Monday, June 12, 2006

Pee and Sympathy

The other day at the park I was on the receiving end of well-intentioned but nonetheless Ambush Sympathy. You know what I mean if you've recently lost someone. You're going about your day, you've actually made it to noon or 2pm without consciously noticing the gaping hole in your life or getting teary-eyed over something seemingly non-related but evocative regardless, and someone out of nowhere very genuinely tells you how sorry they are for your loss. All of a sudden your carefully-constructed pseudo-reality of normalcy is shot and you are fast-tracked back to the day it happened, the days since it happened, the nights since it happened, and all you can squeak out is "thanks; I appreciate it" to the very nice person from whom you now fervently desire to sprint away.

So went my day at the hands of my nice-but-clueless-and-brassy neighbor Fred "The Dorf" Dorfmann.* (*Name completely plagiarized from that classic scene in the movie "Fletch"). I walked into the kiddie park and instantly he said, "I'm so sorry." I felt a bit confused. I was wondering what could have gone so wrong that The Dorfman would find himself apologizing for something, ie, "Did your kid pull out his dingaling and pee in front of my toddler again, Dorfman? Was it YOU who stole my trash cans, Dorfman?" I had no idea what he was talking about, and my face must have shown my confusion, which seemed to cause HIM confusion, which caused a bit of uncharacteristic hesitancy, unsurprisingly followed by his usual "well, I'm gonna just say it" demeanor: "Your father. Your dad. I figured something was up when your mom came alone to The Bambina's birthday party, but I didn't want to ask. Well. Anyway. He was a gruff but lovely guy and I'm sorry he died."

Me: "Thanks. I appreciate it. He liked you too. {awkward pause}. So--has your kid whipped it out lately?" I'm lying on that last part, but I figure now that I've had my first taste of Ambush Sympathy I'll be ready next time with a quickie comeback to veer the topic away from me and back to something like public urination or theft of private property; two things my Dad would have found amusing, especially if they involved the Dorfman.


Anonymous said...

Yeah this happened to me too after my mom passed. you eventually get used to it.

Anonymous said...

I love a woman who can make Fletch references.