My Week 196: Four Vignettes, or Whuh?

Four Vignettes

1) Last weekend, Ken and I pulled into our driveway just as two very small boys about 7 years old walked past our house. They were each carrying a puppy. Neither puppy was wearing a collar or had a leash. I’m going to let that sink in for a second. By the time we had gotten out of the car, they were down the road. I stood there, mouth hanging open, watching as they disappeared into the distance.

Me: Um…there are puppies.
Ken (unpacking groceries): Looks like it.
Me: I want to carry one too.
Ken: Who knows where they came from?
Me: From a magical place in town where there are puppies that people are allowed to CARRY, KEN!
Ken: I—
Me: They’re going towards the park! You know, I forgot to get…(mumbles) you know. I’m just gonna hop back into the car and go to the store.
Ken: I could use some help with the groceries.
Me: I’ll be right back!!

I drove slowly down the street as the two boys seemed to meet up with an older man who was pushing a baby carriage and walking a dog. I drove up and as they started around the corner into the back entrance to the park, I rolled down my window and called out to the guy, “I like your puppies!” in the hope that he might reply, “Why, thank you. Would you, perhaps, like to pet one?”

But he turned to look at me and smiled. “Oh, they’re not mine. I don’t know those kids.” And then the two boys and the puppies disappeared into the park. I drove around the block to the park’s front entrance and went in. It was super-crowded and I was hoping that was because there was some kind of Puppy Petting Zoo, or a Puppy Cavalcade, or a “Puppies on Parade” thing, but it was only a stupid softball tournament. Dejected, I made my way home, convinced that I would never see the puppies again. But then, in a strange twist of fate, I was weeding the garden after dinner when the same two little boys carrying the same two puppies walked by the house once again. It was a golden opportunity and I wasn’t going to let it go by.

Me: Hey!! Are those your puppies?!
Little Boy 1: Yes.
Me: Can I pet them?
Little Boy 2: OK.
Me: What kind are they?
Little Boy 1: They’re a bulldog and sharpei cross. We have lots.
Me: Are you selling them or something? How much are they?
Little Boy 1: One Thousand Dollars.

But I got to pet them for free. Suckers.

2) On Wednesday, I was at a high level meeting at work, with all the directors and the CEO, discussing a new policy. I was doing what I normally do, which is trying to pay attention and not think about puppies, or the fact that “Sugar, How’d You Get So Fly?” is my new favourite song for absolutely NO undiscernible reason, or how I’d had too much green tea AGAIN but there was no way I was using the bathroom during the meeting, when suddenly the person leading the meeting said, “Is there anyone else?” and my director looked at me and said, “Don’t forget ours.” So I shook myself out of my reverie and replied, “Oh right, there’s also that,” to which the person running the meeting said, “OK, guide me through it.”

I was at a complete loss. Not because I’m incompetent (REALLY), but because I was thrown by his turn of phrase and I had no idea what he meant. If you know me at all, you’ll know that I have a very poor sense of direction, and certainly can’t be counted on to guide ANYONE ANYWHERE. Last weekend, I took Ken for a beer tour, but he had to navigate. At the second last place, I asked how to get to the next brewery and the brewery owner said, “Take this street to the main road, then go North.” My response was, “Is that left or right?” North means nothing to me except “UP”. I’d be the best sherpa on the planet ie: “We go North!!” but otherwise, I’m pretty useless.

So I did what virtually NO ONE would do—I looked at the dude leading the meeting and I said, “Whuh?” Not “Pardon?” Not “Certainly.” Not even “What?” I said, “Whuh?” He kind of looked at me askance, then my director jumped in and ‘guided him through it’. Let me clarify. I am a 52 year old professional, both well-educated and well-groomed. I have several degrees and I’m a published novelist. Yet my go-to is “whuh?” It’s a damn good job that I can write up a stellar business case with secondary sources in under half an hour or my ass would be grass.

3) I saw an ad on the internet for writers who could create interesting posts about clipping their dog’s toenails. It paid 20 pounds, which is the equivalent of around $50 Canadian dollars. So I thought about applying, but I’d never clipped a dog’s toenails before so it occurred to me that I should practice first.

