Last weekend, I went to a lovely dinner party at Katherine and Shawn’s new and huge apartment to celebrate Shawn’s 33rd birthday. There were seven of us, and I’d certainly met Katherine’s friends before, all of whom are perfectly lovely people. As we were sitting around the living room, drinking Claret and dining on sushi, Shawn’s friend Ken mentioned that he loved Napoleon Dynamite, which is obviously one of my favorite movies ever. As Katherine and Shawn dissed the masterpiece, to my delight, Ken began to do dead-on impressions of Napoleon.
“Oh my god, Ken.” I screamed. “You just went up a notch!”
He looked at me like I was nuts. We proceeded to chat on, and after a few minutes, Ken dove back into the Napoleon quotes. He was tremendously good at it, capturing the subtle nuances that make the character so genius. “Fabulous.” I yell. “Another notch.”
Suddenly and with hate in his eyes, he looks up at me. “I don’t care about you’re stupid notches. You know what, Beth? Down a notch!”
Uh, oh no. Notch analogy misconstrued.
The thing is, my saying that one has gone up a notch is a huge compliment, a way of expressing that somehow, I feel suddenly closer to this person. I had no idea Ken was funny before this evening. Him going up a notch was awesome. At least, to me it was. Not so much to Ken.
We dined on fabulous food, and after dinner Katherine decided we’d all play Celebrity Password, a game I excel at beyond words. Kat presented me with a hat full of names and instructed me to pick my partner. Just guess who I pick.
Oh god. “Um, Ken. Looks like we’re partners.”
To which Ken immediately hollers, “Beth wants to change teams!”
We play Celebrity Password and we lose, primarily because Ken can’t bring himself to answer John Cleese. “Oh no Beth. Down another notch.” Ken sneers, rolling his eyes.
Alright, now you’re just being snippy.
Once again misunderstood, I zip my lip and shut the fuck up. Sometimes, I’m simply too obnoxious for my own good. Normally, in situations like this, I’ll blabber on, words falling from my mouth in an uncontrollable need to somehow verbally resolve the situation. With each word, I become further and further entrenched in my own bratty stupidity, knowing full well that I’m sounding more and more like the asshole I’m desperately trying not to be, but unable to do anything to end the misery of everyone involved. I like to think that I’ve learned from this, and thus, concentrated with all my might on not speaking. A grateful room silently thanked me.
I left, off to go meet Big Chris for drinks. I regaled him with the notch story and needless to say for the rest of the weekend, through Joe’s Birthday extravaganza and the Oscars, at every opportunity and every possible chance, one of my friends would find a way to say it. “You know what, Beth. Down a notch.”