Thursday, April 26, 2012

Let Me Preface This...

The other day I was in the cheese aisle at the grocery story. Okay wait, I should say, I'm beginning to notice a terrible personal habit. I'm an extreme prefacer. I think many things come into play here.

1. My dad is one of those people who ends up talking for ten minutes about something that could be explained to two sentences. He fills you in with a million details that really have no effect on the story. He tries his hardest to help you remember that, in fact, you actually do know the person he ran into at Costco, while he was buying some shaving cream that was a really good deal, after he sampled some great hot chocolate, but before he remembered he needed more pens. The excessive details bit is just one of the many things he has passed onto me. 

2. A favorite TV show of mine called Felicity. In the pilot episode, our heroine, Felicity, is about to tell her high school crush that she completely changed her university plans and traveled across the country, because of him. This is how she starts- "I just want to preface this by saying that I don't want you to feel weird about anything I'm about to say, at all." Which really, if you hear someone say that to you? You're almost guaranteed to feel weird about everything they're about to say. It's such a classic Felicity awkward moment, I really do love it.

3. My mind is, at times, a wild jungle full of scary gibberish. There are often times my mind ends up in places and I really have no memory of what train got me there. So, because I'm so random, I want to make sure that I'm not bringing my listener into the middle of some random scene in my life. I want to appropriately set the stage. Sometimes, I stop in the middle of telling a story, and add in a preface. "Oh! Before I go on-let me preface this by saying..."

4. Sometimes I just want to tell someone a random fact about my day. So rather than just say one random thing, I disguise it as a preface, even though it has nothing to do with what I'm about to say. "So, just to preface this-I saw a guy with a huge clown wig on today. Okay, so let me tell you about the book I'm reading." To be fair, there's never really a natural place in conversation to mention a clown wig sighting.

5. I often speak before I think. When I start talking, I really do think the preface is necessary. Honest, I do. But then, about 4 sentences in I realize, it's completely unnecessary. I'm working towards thinking before I let words come out of my mouth.

So, I want to apologize if it's ever taken me 5 minutes to simply tell you that the cheese was on sale. Well, I guess I just did.

The cheese was on sale.

There, I did it.
See? I get there eventually!


'I remember when you went to one gas station, your gas station, no matter what. Now, people just go wherever they have cheaper gas.'
I remember feeling nostalgic when my Dad said this a few years ago. Now, this may make my Dad sound like he's one of those 'back in my day’ kind of old men, and maybe he is. But I also think it shows his sense of loyalty. When I was growing up, we always went to the Esso station to fill up. Not Shell or Petro Canada, always Esso. I had the sense that this was our gas station. It was almost like they were the team I cheered for. I remember not understanding when friends would tell me that their parents got gas at the Husky station. 'Why would you go to the Husky station, when you could go to Esso?' This, somewhat ridiculous, sense of pride in a gas station(I get how crazy that sounds) still has a lingering hold on me. There’s an Esso station a couple blocks from my house and that’s my usual station. I feel slightly out of place when I’m filling up at a Shell station. All that yellow assaults my senses. 
Both of my parents are very loyal people. However, my Dad is loyal to things like gas stations. I think that loyalty also spills over to his possessions. He has a hard time throwing out anything that at one time or another was useful or meaningful in any way. Even if it was 25 years ago. I would guess that, if not for my mom, who gets a great deal of pleasure from purging dusty closets and rarely visited drawers, my Dad would end up on Hoarders. I would say, I’m somewhere in between, but sometimes I see my Dad’s slightly irrational loyalty come out.

For example, I have been known, on occasion, to leave the TV on to lend my ratings to a show, even though I don’t actually watch it. I want to support the actor, producer, or creator of a show. I want them to succeed and feel encouraged in their latest endeavor, so I put the show on, hit mute and go wash my dishes. I know that's insane, even as I write this, I'm shaking my head at myself. I'm bonkers. I get it. But there's a part of me that feels like turning my back on a celebrity that doesn't even know I exist, makes me disloyal. I'm loyal to famous strangers. That is nowhere in the arena of rational thought. But I’ve embraced that personal quirk. I do my best to think logically about things but sometimes I slip up. I can't help it. 

On an unrelated note, JJ Abrams, if you’re reading this, I'm a huge fan. I’m sorry I don't watch Person of Interest. Please don’t take it personally.