July 19, 2009

With Aplomb (part one)

I am a creature of rare social grace---the GAZELLE of the dinner party. If you have ever seen video of a springbok or Thompson’s gazelle sprinting and curving and reversing at 80 miles an hour, pronking joyfully upwards, executing long-legged flying leaps sideways and then landing and bending and tearing off in another direction entirely...that’s me.

Now imagine a GIANT springbok engaging in these behaviors in your kitchen. Yeah...Sorry about all your crockery. And chairs. And walls. And the guests with concussions and hoofprints in their hairdos.

Up until this week, my most socially awkward memory of all time---the one that could make me feel the hot liquid rush of shame-creep come up my spine lo these sixteen years later--- was sitting on an airplane flying up to see Scott in Chicago for the first time after we had mentioned to each other that instead of being BFF, as we had always thought, we were actually quite madly in love.

We were (OF COURSE!) living all the way across the country from each other and were (OF COURSE!) both in serious relationships when we made this discovery, so we just kinda TABLED the discussion and went to our respective homes in our respective cities to respectfully end our respective relationships---we didn’t want to start out by being sneaky or cheaty. We wanted to start RIGHT.

So, after the dust had settled and we were both free agents, I got on a plane to Chicago, and went to have my first date with him and make a plan—because there MUST be a plan. (I am so enamored of HAVING A SET COURSE OF ACTION that when my friend Mir sees my name on the caller ID, she answers the phone by saying, “Why, hello, Plan Cat!”)

Without a plan, I get antsy, and I had just exploded my whole THE REST OF MY LIFE plan with no solid replacement. When I took my seat on that plane to Chicago, I had just given up a full ride to a grad school in Georgia, put everything I owned in a U-Haul and moved back into my parent’s house on the strength of seven years of best friendship and a midnight to four am conversation about love that took place in my mom’s backyard gazebo.

After we were airborne, I ordered a glass of red wine to calm my nerves. I took two sips, and the third time I reached for the glass I BATTED it brilliantly sideways in a spectacular arc, and the wine splashed and sprinkled itself ALL OVER the woman beside me. Not even a molecule landed on me. I was spotless, and she had wine droplets trembling in her BANGS.

I apologized profusely and blotted her down, and the stewardess came with warm, moist towelettes from first class and sent her to the bathroom with club soda to repair it as best she could, and when she came back I explained---no, I OVEREXPLAINED--in a mortified babble how nervous I was and about Scott and love and Scott and upended life and NO PLAN and Scott, and the poor woman graciously accepted my apology and we resettled ourselves and the flight attendant brought me a replacement glass of Shiraz on the house. I did not even get to taste that replacement wine. Because the FIRST time I reached for it I tipped it over and dumped the entire contents in my seatmate’s lap.


We repeated the WHOLE cleaning and apologizing and overexplaining process, though somewhat more FROSTILY on her side, and I refused a replacement wine. For obvious reasons. And then had to sit there for more than hour with this POOR DAMP SHIRAZ-SMELLING LADY....GAHHHH.

That was, hands down, my MOST socially awkward moment, a memory that SHONE brilliant blush red even in the TREASURE TROVE of graceless, spastic, socially awkward moments that have plagued my gazelle-at-a-dinner-party life.

Until last week.
When I managed to top it.

To be continued...

Posted by joshilyn at July 19, 2009 7:56 AM

On the edge of my seat...

Posted by: Nikki at July 19, 2009 9:47 AM

You are evil.

Posted by: Mit at July 19, 2009 10:18 AM

Please don't make us wait...PINK SOCKS?!?!?

Posted by: jean at July 19, 2009 10:43 AM

Wouldn't it be great if that woman could read this and have a great dinner party story to tell about how the famous writer, Joshilyn Jackson, spilled wine on her, not once but TWICE!

Please post part II ASAP. I am dying here.

Posted by: Jen at July 19, 2009 10:47 AM

That first one is quite the story, Joss. It'll be interesting to see how you top it ;)

Posted by: Heather at July 19, 2009 11:31 AM

That was awesome. I cannot WAIT to see what tops it!

Posted by: edj at July 19, 2009 11:39 AM

This had sooo better not be another pink socks story!!!

Posted by: Beth R at July 19, 2009 12:21 PM

Oh, yeah...that woman SO needs to know that she was assaulted by a now famous writer! She deserves to know about her brush with fame!

Posted by: pendy at July 19, 2009 12:32 PM

May I ask what level of Hell you deserved to not only spill the drink in the first place, but to spill the second drink AND BE CONFINED FOR ANOTHER HOUR with the offendee?

Kind of like being put in jail for a traffic ticket and finding yourself in a cell full of hookers and murderers until your lawyer bails you out.

Not that the lady bore any resemblance whatsoever to a hooker. But she might have been a murderer if you'd gotten that third glass of wine....

Posted by: Chris at July 19, 2009 12:57 PM

NOT PINK SOCKS AGAIN!!! You act as if our lives did not hang on your every word!!! :-)

Posted by: Melody at July 19, 2009 4:15 PM

This is gonna be good.

Posted by: JulieB at July 19, 2009 4:32 PM

Topped that? I can't wait to hear this story.

Posted by: Lisa Milton at July 19, 2009 6:12 PM

Dying. By. Inches.

Posted by: Fran at July 19, 2009 7:22 PM

Oooh...the drama and suspense! It's totally unfair.

Posted by: Avallia at July 19, 2009 9:20 PM

OH I CANNOT WAIT!!!!! to hear how you topped dumping two glasses of wine on somebody!

Posted by: jenn at July 19, 2009 11:03 PM

I can't wait to hear about it!

Posted by: Lia at July 20, 2009 1:58 AM

Ooh, looks hard to beat! Then again, those prolonged blushes of shame must be good for your circulation and general health. Judging from the facial heat produced, it's probably even burning calories. OK, I guess you'd STILL prefer not to have 'em. ;-)

Posted by: Brigitte at July 20, 2009 6:36 AM