The Story of My First Social Outing After My Dad Died

Posted on
Dec 17, 2016

Let’s talk about my first social outing after my father died, which will probably make you feel better about yourself. Actually, most of my life will probably make you feel better about yourself. I’m basically a walking answer to the age-old question, “What happens when we raise a child on television and pixie sticks and then set it free to interact with well-adjusted humans?”


Let’s talk about Saturday, or possibly Sunday. They sort of merge together when you refuse to put on pants and join the world of the bathed. My friend Jenny (her name has been changed so that this blog post can’t be used against me in court) was having a holiday party, and I was trying to decide whether or not to go. Rand has been swamped with a deadline (he’s working non-stop on his book, which I have tentatively titled Married to a She-Wolf: The Rand Fishkin Story but which is actually about business or something) so I’ve been attending most social events on my own, an admission which should be accompanied by ominous music.

Generally, I’m pretty okay with flying solo because I’m outgoing and my near-constant state of sobriety gives me a tiny leg up on the people who are downing straight rum but calling it “eggnog.” Plus, I’m sort of clueless so I generally don’t know when I’m making a fool of myself. Unless, like, it’s totally egregious.

Cue ominous music.

“Go,” Rand told me. “You’ll be glad that you did.”

Especially if by “glad” you mean “cringing for the next five days.”

This was my first foray out into the world after my dad had died, not counting when I went down to my mother’s house and we scried at each other for an hour (“scried” is my new cute portmanteau of scream and cried). I felt like the skin that comes in right after a scab has fallen off – new and pink and tender (and possibly prone to weeping so maybe we shouldn’t wear anything cute). By outward appearances I appeared normal, but was petrified that something would crack the facade and I’d start spewing snot and tears in front of a bunch of strangers, like some sort of feelings geyser.

Rather remarkably, this is what my tissue looked like after crying one night last week.

Jenny’s friends turned out to be lovely. They all had their shit together – they were homeowners and people who remembered to vote in midterm elections. There was a cadre of surprisingly well-behaved non-boogery children in attendance, and only one tried to get drunk (more on that in a moment).

When I asked people what they did (which is a weird question, and one I can’t answer myself), absolutely no one said, “I’m an aspiring competitive hot dog eater”.

I started talking to a lovely and hip young couple, and at one point said,

“So how do you ladies know Jenny?”

Let’s talk about why this was a stupid thing to say.

  1. No interesting story has ever come out of this. On the rare occasion that the story of how two people met is super interesting (e.g., “We both blacked out in Cabo after doing lines of cocaine off a prosthetic leg that did not belong to us”) they’re probably going to keep that a secret and tell you a boring lie, like that they met through one of their brothers or something. Incidentally, Jenny and I met through my brother.
  2. I sounded about 90 years old. Seriously. Who the fuck says “ladies”? From here it’s just a slippery slope to smelling like mothballs and offering people Werther’s Originals, and the jokes on all of you BECAUSE I ALREADY DO.
  3. And lastly, the final and most important reason that this was a stupid thing to say: ONE OF THEM WAS NOT A LADY.

So, yeah. I misgendered this gentleman. And he was totally cool about it, politely corrected me (explaining that he actually came to Seattle to transition), and that should have been it. But for some reason, I felt the need to apologize a thousand fucking times and THEN I KEPT BRINGING IT UP AWKWARDLY.


Him: So you live in Beacon Hill?

Me: No! Wrong hill! Hey, I misgendered you but you got my home address wrong so now we’re even, right?

(I actually said this. God help me. He just stared.)

At some point, I was just vomiting out words. “Pan-sexual” and “non-binary” and now I need to go live in a cave.

Also, he was adorable. He looked like Andrew McCarthy (yes, I told him this). So my record of making a fool of myself around hot people continues on, unbroken. HOORAY.

You’d think that this was it. This was the end of Geraldine’s disastrous outing, right? OF COURSE NOT.

I spent a large portion of the evening talking to a lovely young gay man, and when someone asked me how we knew each other, I said, “Oh, he’s my ex-husband.”

This was a joke.

It was not taken as a joke.

It was taken very, very seriously.

The woman I said it to then began telling me how awesome it was that we were friends post-divorce. And how she was attempting to do the same thing with her ex but it was difficult.

Oh. Shit.

I figured my only option was to double down because (in case you haven’t been following along at home) I HAVE TERRIBLE JUDGEMENT. Thank god my gay fake ex-husband played along (some days I wonder how I ever let him get away). I explained that I only married him for his tushie, which I proceeded to slap. Then I watched mutely as a small child reached for a rum ball and did nothing to stop them because sometimes you need a drunk 10-year-old to take some of the pressure off of you, you know? At some point I blurted out to someone that my dad had died on Wednesday, so that was a fun icebreaker, too.

Did I mention I was stone-cold sober?

After that, I figured perhaps it was best to stay home for a while. If you follow me on Twitter, you may have noticed that my feed is a non-stop spew of liberal rage lately (spoiler: I’m a Democrat. Which means that I’ve been devastated for the last month and a half). So, I thought, “Instead of tweeting about how the world is a tire fire, I’ll talk about Christmas songs.”


So I put out this tweet:


And I received this reply:

And I found myself thinking, “Please, dear god in heaven, let her husband be part of The Waitresses.” So, that’s the story of how I inadvertently insulted one of The Beach Boys.

