Friday, July 30, 2010

Canadians!!

I have a confession: sometimes I zone out when people are talking to me. It's not that what they're saying isn't interesting. Well . . . sometimes it is. But MOST of the time it's just that I have a million things going through my head at that moment and I can't keep my attention focused on the person who is talking to me. It's so rude, I know it. And I hate when I do it. But I REALLY hate it when I get busted . . .

One of my favorite "busted" moments happened a few years ago. I was at work at the firm I used to work for (let me give a shout-out to the old Gauntt & Kruppstadt crew!!) and I was talking to a man who leased office space from us. He was talking to me about going to see his son and I zoned out and started making my grocery list in my head. I kept eye contact with him and nodded occasionally but I really was NOT paying attention:

Man: He'll be there from . . .
Me: [I should stop by Kroger's on the way home and get some Macaroni & Cheese for dinner. That would be good. Do I have butter, though? I might need to get some butter. And my milk might have expired . . .]
Man: And so we . . .
Me: [I should have looked at the expiration date on the milk before I left home. Oh well - I'll just get another one. It's probably time for it, anyway. He's looking at you - better nod or something.] [Nodding] Oh really??
Man: So that's when he . . .
Me: [Ooooooh ice cream sounds good, too. Maybe I'll get some Cookies N Cream for dessert. Just a pint though - people are so judgmental when you eat a half-gallon by yourself. Mmmmmm Cookies N Cream . . . Or wait - should I get Banana Pudding ice cream?? That sounds good, too.]
Man: And you should have seen . . .
Me: Mmmm hmmmm . . . [I mean, Cookies N Cream is a classic. You can't go wrong with that. Love the Oreos. But the Banana Pudding is so awesome, too, with the Nilla Wafers in it.]
Man: But the funniest part was . . .
Me: [So it's really just a cookie debate then. Do I go with the Oreo or the Nilla Wafer? Maybe I should make a pro and con list for each?]
Man: And you would NOT believe . . .
Me: [The Oreo has a good texture. But . . . so does the Nilla Wafer. That's two pros for each.]
Man: And the only way to get there is Air France. [pauses and looks at me, as if for a reaction and a response.]
Me: [Oh crap. What was he saying? WHAT WAS HE SAYING??? Crapcrapcrapcrap! Just admit to him that you were zoned out, Catherine. Just admit it.] [Shaking my fist in the air and squinting my eyes in mock anger] CANADIANS!!
Man: [confused look on his face]
Me: [What? WHAT?? Did I just shake my fist and say "Canadians???" That didn't make any sense!! I don't know what just happened! I'm so confused!! Quick, Catherine - think of something. Convince him that you're drunk or something. No that won't work - he'll see right through that. Just explain to him that you were daydreaming. It's okay. People do it all the time - he'll understand . . .] I don't know why but every time I think of Air France I think of [shaking fist again] those Canadians! [Oooooooor you could say THAT . . .]
Man: [smiling and trying to look like he's following my logic] Yeah.
Me: [Don't break eye contact. Sell it, Catherine. Sell it!] Well . . . see ya later!

I was so embarrassed. So I did what I always do when something embarrasses me - I told everyone I knew. Pretty soon, "Canadians!" had taken on a life of its own and become the universal way of saying "Sorry - I just zoned out on you." For example, I would walk into my boss Tom's office and start telling him something and he'd shake his fist and say "Canadians! I wasn't paying attention - start over." Or my boss would come into my office and I'd zone out and say "Wait. Canadians! What did you say?" And then he'd laugh and repeat himself.

So in the end, it turned out to be a pretty awesome expression, if I don't say so myself. And the way I see it, you get two benefits out of using this expression: 1) you don't actually have to say the words "Sorry, I wasn't paying attention." and 2) you get to blame the Canadians for something. So it's really a win-win in my book.

Much like the choice between Cookies N Cream and Banana Pudding ice cream . . .

2 comments:

Jill said...

Canadians! Sorry. I stopped listening when I saw there is such thing as Banana Pudding ice cream!!!!! Catherine! You KNOW my dessert dilemna EVERY TIME we go to Cheesecake. WHY have you NOT ever told me that Blue Bell has combined my favorites???

Catherine said...

Oh my gosh - you've GOT to try it! It might be the best thing Blue Bell has ever made . . .