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Tony Grist

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Sorry, I'm A Stanger Here Myself [Aug. 17th, 2005|10:18 am]
Tony Grist
When I was a kid I used to wonder what it was like to go into a pub and order a drink. And I used to worry that, when my time came, I'd do it wrong and be found out

I've always felt like I was bluffing my way through life. Like I'd missed out on some absolutely vital briefing session.

Keep your head down, imitate the natives, don't do anything to give yourself away.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: shewhomust
2005-08-17 03:08 am (UTC)
I didn't worry that I'd do it wrong: I always assumed that one day I would be grown-up, and these things would come naturally to me.

I'm still waiting.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-08-17 04:13 am (UTC)
I guess none of us really feels at home here.
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[User Picture]From: jubal51394
2005-08-17 05:25 am (UTC)

I know this feeling too...

Some of my children, now in their 30's and 40's often ask me when they will feel like grown ups and they just can't seem to believe me when I tell them that it never happens. It seems I must look to them like I know. *rolls eyes*
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[User Picture]From: qos
2005-08-17 06:08 am (UTC)

Re: I know this feeling too...

I'm so glad this is a common experience!
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-08-17 09:22 am (UTC)

Re: I know this feeling too...

I wonder if the world would be a better place if all we "grown-ups" admitted to being totally at sea? I think it might.
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[User Picture]From: creakiness
2005-08-17 05:11 am (UTC)
I know the feeling.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-08-17 09:22 am (UTC)
This is pleasantly reassuring.
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[User Picture]From: qos
2005-08-17 06:15 am (UTC)
I am reminded of the first time I ordered an alcoholic beverage in the presence of my parents. They had always been "a-glass-of-wine-with-dinner-on-special-occasions" drinkers.

For reasons too complicated to go into, we found ourselves at a goodbye party for a Japanese diplomat in Portland, OR. We were so far out of our normal lives we might as well have been in Oz. We were at "the residence" and we didn't know anyone, except for my father's brief acquaintance with the diplomat hosting it.

We were standing there in one of the rooms, utter fish out of water, when we saw one of the tables where a uniformed man was serving drinks. We got in line (as much to be doing something as anything, and when it was my turn I said, "A screwdriver, please."

So simple. And yet it caused my father to remark, once we were standing alone again, "You handled that with aplomb."

I remember other tables of magnificent food, much of it being cooked right there in front of us. We ate, we looked at the house and the other guests, greeted the diplomat and wished him well, and then drove back home to our small town.

It was an experience unlike any other in my life. And remarkable as much for my dad's comment as anything else. And for my nervousness at ordering a cocktail in my parents' presence for the first time.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-08-17 09:26 am (UTC)
A screwdriver- very impressive!

Did you know what you'd get?

I mean, I wouldn't know now. What goes into a screwdriver? Gin maybe? or vodka? I haven't a clue.
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[User Picture]From: four_thorns
2005-08-17 05:11 pm (UTC)
vodka and orange juice
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-08-18 01:50 am (UTC)
I've never got along with vodka.

I remember raiding my parent's drinks cabinet as a kid and taking a swig from the vodka bottle and being really disappointed because I was hoping for this ultimate transgressive experience and the stuff just didn't taste of anything.

I'm a whisky man myself.
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[User Picture]From: four_thorns
2005-08-18 08:46 am (UTC)
a whisky man? wow. just the smell of it is enough to scare me away. i'm rather fond of rum, myself. i know that's not very classy. oh well.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-08-18 10:10 am (UTC)
I don't like the burnt-sugar taste of rum. I think this stems from being given disgusting rum-flavoured toffees when I was a kid. :)
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[User Picture]From: qos
2005-08-17 07:01 pm (UTC)
Yes, I knew!

A screwdriver is made from vodka and orange juice.

