July 2008 Archives

Awkward adj.:

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We're having a fantastic time on our second annual UK holiday, although it would be nice if Dr. T were able to spend more than a week with us. He's already been and gone, and I won't see him again until the 4th of August. In the meantime, I've been quite happy to completely ignore my computer for most of the trip so far, but I did want to share the following, lest I forget* the incident in the coming weeks.

My lovely sister-in-law and brother-outlaw have been living in this idyllic Cotswolds location for ten years now, and this coming week, their son Marley will be a year old. To celebrate these two landmarks, we had a very nice open house-style party on Saturday, with people popping in and out over the course of the day to have a drink and a chat. One of these visitors was a nice man named Colin, who came with his two-year-old, Joey, and no one else.

Colin and Joey stayed for a few hours, and during that time Colin and I chatted as we watched my sons entertain his son. When he and Joey finally set off, it was quite late, and Joey had developed an attachment to one of Marley's toys. Rather than get into a tug of war and subsequent screaming fit, Colin very intelligently pretended that the toy was leaving, too. I went with them to the car so I could retrieve the toy when Colin "put it in the trunk."

My own Colin came along, and as he and I were waiting for the grown-up Colin to strap Joey into his seat, ten-year-old Colin asked me whether or not the other Colin was married. I said that I didn't know...

...so Colin went around to the other side of the car to ask Colin if he was married...

...while his apparently unescorted mum, who had followed them to the car under what now seemed like the flimsiest of pretexts, died of embarrassment.

What is the etiquette in this situation? Do I say "I know this sounds unlikely, but I did not get my kid to ask about your marital status."?

Furthermore, as it turns out, small Colin had already asked big Colin this question earlier, making it look even more like a set-up.

"Look, I don't really care whether or not you're married"?

Personally, I dealt with the situation by quietly deserting my post as toy catcher, returning to the house, and finding the nearest bottle of wine. My next step will be to leave the country.

*not bloody likely

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