Me: Hey, do you want a pedicure?
Titus: What’s that?
Me: It’s when I gently massage your legs, and rub lotion into your paw pads…(whispering) and then I clip your nails…
Titus: No f*cking way. But nice try seducing me with the massage and whatnot.
Me: C’mon. It’s for fifty bucks. I’ll split it with you.
Titus: Split my toenails more like.
Me: I’ll be careful. Wouldn’t it be better for ALL of us if you didn’t gouge our faces when we asked for high fives?
Titus: It’s the chance you take.
Me: Seriously. Let me try.
Titus: Well, OK. Wait—what’s that?!
Me: Those are the clippers. Hold still.
Titus: They look really sharp—I—Nope!! Nope nope!! Stop it—I said No!!
Me: YOU’RE. BEING. A. BABY! Hold still! Don’t pull away—that will only prolong things! There. All done.
Titus: You’ve made me very unhappy.
Me: I’m going to write this up. I’ll buy you some cookies with my hard-won earnings.
Titus: They’d better be liver-flavoured. Get me my squeaky hippo, you sadist.
Me: For fifty bucks, I’ll buy you a new one.

Be gentle with me.

4) Ken and I are going on vacation soon, so I rented a car through Avis. I hadn’t received a confirmation number so on Thursday, I called their rental centre in Calgary. Unbeknownst to me, that number sends you to a central location somewhere in the United States. After screaming “Speak to a representative!!” several times at my phone, I was finally put through to Jeremy:

Jeremy: Hi there! My name is Jeremy. I’m here to help you. What’s your name?
Me: Suzanne.
Jeremy: OK, can I have your confirmation number?
Me: That’s the problem. I was never sent one.
Jeremy: OK. Can you spell out your last name for me?…Great—I see it in the system. Just to verify—what’s your first name again?
Me: Suzanne.
Jeremy: Can you spell that for me?
Me: Sure. Ess—You—Zed—Ehh—Enn—Enn—Ee
Jeremy: What?
Me (spells it again).
Jeremy: I’m sorry—your name is Su-zed-anne?
Me: What? NO. It’s Suzanne. With a zed.
Jeremy: Su-zed…I don’t understand.
Me: ZED is the last letter of the alphabet. THE 26
Jeremy: Oh, you mean like Zee?
Me: Ah, you’re American. Yes. Just like Zee, only the RIGHT way to say it.
Jeremy: Pardon?
Me: Whut?


53 thoughts on “My Week 196: Four Vignettes, or Whuh?

  1. Aren’t our countries having enough problems without your bringing up z?

    Has the United States ever received a proper apology for Bryan Adams?

    Canada has been itching for something bad ever since your President (or whatever wacky term you people use for your national head of state) very, very, very politely said that Canada just might decide to maybe respond in kind to whatever economic stuff the US does to Canada. Clearly a threat and, as my guys said over here said, “stabbing in the back.”

    But now you have to go and bring up z.

    This is almost as Bryan Adams or when you people burned the White House.

    At least you got to pet a dog.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Shar Pei-Bulldog mixes result in a very special and highly varied breed known as a Mutt. Mutts are often prized but only a sucker would pay a grand for one.
    Also once on a Scout camping trip the adults decided it would be a good idea to make the Scouts hike two miles to the campsite so they dropped us off on the side of the road and gave the troop leader directions, but he kind of zoned out and when the adults got in the car and drove off he said, “Whut?” So anyway as the troop leader I had to figure out where we were going and fortunately I have an excellent sense of direction.
    And my wife trims our dog’s toenails using a Dremel tool which takes a little longer but doesn’t hurt or risk cutting the nail too close so I’ll just go ahead and say YOU’RE WELCOME, TITUS.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Oh, but they were sooo cute. Little squishy faces and golden fur. Next time someone needs me to guide them anywhere, I’m contacting you immediately! Thanks for the Dremel tip–I’ll have to try it. Titus will let you know:-)

      Liked by 3 people

  3. I’m very happy I clicked on your link on Rachel’s blog… I laughed!
    It’s annoying when people don’t pronounce things as they should pronounce them, right? We have this problem in France as well :’D

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Whuhhh?!!! — I gave up a long time ago when I had hockey on one day (not sure why) and some guy’s name was being pronounced Ghee. As in the hockey player’s name was spelled G-U-Y but pronounced with a hard G-E-E. So it wasn’t gee as in “golly, gee,” it was pronounced ghee, as in clarified butter. After that — my brain exploded. Now zee is zed? Sure. Why the hell not!!!!


