Monday, November 29, 2010

I'm awkward in Saudi Arabia

I think everyone would describe me as being moderately eloquent and able to know when to shut up.

...I'm waiting for my friends and family who know me best to stop laughing before I go on...

Truth is that I'm an unfortunately awkward person with very bad timing and the inability to know when to stop talking. I do have the occasional moment of clarity when I find something similar to the right thing to say, and I sometimes can know when to keep my mouth shut and save myself from embarrassment.

The sad thing is, I think that shut-up switch was broken on the flight over here back in September. Ever since we have left the country, my awkward-o-meter has been off the charts!

Exhibit A: One day during our long Eid break, the Mister and I came home and bumped in to our neighbor outside in the courtyard. She was getting her laundry from the dryer (we share a dryer, so it's outside), and she usually has a big smile on her face at all times. This time she scurried away, didn't smile, and just kind of mumbled a hello. Her husband was also there and he said, "You'll have to excuse her, she has something on her face." I asked what he meant and he said she had a beauty mask on her face. "She uses it every now and then to make her more beautiful."

It must have been clear, because I hadn't notice anything unusual about her face in the few seconds we saw her.

That's what SHOULD have come out of my mouth. What I actually said was, "Oh. I hadn't noticed." This short clause made it sound like I hadn't notice that she was more beautiful, and while I think her husband picked up on what I really meant, he kind of chuckled.

"....I mean that I didn't notice she had the stuff on her face, not that I didn't notice that she's beautiful. Because of course she's beautiful; she doesn't need to use anything on her face!" the awkward rambling just wouldn't stop, even as the hubs was giving me the are-you-seriously-still-talking face. After a bit I finally just sighed, "I'm gonna stop now..." and I unlocked our door and went inside.

Exhibit B: Thanksgiving. Dinner with the Billionaires. We've retired to the tea and dessert portion of our program, and everyone's sharing stories of their world travels. The current topic of conversation is Turkey (the country, not the meal we are digesting). Someone mentions that Turkey has more Greek history than Greece does and the ancient city of Troy is brought up.

"Yeah, but all Troy has is some walls and a horse you can take a picture with," someone mentions.

"You mean like a Trojan horse?" I ask. This is question is awkward/stupid enough, but I think he overlooks it because he did just say that it was a horse...ok, yeah, it was just a stupid question. But like I said, the switch is broken!

"Yeah, it's this big wooden horse for the tourists to climb into and take silly photos," my guest humors me.

"Like a replica?"

DID THAT REALLY JUST COME OUT OF MY MOUTH!? Of course it's a replica! What, were the Trojans going to piece together the charred remains of the downfall of their city and preserve it for tourists to enjoy centuries later?!

While most people would have said, "Gosh, that was a stupid question," I of course feel the need to save face because we are dining with billionaires, and this particular variety happen to be my boss and her husband who pays my salary. I can't let them think they've hired a total dud.

"I mean, of course it's a replica, but it's a big wooden horse just like the real thing was? ...That's pretty much what a replica is, isn't it? Oh, you know what I meant!" It all comes out of my mouth so fast, I'm sure it's wasn't even discernible as English words.

So. Awkward.

And these are just the two examples I'm willing to share with the world! I don't know what it is, but I'm hoping I can rediscover my somewhat with-it self when we visit the States this summer. Awkward Amber has got to go!

Vicariously yours,

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