Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Ad infinitum

I've noticed that I've been using the phrase ad infinitum a lot. I've mostly noticed because infinitum is not in the Blogger dictionary, and I'm always second-guessing myself that I'm spelling it correctly.

I am spelling it correctly, by the by. I've looked it up to double-check more than once, and then I always want to kick myself because of course I know how to spell it, why am I bothering to look it up? Anyone can make a mistake while typing, and I'm sure one of these days something stupid like "infnitium" will slip through, but I certainly don't need to look the correct spelling up for every post. In fact, I probably already have typo'ed it; big deal.

But the yellow, you-misspelled-something-dummy! highlighting from Blogger makes me feel like a big, yellow idiot. And! Since (typos aside) Blogger corrects me every time I write ad infinitum, I've been feeling pretty yellow lately. Har har.

I'd like to point out that at this point in my post I hit spell-check, and there were no spelling errors (except for my intentional misspellings of infinitum and typo'ed). Infinitum, infinitum, INFINITUM! Take that, Blogger spell check! Muahahaha!

Anyway. I haven't been using ad infinitum to antagonize the Blogger spell check (thank goodness, since--obviously--if I had been, it completely backfired). I don't really have a good reason for using it more lately.

Although, every time I type it, I hear Emma Thompson's voice in my head from Stranger than Fiction. I had (of course) heard the Latin phrase prior to seeing that movie, but . . . you know the phrase: "It was just what I never knew I always wanted"? Well, spinning off that, Emma Thompson's voice saying ad infinitum was just how I'd never known I always thought it.

Did that work out the way I thought it was going to? Or did I just send the phrase into a grammatically corrupt, labyrinthed hell of botched cliches?

My bad.

I just meant, my internal voice does not have a British accent, so I didn't know that ad infinitum was supposed to be thought Britishily.*

*I love artistic license!

I don't do accents out loud. That is one talent I definitely do not possess. You know how some people have that knack? My sister, for example, totally has it. But I don't. I do however, possess a highly specialized, totally pointless ability for memorizing movies. Much less useful in the long run, but unfortunately they don't have a Talent Store where I can exchange my useless talents for something much cooler.

Like my unwanted ability to turn any conversation topic to my health crap and/or eating habits. That is a completely good-for-nothing talent. I don't even know how it happens! I think it's because I've yet to figure out an appropriate response to any of the following: 1) Do you have any siblings? 2) When are you having kids? And, without fail: 3) What do you mean, there's nothing on this menu that you'll eat? (see also: I have a footnote regarding the 1 & 2)
See, it starts so innocently. Those are perfectly acceptable, socially appropriate questions, and because of that: there's no perfectly acceptable, socially acceptable way to say none of your effing beeswax.

Or am I wrong?

Since I haven't figured out how to steer the conversation away from these topics, usually what ends up happening is my noncommittal vagueness comes off in a there-must-be-something-juicy-so-just-keep-asking-questions-until-the-entire-effing-story-comes-out-anyway type of way.

Random: What do you mean, there's nothing on this menu that you'll eat?
Me: I'm an extremely picky eater.
Random: Really? But you could just have a sandwich or something.
Me: I don't really like bread, when all is said and done.
Random: How can you not like bread?
Me: Well, it's really that I don't like bread and I don't like things mixed together.
Random: Well, what about pizza? That has bread and things mixed together.

Ad infi-FRIGGIN-itum!

At that point in the conversation I'm really getting pissed. This conversation has happened, sometimes verbatim and sometimes with minor variations, countless times throughout my life. For example, you might swap out pizza for some other food. But you get my point. This random person is actually trying to trip me up when it comes to my own eating habits! What do they think I'm going to say? "You're right! Pizza is bread and stuff mixed together! Guess I'll just chalk 30 years of fighting with my family about food up to 'I thought I was picky, but really wasn't!' Thank you so much for pointing out that I never really had food issues in the first place. I'll have a deli sandwich To Go, because it's exactly the same as pizza."

Down boy, down boy. Bad! Sit, Sarcasm! Heel! Roll over! Sarcasm, you are one naughty dog.

