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View Full Version : A whole room mis-hears something. Mortification ensues.



Perks
05-03-2013, 09:37 PM
Oh lordy. Some days it doesn't pay to get out of bed.

Got back a little bit ago from lunch and it was one of the most uncomfortable misunderstandings I've ever been party or periphery to. I was at the deli and there was a man two places ahead of me in line. He was ordering and joking around with the woman behind the counter. It was very casual and it seemed like he was a regular customer.

And you know how, occasionally, the ambient noise in a room drops suddenly and a snippet of someone's conversation gets blared out at volume when just a second before it would have been part of the collective mumble? Well, the lady at the counter was chatting and making a silly face and this guy practically yells out, "Yeah goofy, and let's try it with a little less 'tard this time."

The whole room went silent after a small collective gasp. There was a man off to the side with two clearly mentally handicapped children. This father strides over there and starts giving this guy hell. He had tears in his eyes and was shaking with rage while he told this guy off. I heard something about his son having Down's Syndrome and the other child being their adopted son, and I stole a look at the customer and the cashier and they looked horrified, understandably, but also bewildered.

At the point where the cashier was almost in tears too, and the customer was protesting that he didn't know what this guy was talking about, it came out that what he had actually said was, "Let's try it with a little less mus-tard this time." The very important "mus" syllable getting lost in the shuffle.

Holy crap that was awkward. Turned out, he ate lunch there just about every weekday and he was teasing the staff because they tended to put too much slathery stuff on his sandwiches and apparently had really overdone the mustard on Thursday. I actually had noticed this about that sandwich shop. Too much mayo or mustard and one time so much guacamole on my sandwich I had to scrape some off.

There were apologies and some nervous laughter and quite a few variations on I-would-never-say-anything-like-that and I simply could not get out of there fast enough.

Siri Kirpal
05-03-2013, 09:46 PM
Sat Nam! (literally "Truth Name"--a Sikh greeting)

Glad the mustard wasn't on your face!

Blessings,

Siri Kirpal

Perks
05-03-2013, 09:50 PM
Oh yeah. I was just a bystander and my stomach is still in knots. That poor father was so upset and the guy who was ordering the sandwich looked like fight or flight was going to pull him in half. He had no idea what that guy was so mad about. Don't know that I've ever seen anyone that bewildered.

There must have been twenty five people in the place, jaws flapped open. I daresay we're all a bit jangled.

The two little kids seemed to be the only ones not upset, thank goodness.

clee984
05-03-2013, 10:32 PM
And you know how, occasionally, the ambient noise in a room drops suddenly and a snippet of someone's conversation gets blared out at volume when just a second before it would have been part of the collective mumble?



Aw man, that's terrible! I would've died too. Once a few years ago I was in a bar with a couple of friends, and I had just been flirting a bit with the barmaid while I ordered drinks, and at the exact moment I rather drunkenly chose to inform my friends that "the barmaid has a fantastic arse", the entire buzz in the room just happened to drop off, so that everybody in the place heard me. Fortunately, the barmaid didn't seem to mind, but my embarassment was acute and total.

Perks
05-03-2013, 10:37 PM
It was weird in that when he figured out what the misunderstanding was and resaid "Let's try it with a little less mustard this time." I could make out where my mind's ear had taken his accented inflection and made it something it clearly was not. It certainly made a lot more sense that time. I think between his accent and the funny face the cashier had been making, it was just a domino row of getting it wrong.

And I think once one person reacted - I don't even know who was the first - that the mis-hearing kind of spread through the little group gathered there.

shadowwalker
05-03-2013, 11:37 PM
What seems strange to me is that I had no idea what the guy meant by "tard", and that anyone would knee-jerk think he was saying "retard". Context and all that...

Perks
05-04-2013, 12:40 AM
Yeah, it's unfortunately common around here. Especially for young people. This guy was almost too old to have it seem like something he'd come out with. Probably another clue that should have given more pause than it did.

Gravity
05-04-2013, 01:03 AM
Back in the hills where I come from, it's pronounced mus-turd (accent on the "mus"). Said that way, the man with his sons wouldn't have been outraged at all.

Of course, "Yeah goofy, and let's try it with a little less 'turd this time" would have resulted in an equally bad scenario ...

Cliff Face
05-04-2013, 01:35 AM
Wow, that's horrible.

We have "tard" as an insult down here too. I hate that word.

jjdebenedictis
05-04-2013, 02:22 AM
Wow, I have proximity embarrassment just reading about that.

Ahem. A slightly less horrifying story: A friend and I, and the friend's sister, were shopping on the Vegas strip once. The sister suddenly ducks back into a memorabilia store we had just left. She said something to my friend before she left, but I didn't hear that over the noise of the traffic.

My friend turns to me with a funny look and says, "I didn't see anybody poop in there."

I stood there a moment, with my mouth open, thinking, 'What? What? You can't possibly have just said what I just heard.'

Finally I ask my friend to repeat herself.

"She said she's going back to buy a Betty Boop mug. I didn't see any Betty Boop in there."

Cliff Face
05-04-2013, 02:27 AM
LOL, jj.

Perks
05-04-2013, 03:17 AM
Back in the hills where I come from, it's pronounced mus-turd (accent on the "mus"). Said that way, the man with his sons wouldn't have been outraged at all.

Of course, "Yeah goofy, and let's try it with a little less 'turd this time" would have resulted in an equally bad scenario ...
The accent is on the "mus" here too, but in the room acoustics today, it sort of just blended in with the word "less" as he ran it all together leaving "tard" on its own and understated which made it sound almost like he was saying it a bit under his breath. Made it sound even more insulting.

Crazy how it worked out. When he said it again, slower and in context, it all made perfect sense.