Boo! Did I Scare You? No?

Vanessa laughing

I don’t believe I’m a frightening person in general (Except when I laugh, and then I can look quite scary, and really rather hideous, as you can see in the photo above), but there have been a couple of occasions when I have inadvertently frightened people, and I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to them…

  • I recently visited a tourist-type attraction not far from home. There were three of us. We had bought a family entrance ticket which covers up to four people because there were originally going to be four of us. As we were going in, a German tourist came in, alone, to buy a ticket. We jumped in and suggested to the ticket seller guy that as we had a spare place on our family ticket, he might like to be kind and let the German lady come in for free. He generously agreed. The German lady was most grateful, and thanked the ticket guy, and us, profusely. Never wanting to miss an opportunity for a joke, I said “No problem! Of course it does mean you’ll have to come home with us afterwards too though.” I saw a brief flicker of fear cross her face, followed by relief when the rest of us laughed (yes, I did laugh at my own joke too, but you know, it was pretty funny). Sorry Miss German Tourist Lady, I didn’t mean to frighten you.
  • I lived in the States for a few years a while back, and when I first started driving over there, I wasn’t really used to an automatic; In England I’d always had a manual gear stick. One day I was stopped at a red light behind another car, and as I rummaged for something in my bag on the passenger seat, I must have lifted my foot off the brake slightly and rolled forward into the back of the car in front. The bump made me jump and I looked up sharply. I didn’t realise what I had done, I thought that the person in front had reversed into me. He and I looked at each other in his rear view mirror, I glared at him and I lifted my hands up in an annoyed “What the heck are you doing?” kind of a way. From his point of view, some crazy woman drives in to the back of him and then waves her arms and looks annoyed at him. In that mirror I saw genuine fear in his eyes, and he just sped off through the red light! I think it was the look in his eyes that made me realise it must have been me who had rolled forward, and not him who had reversed in to me. I’m very sorry Mr Car Driver, I didn’t mean to frighten you and make you go through a red light! If it’s any consolation, it did make me more careful when I was stopped at lights after that.

Have you ever inadvertenty frightened anyone? If so, this is your opportunity to publicly apologise…

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63 responses to “Boo! Did I Scare You? No?

  1. Those made me laugh. I can’t think right now if I’ve ever scared someone, but if I did, then I apologize to the General Undisclosed Nonremembered person I scared. Sometimes I scare my husband when I wear capris with socks and old dress black flats to do yardwork. The shoes aren’t work shoes at all, but they’re slip-ons and I usually just slip on whatever is near the door to go outside, and then sometimes I start to work and don’t worry about what I’m wearing on my feet. I’ve ruined many good flats this way. And my husband warns me NOT to go in the front yard where someone else may see me, becuase they he’ll be embarrassed. Scared…embarrassed..same thing, right?

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    • Yes, I sometimes scare my daughter with some of my fashion choices for around the house and out back, my daughter will say things like “Mum! What if somebody sees you?!” or “Promise me you will never go out like that?”

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  2. Hmm, not that I can remember, but like Charissa, I’ll take this opportunity to apologize to them! I think I’m far more likely to confuse people who don’t know meβ€”and maybe those who do, come to think of it. πŸ˜‰

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    • Yes, confusion and fear can sometimes go hand in hand I think!

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      • Oh definitely! My last boss with a totally different personality always looked nervous. Everyone thought it was funny. Unpredictability made her nervous…so you know what we all did….OK it was a boring place once she arrive. (We all escaped shortly)
        Funny stories ( and love the sunglasses)

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        • Ha, not good for a boss to look nervous! Thank you, I’ve had those sunglasses for about 6 years which is the longest I’ve ever owned a pair, usually I leave them somewhere. They’re a bit scratched up now, but they fit really well, it can be hard to find a pair that are neither too loose nor too tight, you know? So I can’t quite bring myself to replace them yet!

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  3. Okay, those are both great, but the second one especially had me rolling. Wow. What must you have looked like for that guy to be that afraid? He totally thought you bumped him on purpose to pick a fight or something. Classic.

