
The problem is if you don't know the person that well you get judged by that one misstep. They probably assume you're like that all the time. They have to assume you're an idiot or a jerk. My extra problem with my being conversational dopey-- is I'm obsessive. I'll spin wheels on the stupid thing trying to think of a way to make up for the egg fart that made in a simple conversation. I wonder if I should backtrack. Later apologize and acknowledge to show that I'm an extra nice guy?-- but that often comes off as crazier. Sometimes what you register as outrageous may not have landed as you think and they'll be like, 'Wait... you're apologizing for what?' Pointing out something they may not have picked up on the first time around.
But sometimes there's simply no way out. No way back.
Like I have a friend who was at a barbecue and asked a woman holding a baby if she was the grandmother. She was the mom. To this day he doesn't know something so blindlingly bad slipped through his filter! Even if she was the grandma no woman wants to assume it's that obvious! Then he poured gas all over it by blabbering something about women look younger all the time and how new mothers often look tired and he can't blame them. Or something. He turned a disaster into a catastrophe. He tried to erase it but it was like one of those old ballpoint pens with erasers that did nothing but furiously rip up the paper.
Another one! Recently a friend of mine wished someone good luck on a project that had gone under years ago and was never coming back. This friend knew the project was done and maybe a bit of a sore spot for this person. But there he was saying goodbye and wanting to leave the person with some sort of well wish. He blurted the opposite. What came out was the equivalent of saying, 'Hey James Bond! Good luck with being James Bond! Bond, James Bond!' to Timothy Dalton. Somehow he grasped at the straws of conversation and stood there with the short stick. To this day he still can't believe it.
Days, weeks, sometimes years later I get hit with twitches of regret for going 'off script' conversation-wise (sometimes these manifest into actual physical jolts). It's probably arrogant of me to think my words would carry so much impact-- but I can't help it. I obsess. I guess we all say stupid stuff sometimes and the trick is figuring how to let it go. And just doing your best to be extra nice next time you see whoever may have been offended or upset.
But life would be easier for dopes like me if I had one of those Men in Black gadgets that erase recent memory. Like if I say something stupid I can just dig around in my pocket and off it goes like a flash erasing the last minute of conversation. That would be coolio! Problem solved! But I get the feeling that would just make me lazier filter-wise and I'd have that thing hanging around my neck just for convenience sake.
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