Seriously, try having the same conversation for 30 years, and see how sane you are. For the record, I really haven't fought with my family about food for 10 years or more (I still exasperate them sometimes though). But despite 30 years of experience, I've yet to figure out how to (politely) DERAIL THE DAMN TRAIN.

What would you do, Reader?

Let's look at this rationally. Here I am, being sane. So far, these are the responses I've considered and dismissed:

Option 1)
Random: What do you mean, there's nothing on this menu that you'll eat?
Me: Well for a second I thought I saw Pig Poop Pie with a buttcrack on top, but now I'm disappointed. So no.

(In my experience, random people just blow over the sarcasm like I didn't even say it. So I wind up feeling like a jerk, and they end up hearing the whole story anyway).

Option 2)
Random: What do you mean, there's nothing on this menu that you'll eat?
Me: Yeah, us picky eaters should be taken out and shot, huh?

(Are they too stupid to pick up on the sarcasm, or what? Because even if I lay it on really thick, they just keep a' comin'!).

Option 3)
Random: What do you mean, there's nothing on this menu that you'll eat?
Me: Well, since you're not on the menu . . . (wink, wink)

(Oddly enough, intentionally-inappropriate-using-comedy-to-deflect-and-change-the-subject comments get the same response as sarcasm).

And my personal favorite:

Option 4)
Random: What do you mean, there's nothing on this menu that you'll eat?
Me: Not a damn fucking thing, asshole. Thanks for playing.

(Sigh. If only! This one would probably do the trick, but I'm not mean enough, nor brave enough, to actually try it).

At any rate, moving on.

The most annoying part to me is the that people try to trip me up when it comes to my own food idiosyncrasies. I can't seem to figure out how to stop the conversation from going into List Mode, which is unfortunate because it's all downhill from the point where Random starts naming off food after food after food that s/he thinks are close to something I've said I will or will not eat just to see if s/he thinks my answer jives or (joy oh joy!) conflicts with anything I may have already said.

Did you get all that? Talk about a grammatically convoluted sentence.

It's true; Randoms love finding conflicts! "Ah ha! You said you don't eat sandwiches because they're bread and stuff mixed together, but pizza is bread and stuff mixed together."

So . . . what? I'm just wrong?

The damnable So you'll eat _____ but not _____?** conversation:

**The simple expedient of answering "That's correct" or any variation does not work. Trust me, I've tried. To me it's a blunt brush-off in it's simplicity, but 999 times out of ten, the person will respond "Why?" and put me right back to square 1.

So you'll eat pizza but not deli sandwiches?
So you'll eat green bean casserole but not shepherd's pie?
So you'll eat raw peppers but not stuffed peppers?

My food logic for the above listed items (plus anything else I don't eat): usually it has nothing to do with taste and everything to do with texture and/or being psychologically blocked against it.
Let's play a game, shall we? Now I'm asking YOU the same questions, Reader:

So, Reader: you'll eat pizza but not poop?
So, Reader: you'll eat green bean casserole but not giant nose boogers?
So, Reader: you'll eat raw peppers but not raw sewage?

Pretend you responded. No matter what it was ("That's correct" "What the hell?"), this is my un-facetious, completely serious response for you: "Why?"

I'll pause while you reflect on your previous judgements of my supposed food unconventionalities now that you realize I equate shepherd's pie to poop.

This is the problem: Random (and the rest of the peanut gallery) thinks it's appropriate to argue with me about my answers. Why oh why do I have to hear all the variations of this: "But they both have green beans in them!"

How about I say to you about your choices: "But raw peppers and raw sewage both start with R's!" And this is what you would say to me: "So?"

I wish. The list of socially acceptable responses are limited, and it does not include "So?" or "Get a life." Instead the result is usually a huge dissertation on the inner workings of my soul, with me the unwilling narrator.

As for my other two questions above ("Do you have any siblings?" "When are you having kids?"), all I can say is this:
Ad infinitum.

Footnote: I've never specifically posted as to why these questions are problems for me. So, if you're dying of curiosity, read these posts to find a brief answer contained within them. It's subtle, you'll have to do some detective work, but I'm not ready to write entire posts about these topics. Yet!
1) My first asthma attack
2) Blake and pumpkins are both orange

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