The gift that keeps on giving

It was a lovely day in Vancouver BC, June of 2001. Rich and I had just ridden the Skyride at Grouse Mountain and were feeling a little thirsty. We found a little snack stand, and since I hate to buy bottled water, we asked the girl behind the counter if we could get a cup of water from her. She denied this request with an odd, sing-song, high pitched, “Surrrreee!” She may not have given us water, but since we have spent the last 15 years imitating her every time we say sorry to each other, I’d say we’re more than even.

One of my greatest wishes is to know whose lives I have touched in this way. Who is still making fun of me for some random thing I said more than a decade ago? I’ll never know the answer to that, but I can tip my hat to some of the other folks who’ve unwittingly contributed to this treasure trove over the years:

My sister Kim once asked a woman sitting behind her at the movies to stop talking, and the woman said, “Fuuuuck youuuuu…” and put her middle finger on Kim’s nose. This was at The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, and 24 years later I’m still regularly doing the finger to the nose thing. Thank you, loud movie lady.

My friend Nicole and I worked in day care together. We were at a CPR/infant safety course and the instructor advised not to bring coffee into centers at all since burns and scalds were so common. Other people in the class were trying to come up with ideas of how to keep the coffee without burning anyone, and the instructor was getting visibly annoyed in response until finally someone shouted, “Hey, no coffee, no problem!” To this day, we reference that woman every time we interact in any way. Literally every single time.

My brother Kevin was once walking down the street in Boston and some older guy pulled up to him, stuck his head out of the car window, and shouted, “Weirdo!” A very Boston story right there. It was more than 30 years ago, but we’ve recently started referencing it all the time while playing this memory game with the kids. We gave names to all the cards because we haven’t seen the movies and the one with the beard is called “Beard-o!” and you have to say it just like the Boston guy. For some reason, my kids absolutely love that story.

We also call him James Lipton.

Rich’s mom was once visiting us, also in Boston, and we ordered pizza one night. I had two cats at the time, and his mom kept saying, “Those cats are gonna go crazy when they smell that pizza!” It was a very cute but also inaccurate thing to say, and we affectionately allude to her every time we order pizza. We go crazy when we smell that pizza.

Another Boston story! Something in the air there? We were at a neighborhood get together and when somebody mentioned Lord of the Rings, our downstairs neighbor, Nancy, said, “We got the DVD,” which isn’t a strange thing to say, but the way she said it was overly pronounced and weirdly braggy, and I will never not think of her when someone mentions DVDs. I will also never forget Nancy because of a very odd conversation we once had. We were chatting about movies set in Boston, and when I mentioned Next Stop Wonderland she asked, “Is that the one where the kid thinks he might be gay, and he meets the older guy who’s gay, and they sleep together and the teacher gets all mad about it?” Um, no. Then her husband says, “Oh you’re thinking of Wonder Boys.” What a weird way to sum up Wonder Boys!