    Liked by 4 people

  5. This is the first time I have ever witnessed the pronunciation of the final letter of the alphabet as any other than the standard American way. I feel like they should have covered that in my linguistics class, immediately after the chapter on “whuh.” (which, incidentally is described by the urban dictionary as “Combination of huh and what. Often mistaken for a grunt.”)

    I don’t know if you know this about me, but I have two very large puppies, very golden. My wife is incessantly pleading with me to add another. It doesn’t bother me, I LOVE puppies (even more than Excel or, say, Bryan Adams) but they quickly … and I mean QUICKLY … turn into dogs shortly after arrival. I love dogs, too, but I don’t want a third one of those, just yet.

    Now, if you don’t mind, I rather overindulged at my pre-birthday party yesterday, and all this typing is wearing me out. I think I’ll leave all this at that and go catch some zeds. 😁

    Liked by 3 people

    • So interesting, since Canada, the Brits, and the French all pronounce it zed! Then again, the Yanks spell half the words wrong anyway, lol (I hope your quirky neighbour’s sense of humour doesn’t colour your perceptions too much–my behaviour is just local flavour!).

      Liked by 2 people

    • Bertrand Russell observed that England and America are two countries divided by a common language, although his eyesight wasn’t good enough to see that there’s also a lot of water between us. A friend of mine in a math class being taught by a British professor has a hard time figuring out what zed and nought were until he realized the professor meant zee and zero—a lesson that might also help you if you ever take off for the Great White North.
      Your very large puppies are also good training because there’s a saying going around that pissing off Canada is like pissing off a Golden Retriever.
      Happy pre-birthday and don’t forget you have 364 un-birthdays a year and 365 in a leap year.

      Liked by 3 people

    • I go through this all the time especially because of my last name. But even this morning, I went to Starbucks, which I rarely do, and they asked for my name to write on the cup, which is a stupid gimmick anyway. I said, “Suzanne” and when I got the cup, it said “Susan” on it. Not even close! Next time, I’ll just say “Bob.”

      Liked by 2 people

      • I have a somewhat common first name that has about ten billion possible spellings, and an insanely uncommon last name that’s only 4 letters long but is apparently still impossible for anyone outside my family to spell correctly.

        The hell with it, I’m switching to “Bob” too.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. That face! Titus is the best dog ever! Every time I read one of your posts, I wonder how I don’t live north of here, and how we aren’t neighbors. The amount of fun we could have sharing tales and getting into trouble. . .

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Whuh? is pretty much my go-to word for everything. It’s versatile; I’ll give you that.

    “Is there anything else I can help you with?”

    “Your colonoscopy was clear.”

    See? Versatile. But usually I’m thinking about kittens.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh girl, laughed out loud, ‘like surrounding patrons around me looked over at me’ laughed out loud. I just wish I could follow you around and observe…and giggle.

    “So I did what virtually NO ONE would do—I looked at the dude leading the meeting and I said, “Whuh?” Not “Pardon?” Not “Certainly.” Not even “What?” I said, “Whuh?”

    Suzanne, had I been there, I would not have helped your cause. I would have bust out laughing…and then probably done something more inappropriate to deflect…or just kept laughing…hard to say. ;o)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Haha, you Canadian’s make me laugh. But then again so do the people across from the “other” border (whispers, I’m talking about Mexico). Zee, not Zed would be (in Spanish Zeta). So you see you were both saying it wrong. lol

    Liked by 1 person

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