Not being able to join up the dots at times can have its advantages and disadvantages, but for an intelligent woman, I can’t half be thick at times.
My dad is impossible to buy presents for. Most things in his world are “rubbish”. He doesn’t smoke; he doesn’t drive; he doesn’t play golf or read books. Even books on Scotland. Months ago I spotted a gorgeous shaving set in a leather case. As soon as I saw it, I thought that’s perfect. Birthday present dilemma solved.
Fast forward to last week and I finally give him said present. He looks at it askance. “Mavis,” he says. (My dad is convinced I’m called Mavis. We’re a close family!). “Mavis, I’ve had a beard since 1982.” It was only then that it clicked that a shaving set might not be that much of an ideal present for him after all!
As with the shaving kit fiasco, I sometimes even impress myself with my own stupidity. I remember once while staying in Berlin a German paramour had made me a cup of tea. However, I don’t actually drink tea despite being British. A fact quite a few foreigners and even some Brits find impossible to comprehend.
As I believe in total honesty in a relationship, I of course didn’t want to admit this to him. I decided I’d just pour the cuppa down the sink once he’d gone out the kitchen. This he duly did. Meanwhile a plumber was lying on the floor of the kitchen fixing the u-bend. In order to get to the sink I actually had to step over his prostrate body, yet somehow still didn’t realise that if I poured a hot liquid down the plughole, it would inevitably end up all over him.
Needless to say the plumber wasn’t too happy and started shouting and cussing in German. In such situations I go into default “terribly British” mode. Pretending not to speak German despite having spoken it fluently just seconds before, I mumbled an “I’m terribly sorry” and pranced out of the room.
Failing to join the dots together can have its advantages however. Some months back I was emceeing a big club night and one of the comics was trying to play mind games with the other comics. Not that I realised that at the time of course. Just before I went on, he mentioned how someone else had described me to him. It wasn’t particularly flattering but I nevertheless thought it was a rather accurate description and without thinking, just went: “Sounds about right.” and walked on stage. It was only when I was discussing him with another comic on the bill that night that the penny finally dropped he was trying to upset me!
Though to be fair if people try to wind me up, even on those occasions when I realise what they are doing, I try to react in the exact opposite way of how they want me to. I find that is a far more effective way of winding them up instead. I will totally miss the point for example or pretend to take a sarcastically meant comic at face value. The great thing is the other person can never be sure whether you’re doing it on purpose or you are just a lot thicker than they ever imagined. I remember living in a flat where the boyfriend of the woman upstairs kept trying to hit on me. Then one week she was away on business. Late one night he knocked on my door. “I’m locked out” he informed me. “OK, then, thanks for letting me know.” And promptly shut the door in his face. Needless to say he never bothered me again!