Sunday, January 13, 2008

Open wide

How many times has something come out of your mouth that didn't at all match what you heard in your head? Happens to me waaay to often, and I'm beginning to get worried about it. Some people might say the problem comes from not paying attention, but I think there's something else at the root of this. Typically, I'm not paying attention because I'm thinking hard about four other things. Sometimes I'll open my mouth to answer a question, and parts of words from the four different ideas come flowing out of my mouth. This usually has two different affects on people. Either they laugh hysterically, because whatever I said made no sense at all, or they stare at me like I'm from another planet because whatever I said ... well, it made no sense at all. I have had all those ideas crash as they raced through my brain. That leaves a horrible mess! And usually I don't have one smidgen of an idea left to work with.
Sometimes I'm thinking so hard about just one topic that I forget to answer a question. That happened this morning on the way to church. As we raced along just slightly above the speed limit, my son Luke asked what time church started. I was busy working numbers in my head to see what funds I needed to juggle to pay this month's bills. I continued figuring in my head (carry the one) until I realized there was a long pregnant pause in the van. It was only then that Luke's question registered and I answered it out loud. Unfortunately, I was the only one who noticed the pregnant pause. The kids had all gone on to other thoughts and conversations. So instead of answering a question, it seemed to them like I suddenly spoke up and announced, "9:45" for absolutely no reason. I hate it when I get that tolerant look from my children.
Sometimes, my thought process can just plain get me in trouble. The idea is so clear in my head and I might have even worked through the wording I wanted to use. But when it comes out my mouth, it sounds like something else! Last night before church, the songleader, who is also one of the deacons, asked me if I would fill in on the piano. His wife usually plays, but she couldn't make it. I agreed, we discussed which songs the congregation would be singing, and then I took mental note of what time I needed to be at the piano to play the prelude. You have to understand, I'm merely an adequate musician. Susie, his wife, is a very accomplished pianist. So I'm a little nervous when I have to fill in. I stood there chatting at the back of the auditorium and all the time in my head I'm thinking, "I have to fill in for Susie. I have to do the job Susie usually does." Finally, I glanced at my watch and saw it was time to start. So I walked past Susie's husband and said, "I guess it's time to pretend I'm your wife." I didn't even realize how that sounded until I saw the corner of his mouth quirk up into a little smile. I tried to stammer out an explanation, but everything I said just made it worse. I finally walked off toward the piano, shaking my head. By the way, did I mention that I'm the pastor's wife? Yeah, that was lovely. Good thing the man (and his wife) have a sense of humor.
So what about you? What's your latest episode of foot-in-mouth-disease? Careful. I think it's catchy!

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