Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Hoof in Mouth Disease

I know you've never said anything stupid, right? I have occasionally. Rarely. Infrequently. Seldom. Once in a freaking while!

For instance. I was at the Bishop's storehouse several months ago, maybe a couple of years ago. Working along side a nice guy, friendly, cheerful and a little shy. So I asked him where he'd come from and how long he'd been in the ward.

Eighteen months! A year and a half and I had failed to notice. Or, if I had noticed, I had forgotten... or failed to recognize him. Yeah.

And trust me, I never ask someone when they are due unless they TOLD me they were pregnant! In the last 15 minutes!

I have a couple of other examples that are still too humiliating to recount even after 20 or 25 years.

But yesterday there were witnesses.

I worked for a company for 25 years. I knew a lot of people really well. Now I work for a different company and many of the people I knew before are here. A nice cozy arrangement. A woman and her son worked there and work here. Not in the same department, but in the same building. Yesterday I got on the elevator and they were both on it, along with several others. They were headed downstairs, they had pushed the elevator for the main floor, they had their jackets on and she had her purse. I logically presumed that they were leaving the building. So I thought I would be cute. So I asked a question.

"Where do you two think you are going?" I asked.

I thought later of all the things that could be going on and for which there would be no good answer. There could have been worse answers than the one I got, but still.

When she replied, I heard the indrawn breaths of the others on the elevator. Her nephew had committed suicide and they were leaving to be with family.

She turned to me as soon as she'd responded and said "You couldn't have known." I hugged them both and expressed sympathy but felt like dirt.

So, would it have been better to have said nothing? I wouldn't have been a dim wit, but she would have gotten no sympathy.

Maybe I just won't try to be cute anymore.