Tuesday, December 21, 2010

"These mashed potatoes are so creamy..."

You know how signals can get crossed when there are several conversations going on at once?  There's a particularly funny scene in While You Were Sleeping (one of Sandra Bullock's first movies) in which this happens.  The topper is the daffy grandma, played by Glynis Johns, who stays above it all and praises the mashed potatoes.  So whenever we end up with crossed wires in our house, someone will say, "These mashed potatoes are so creamy..."  (Miriam even said it in a rehearsal this past summer when people were asking questions all at once and my answer to one question was interpreted as a response to another.)

This, I promise, is a verbatim transcript of a conversation in the car last night.  For reasons best kept to ourselves, we were reminiscing--not always kindly--about some teachers the girls had in high school.  (Though my daughters are 25 and 20, we still call them girls.  Sorry...)  Here goes.

MIRIAM (remarking on a teacher both girls had):  She was a little strange.  She brought her chihuahua to school a couple of times.

SUE:  Elizabeth, wasn't her brother in your class?

ME:  Wait, do they allow that?

MIRIAM:  Well, he was small enough to fit in her purse.

EVERYONE:  "These mashed potatoes are sooooo creamy..."

(See, I was talking about the brother.  I thought he had a class with Elizabeth that his own sister taught.  Miriam thought I meant the dog.)

Elizabeth keeps thinking she'll write a family memoir someday--sort of a twenty-first-century Life with Father.  When she does, it will be full of such non sequiturs, because this is the main stuff of our lives around here.  (That, and my faux pas when driving.  I get easily turned around and easily confused by things like medians and curb cuts.  That happened last night, too.)  (Oh, and there will be one celebrated story involving passing gas in the Whispering Gallery in St. Paul's Cathedral in London--and yes, you can hear that on the other side just as clearly as you can a whisper.)

Until the book comes out, you will have to content yourself with the little allusions to our hijinks I will report here.


  1. It's funny how when your family gets lines crossed and the conversation goes very awry you have a saying too. Ours (sisters, parents, bros-in-law) is, "yes I have an alligator"
    --sara schultz

  2. Sara, where does "yes I have an alligator" come from?

    I have a friend whose sister says, "Look, a chicken!" whenever the conversation takes an abrupt, unexpected turn. I like this a lot. I often talk of chickens now. :O)