Two Left Shoes

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English is a complicated language. Yet most people who learn it as their second language seem to be far more fluent than the rest of us who study, say, Spanish or French for a few years in high school. Why is that? Maybe it has something to do with all those double entendres, colloquialisms and oxymorons we spout both for comedic purposes and, let’s be honest, because we misuse them… Often.

Here are a few new expressions that have popped up since I’ve started living with my parents again:

Passenger-seat driver. That one’s pretty self explanatory… When I’m chauffeuring my Dad around town on various errands, he’s always pointing out every car that he thinks is in my way or every sign that he thinks he’s reading correctly or every imminently dangerous situation that’s about to occur (in his opinion) while sitting in the passenger seat instead of the back seat – where people usually sit when they want to annoy drivers.

Upside-down knife. Imagine cutting into a nice piece of steak… and cutting and cutting and you’re about to send it back because it’s like a piece of rubber. Then you’re told it’s not the meat, it’s the knife. Meaning, the knife is upside down. You’ve been painstakingly trying to cut something with the serrated edges up instead of down. My Dad, sadly, suffers from this anomaly. But, on the bright side, think how many calories he burns in the effort. 

Two-left shoes. We’ve all heard the expression ‘two left feet’ when referring to someone (hopefully not you) who couldn’t dance. But what about someone who can’t see or feel the difference when putting his shoes on the wrong feet… It seems like they’d notice that right away, doesn’t it? Only, my Dad keeps walking up to me with his shoes on the wrong feet and asking me if they’re right. It would be beyond cruel to not correct him or, worse, to wait and see if he eventually noticed (I’m no prankster but I know there are people who find great joy in tying someone’s shoe laces together under the table in hopes that, once they get up, they’ll immediately trip).

It’s a far better idea to just laugh it off and tell him, “you must have two left shoes!” 

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Next Available Representative

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On days like today, when I no sooner fix one problem that another one crops up, I wish I was automated so I could just say: “For Spanish, press 1” or “To speak to the next available representative, press 2.” Then I could have a nice cup of tea out on the terrace and chill.

I can’t seem to make my parents understand that I am neither a handyman nor a magician. I can’t just make things work all of a sudden and I only wish that I could make some things disappear. All of a sudden I find myself solely responsible for two of the most important people in my life and I am constantly doubting my ability to handle it all.

So, before you take on any new challenges in your life (no matter how large or how small), take a deep breath, write a list of pros and cons (if that’s your style) or talk it over with the person who knows you best. And if the phone ever starts playing that mind-numbing, ‘you’re-on-hold’ music… run like hell!