Friday, 5 October 2012

Oh hello, "Jeremy"

The other day while the kids and I were walking home from the park, I noticed that the family who had just moved in across the street were out talking with their neighbour. Of course, based on the assumption that this young family would become friends of ours, I had every intention of introducing myself and making a great first impression.

Sounds feasible enough; unless you consider that I'm actually the queen of awkward and what should be simple social transactions usually transform themselves into 'shudder worthy' memories in an astoundingly short amount of time.

Since my soon-to-be new friends were involved in a discussion, butting in might have come off as a bit rude. So naturally I chose the awkward approach and instead stood on the sidewalk, staring and waiting for a significant pause in which I would offer a quick introduction. After all, if I had just kept walking then they probably would have thought of me as the bitch who lives in the red house and doesn't introduce herself. Or maybe I just overthink things.

So I as stood waiting, and presumably mouth-breathing, Roxy (my otherwise obedient Boxer) decided she should introduce herself to this family's dog. Taking full advantage of the design flaws which were evident in the dollar-store cat leash I used to tether her to my stroller (bought by mistake), she made her grand debut by barrelling towards the terrified new neighbour-dog, pulling the stroller containing Sam with her.

Instead of a quick, friendly "how do you do; mind if I smell your ass?" kind of dog interaction, my neighbours were instead given a front row seat to the chaos of me unsuccessfully trying to wrangle my suddenly feral animal.

Of course, despite one's efforts, a dollar store cat-leash will likely fail when it's needed most. In this instance it became stuck at full length rather than retracting, thus allowing Roxy 12 feet of material in which to entangle herself, the stroller, and me. Within seconds we were bound to the tree in the centre of my new neighbour's lawn.


As I apologized several dozen times for the erratic behaviour of my dog, and for interrupting the conversation taking place before my arrival, I managed to break out of the web of leash. I thought I should probably just get on with it and introduce myself so they didn't think I was a complete lunatic.

As I tried my best to regain what little composure I could muster, I referenced my house number and name. I was just about to introduce my kids when I noticed, with absolute horror, that Isla had begun to crawl around under the enormous 20 TON truck parked in the driveway next-door. Like, are you f'ing kidding me?

As a paramedic, the fact that my daughter thought it was acceptable to crawl under anything parked in a driveway, let alone a massive truck, was unfathomable. Let's just say this behaviour was not met with patience or understanding. I'm fairly certain everyone in the city heard me scream my child's name. Not only that, I wouldn't be surprised if in the place I was standing was large puff of white cartoon-smoke (Road-runner style).

Before my audience of strangers could process what had just happened, I was on the other side of the truck trying my hardest to keep my shit together while conveying to Isla the dangers of playing under trucks. I guess this isn't something one is born knowing.

Where was Sam you ask? Oh, I left him in the stroller - still tethered to Feral-Roxy - on the other side of the truck. Don't judge me; it was a chaotic moment.

Steve, the new neighbour's neighbour, brought Sam and Roxy around to where I was and, bless his heart, did not make me feel like the mess-in-a-dress I clearly was. How nice of Steve. Although, after thanking him and calling him Steve, I had a brief, concealed panic attack. Was his name even Steve? I had only really chatted with him a few times. Have I done it again? I mean, what were the chances of there being another Steve (coincidentally the name of my neighbour to the left) in the vicinity of our home ? The odds were against me.

Am I so ridiculous in my case of self-diagnosed baby-brain that I assigned one neighbour the name of another? The answer is yes. Yes I am.

You see, after re-telling this story to Mike, I was informed through gasps of laughter that "Steve" is actually Bill (not even close).

I'm still figuring out how to handle myself the next time I see him. Maybe if I act like I've known all along that his name is Bill, and go out of my way to say it as much as possible without it getting weird, he'll think he just imagined the whole "Steve" thing. Yes, that's what I'll do.

At least this time it was only me calling a neighbour by the wrong name. Last time I, for whatever reason, decided that the guy across the street was definitely "Jeremy". Since I met him first, I took the liberty of informing Mike of his name.

Every time we would see him (which was often) we would make sure to say "hello, Jeremy", "how are you, Jeremy?", etc. It wasn't until one day while chatting with his lovely wife that I began to wonder, who was this "Rob" she kept referring to and, more importantly, does Jeremy know about him?

Eventually I pieced the puzzle together and was mortified. Mike wasn't impressed as he recalled the several dozen times he addressed our new friend by the wrong name. I apologized, died about a thousand deaths of embarrassment (for both of us), and vowed to never let such a thing happen again.

And yet here we are.

Perhaps I should consider introducing myself from now on as the awkward-lunatic who lives in the red house. At least then my neighbours will have a bit of heads up. Really it's the least I could do.