After that, I decided that I was only going to leave my home for therapy appointments. But the last time I was at my therapist’s, I bumped into my friend’s husband who I hadn’t seen in ages, and as I left I shouted, “Say hi to your handsome husband for me.”

Which would have been fine except that I later found out that the two were getting divorced. I shouted “SAY HI TO YOUR HUSBAND FOR ME” to someone who was newly separated and – I realize now – on a date.


So, if any of you are concerned about your social interactions this holiday season, just remember that I’ve set the bar unimaginably low. You’ll be fine. Hey, by the way, I’ve meaning to ask, are you pregnant? It’s just that you sort of seem like you are, and that shirt makes it look like-

No? You aren’t? Okay, I could have sworn you were. That’s cool.

Leave a Comment

  • Anthropologal

    2016 gonna 2016 – just go scream at the ocean for awhile until you feel human again – it can take it.

  • KateMorris

    I love you. I miss you. You still make me uncontrollably laugh. That’s all.

  • J Tidrick

    Oh G. You make me laugh and cry. I would say it will get better, but I’ve been reading your blog for years now, I know better. Nice one though to insult one of the Beach Boys. Honestly, what were the odds on that happening? I’m glad I was home while reading this. I get tired of the funny looks I get from people when I read your posts in public and try not to laugh out loud

  • Josephine Robertson

    You are my hero, because this means I’m not nearly as much of a train wreck as I thought, or I am but at least I’ve got company.

  • JbinCO

    I just want to hug you. And laugh with you. <3

  • Jennifer

    You are a truly beautiful person! I love your humor, thank you for sharing it with the world. I’m sorry for your loss. I’m sure you are getting lots of advice, so I’ll add my unsolicited two cents. It will take awhile, to feel good and/or like yourself again…and that’s actually ok. I lost most mother a few years ago and still have really bad moments. I feel that often our society expects us to deal with losing a loved one and “get over it” a little more quickly than anyone possibly can. Trying to do so can actually make it all take longer. That’s my thought on the subject, anyway. I can tend to want to lecture people about things like this. So, you got my quickie version. Hope you don’t mind. Hang in there. I’ll have a good thought for you and I’m sending love your way.

  • Carrie Marks

    [crawls out of hole to post]

    I’m so sorry if I made your shitty week worse…a winky emoji felt weird next to condolences but I meant no offense. You can’t be married to someone paid to play Kokomo at county fairs and not be able to take a joke. Besides, David is the least famous Beach Boy so it barely counts anyway!

    I’m a socially awkward sugar addict who follows my husband around the world, exploring new cities alone (usually in stained and/or ill-fitting clothes) while he’s off working and looking effortlessly hip and handsome. Needless to say, I think you’re awesome. The Noam Chomsky of baked goods and bodily function jokes, if you’ll have it. So, thank you for being you and the voice of others like us!

    Again, I am very sorry for your loss and for my tweet making you feel even more awkward. If it makes you feel any better, the first time I met Jeff Beck I was at a loss for normal-people words like “nice to meet you” so for some insane reason I blurted out, “I like to stick my thumb up David’s ass when he pees.” WHICH ISN’T EVEN TRUE!

    [crawls back into hole now]

    • Everywhereist

      Are you kidding? You were 1) super adorable and gracious and you 2) made this story UNBELIEVABLY funnier. Seriously, Rand just about died laughing. We both did. Plus, KOKOMO was, like, my FAVORITE Beach Boys song when I was 9. Tell no one.

      [If you are crawling in a hole I am coming in there to hang out with you and I am bringing cookies.]

      • Bonniejean

        This is one of my favorite blog posts and follow-up comments ever in the history of the internet. Kindness, humor, and wit. We need more of it.

      • This. Is. The. Best. Exchange. Ever.

    • Crystal Bryant

      I’m rereading this over and over and cracking up every time. You are a beautiful person. <3

      [Can I join in the hole? I'll bring the hot chocolate. We can do TimTam slams.]

  • 1) You can totally answer that question. You’re a writer, through and through. (Soon to be published!) You’re genuine and hilarious, even through your pain.

    2) When I was 15 I worked at an A&W Rootbeer that was attached to a gas station. Someone walked in and my greeting was, “Hello sir. I mean ma’am. I mean sir.” And then I walked into the back without saying another word. I still feel bad about it.

    3) The hands-down worst Christmas song is “Wonderful Christmas Time” by Paul McCartney and I do believe (and say this at least once per month to my husband when I’m making him listen to them on Pandora) that The Beach Boys are (is?) the most underrated band of our lifetime. But then Kokomo is probably *still* one of my favorite songs, so take that as you will. You’re a lucky lady, Carrie!

  • Ellie

    Oh my god thank you! I am saving this in my bookmarks and pulling it out every time I make a complete ass of myself (so at the very least on bi-weekly basis). You are a blessing to every socially awkward lady out there (yes lady! Let’s just give in and start rocking our true 80 year old natures)

  • machine works
  • “feelings geyser”

    Hahahahahaha oh boy. This is awesome. You’re a strong lady, G! Tackling life with wit and hilarity, even after your loss.

  • Gustavo Woltmann

    You are a good person. This is awesome post.

    – gustavo woltmann

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