Oops, Did I Say That?

So there I was today, standing at the nurse’s station, discussing some of my mother’s medications with one of her nurses. We reviewed what she was taking, and then proceeded to confirm her need to use a walker or a wheelchair for certain activities.

While her nurse was flipping through the chart, I was studying her. She is African-American, about six feet tall, as graceful as anyone I have ever seen, and an utterly stunning human being. I got to that part of my musing, and without any forethought or realization of what was coming next; I blurted out, “You are so pretty.” She looked up, surprised, and said, “Well, thank you.”

I believe the appropriate exclamation at such a moment, at least internally, is “OMG! Did I really just say that?” Accompanied, of course, by a vigorous internal face palm. I mean, seriously woman, where in the Sam Hill are your filters?

I always told my children just because you think it does not mean you have to say it. And here I am still shooting things right out my mouth as fast as I think them. Still is the operative word, here. This is not a new behavior, just one I thought I had tamed.

It always has been a shock to me when I say things I think I am just thinking. And it is not always easy to explain my unfiltered thoughts to those who happen to hear them. Like the time I was in a county-wide training, and had the misfortune of sitting two tables away from one of those people who learns by repeating out loud what she was just taught. You know, the person who always says, “In other words…”, and then repeats it word for word. Not in other words at all, just the same thing only in her voice instead of the teacher’s.

This had gone on for over an hour, and after one too many “In other words“, I was thinking, “Oh, would you please just shut up?” Only it turns out, it was not merely a thought. Yes, right out loud, and with enough volume to cause everyone in my immediate vicinity to turn their heads, all at the same time, and look at me. There was nothing I could do but utter an “Oh dear. Sorry. I did not mean to say that out loud.”

It was even worse when I was in a serious informational meeting where our section manager was presenting the new manner in which we would be managing our caseloads. The demands were so huge, and numbers of customers requiring services had become so great, we had to move from individual caseloads to group/team management. I am not, nor ever will be, a team player, and sat there horrified at what I was hearing.

I thought, “Oh no, this isn’t going to be some of that It Takes A Village crap is it?” My section manager slowly turned and looked at me. She took a little bit too long before speaking, and then said, “Yes, Gail, this is exactly It Takes A Village crap. And the whole village working together is the only way we will be able to get this done. Got it?”
Uh, yeah. No problem.”

After that, I made every effort I could to keep my thoughts to myself. I did retire the year after that particular gaffe, so perhaps the relaxation and lessening of tension contributed to my reformation. Or maybe living with family who love me covered that slippery slope between my thoughts and my words. I do not know, but I believe things improved for a time.

I have read about changes in our brains as we age, and losing some of our filters is not uncommon. I also have read that fatigue, being distracted, and dealing with many demands can cause the same behavior. I am not certain precisely where I fall in this cause and effect thing, but I am considering having one of those fathead.com wall decals made of myself, and the next time something I was thinking slips out of my mouth, I will point to it and say, “Nope, I did not say that. She did!”

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About Valleygrail

Native Californian by birth, Pacific Northwesterner by choice. Jack of all trades, master of none; always wishing I could stick with just one thing long enough to become expert. But then what about all those things left unattended? See? Not possible. I love life, my family, friends, a good book, Irish music, rain, fog, and a pint of Guinness. It's a good journey, and sharing with companions makes it even better. Thanks for being with me as I embrace it and you!
This entry was posted in Aging, Baby Boomers, Communication, Family, Filters, Health, Life Journey, Memories, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to Oops, Did I Say That?

  1. Doobster418 says:

    Very funny post. I don’t think I’ve had similar experiences, yet, but I have sometimes thought things and wondered if I had said them aloud or only in my head. There have been times, when talking with my wife, for example, I’ll start to say something to her and she will interrupt me and say, “you already said that.” Ah, aging!

  2. I think it’s a lovely thing to say, in this particular situation. You probably made that woman’s day. I think most people would appreciate being told they are beautiful.

  3. btg5885 says:

    Too funny. At least it was nice compliment. Sometimes, at our time in life, we can get away with saying stuff, so don’t sweat it. In today’s world is even more disarming as people don’t chit chat as much. So, make someone’s day.

  4. lauramacky says:

    It could’ve been worse! You could’ve hated her dress or thought her hair was ugly lol.

  5. nrhatch says:

    Comment #1 ~ no problem
    Comment #2 ~ AWKWARD! (But understandable)
    Comment #3 ~ OOPS!

    From now on, if your inner thoughts sneak past the gatekeeper at the door, you might say something like, “Shush, Sybil!!! No one asked you!”

    That’ll leave ’em guessing.

  6. cindy knoke says:

    You know what, I think we get smarter as we age. Maybe you always wanted to say what your really thought…….I love your writing and your introspection.

  7. cindy knoke says:

    sorry meant you…..

  8. This made me laugh. But everyone appreciates a compliment.

  9. “You are so pretty,” is a good gaffe, if you have to make one. LOL As for the others… (grin) My 94 year old mother-in-law, who is a wonderful person, has definitely lost control of her filters, however. Her kids try to urge some control. It’s futile. Five minutes later it’s time to make another observation. 🙂 –Curt

  10. I can so see you BLuRting like that for your authenticity, G. You are just too sincere. =)

  11. Funny, but familiar! I live in fear that I will actually say what I’m thinking at the grocery store, “Get you big self out of my way”

  12. where in the Sam Hill

    Well good Lordamighty. Been quita passel of years since I’ve hear that !

  13. cdjameson says:

    A very interesting post to read and very well written.

  14. Hariod Brawn says:

    You sound utterly delightful to me just as you are – pretences down and all. So, keep up the good work Valleygrail, the world needs more of your kind.

    • Valleygrail says:

      Thank you much! What was it Kermit the Frog sang? It’s Not Easy Being Green.

      • Hariod Brawn says:

        As I have aged, I increasingly find that I talk to myself, or rather to the world-at-large, out aloud. They are just intermittent fragments appearing perhaps 3 or 4 times a day; and I have no idea they are about to happen. Still, I rather like the whole experience; and the voice always seems something of a surprise when it appears.

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