Now when I drink, I mix the vodka with Diet Coke -- or get a Lemon Drop, which uses lemonade as the mixer and is served in a martini glass with a suger crusted rim.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-08-18 01:53 am (UTC)
I prefer- on the whole- to keep my spirits and my soft drinks separate.

But I'll admit that I developed a fondness last winter for mixing my whisky with (non-alcoholic) ginger wine. Very warming!
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[User Picture]From: four_thorns
2005-08-18 08:48 am (UTC)
lemon drops are quite good. or vodka and bitter lemon soda, which is basically the same thing, but carbonated.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-08-18 10:12 am (UTC)
I like bitter lemon.

It's what I used to drink at my grandparents' house(only without the vodka.)I thought it was a wonderful treat.
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[User Picture]From: seaslug_of_doom
2005-08-17 08:20 am (UTC)
A friend and I, each in our 40s, both bought large appliances a short period apart. We were delighted to find we both thought to ourselves while doing so, "Wow, I feel like a grownup."

I'm planning on buying a used car this year. My sixth and the first without an experienced car buyer by my side. I don't think that ties directly into this theme, though, but rather speaks to insecurity about inexperience.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-08-17 09:27 am (UTC)
I bought my first house at 35.

Me a house-holder? Wheeee!
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From: manfalling
2005-08-17 08:58 am (UTC)
yah i had that too.
now?
well hell.
now i just ASSUME i'm going to screw it up. so i go in with low expectations. and if i get the job done smooth? then wow, that's like, a major victory. and if i don't, well then. i'll probably still get a drink. just- people will think- 'damn that boy can't order for toffee'. or something.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-08-17 09:29 am (UTC)
You too?

And I think of you as such a man of the world.....
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[User Picture]From: karenkay
2005-08-17 09:24 am (UTC)
I used to think that life was a play and that everyone else had a script and I didn't.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-08-17 09:31 am (UTC)
Yes, exactly.

I had a dream the other night that I was putting on an open-air play with Orson Welles- just me and him- and I hadn't bothered to learn my script
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[User Picture]From: karenkay
2005-08-17 11:23 am (UTC)
LOL.Who would act with Orson Welles and NOT LEARN THE SCRIPT?!

Were you confident anyway?

This is one of the things I liked about living in Japan--I felt that things were better scripted there.
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-08-17 11:37 am (UTC)
I thought I'd probably muddle through....improvise.....

I understand the attraction of highly regulated societies- and why- for example- people in Iraq might vote for politicians who promise them Sharia law. There's comfort in a social structure where everyone knows their place and right behaviour is clearly defined.
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[User Picture]From: jackiejj
2005-08-18 05:50 am (UTC)
And yet you casually do sophisticated things like being a regular at an Indian restaurant or traveling by train into Spain...(well, I think those would be daunting! And I would feel like such a rubish American, doing everything wrong and saying "Excuse me!" instead of "Sorry!")

You remember that photograph of you that Ailz took? You were sitting at an outdoor table with tea (that was later ruined by birds)? I thought: how comfortable to be a native Englander among other Englanders!

Come to think of it, I have actually had the thought that it's rather nice to look exactly like a human, because I can be a part of common life without being stared at! It's a nice thing to be part of the hive.

Some people aren't. The Elephant Man, for example.

(Following a thread. Sorry--I'm fighting off a Mood, I think! Time for coffee and more [frantic] cleaning.)
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2005-08-18 06:32 am (UTC)
I hadn't thought of any of those things as particularly daring. Though if you're as nervy as I am everything takes a certain ammount of pluck.

But perhaps everyone feels like that.

Including the swaggerers.

Perhaps the swaggerers in particular.
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[User Picture]From: sina_says
2005-08-18 06:51 am (UTC)
a was a precocious (and pretentious) child. i remember being absolutely certain that i was way more sophisticated than other children. i remember being very comfortable in the company of adults, of holding my own in any number of very adult situations. i was so smug.

now that i really am an adult... i feel lost much of the time.
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