    The worst fright I ever gave someone I knew was totally wicked, but I just couldn’t help myself. In college I lived in a house with several other girls. I was in one girl’s room, looking for something in her closet. It was the sort of closet where it opened to one bedroom on one side, and to a different bedroom on the other side but not directly across from each other but on the other end of the closet. (Can you picture that?) A girl in the adjoining bedroom opened her side and was looking at her clothes while talking with her roommate. I realized that she didn’t see me on the other side, so I got devious. I crept down onto my belly, slithered over to her end and quickly clutched my cold hand around her ankle.
    I’ve never heard anyone scream so loud. I ran to the other room to see her curled up next to her roommate on her roommate’s bed. I immediately apologized profusely and explained that it was just too good of an opportunity to pass up. I felt bad… but not too bad. She said, “That’s okay,” weakly as she struggled to regain a normal breathing pattern, still looking warily at the closet door. She probably never went in there again.

    I wish I could say I regretted it!

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    • Haha, that’s a funny one! I can see the temptation to do something like that. I can imagine how she felt too. I once had an experience where I woke up early when it was still dark, and I was putting on my robe as I walked towards the light switch, I somehow got my arm caught in the robe cord, but didn’t realise, and as I reached up to the light switch, it kind of tugged on my wrist, and felt like somebody had grabbed my wrist! I’m not sure if I’ve explained that well, but you probably get the idea! That moment when your heart drops into your stomach is awful!

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  4. You need to start bringing some of your sweet treats with you. That way, when you frighten someone, you can offer them a yummy to console them. Or you could always show them your uvula…

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  5. I’m certain I have frightened many people. I hope Tourist Lady and Mr. Car Driver received your apology. I’m sure they will get it in the form of some good karma. That pesky automatic…it’s not your fault!

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  6. Haha! I especially love the story of the German tourist’s terror! It reminds me of a time (okay, several times, but one time in particular)…

    I was out for dinner with my Dad, who was visiting, and my wife. Our meal had been very tasty and we’d all polished off our plates. Unusually, the restaurant was empty (it was midweek), so there wasn’t much background noise. The waitress came over to collect our plates and asked if everything had been alright, to which my Dad bellowed “It was terrible!”, indicating with a nod to our empty plates, “As you can see, we didn’t like it at all!”

    It was midweek. It had been a slow night. The waitress was half asleep. I’ll never forget the look of confused terror that crossed her face, followed by indignation, and eventually by realisation, and then embarrassment (probably some of which was embarrassment at having been indignant).

    My Dad’s done this for as long as I can remember, but it’s never been quite so effective!

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    • Ha! That’s funny! I often find that waiting staff don’t straight away catch on to jokes – I’m not suggesting that they’re not intelligent enough to, I just think they have to deal with so much crap from customers that they have to zone out a bit to cope sometimes!

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  7. I would like to apologise to every one whom I might have frightened with my loud talking… you see I’m quite deaf and tend to talk loud when there is noise around… and with a face like mine I might seem frightening… so to all that I might have frightened I’m sorry..but my Mom made me like this…
    As for the photo of you laughing… I love it, I immediately started to laugh myself… but then having played golf with you, I know what a spontaneous laugh-er you are .. specially at my bad shots…

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  8. I’m sure I have, but I can’t recall any .. .but I like to make things up and pull the chain of the unknowing. Thanks for the grins!

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    • Thank you, if you think of any examples, do pop back and share them!

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      • Well … This past weekend I was distributing bags at a art fair. If someone asked “Are they free?” I may return with “Only for those who grab it” or “Free if you can answer this question.” ….. or “Free with a green ticket” (to a lady I just watch fumbling to find her green admission ticket) … I stopped a gentleman leaving and mentioned because his bag was less than half full, he had to go to the park office (I was pointing) to get a form, to which he would have to complete, then take to the event office for a signature in order to receive clearance to leave the park.

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  9. The Unbearable Banishment

    Why are you apologizing?! You gave that German tourist the best story of her vacation and confirmed all of her prejudices and preconceived notions about the UK, to boot. Well done!

    Ditto the prejudices and preconceived notions of women drivers. You’re two for two.

    I lived in Manhattan for many years and still work here. On many occasionsβ€”too manyβ€”I have inadvertently given a wayward tourist the wrong directions. I’m not malicious, just not very reliable. I’ve sent all manner of Asian, South American and European tourists off into the dark corners of the city without meaning to. I’M SO BLOODY SORRY.

    How cathartic. I feel better already.

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    • So really I should be apologising for confirming people’s prejudices and preconceived notions, rather than for scaring them. Ok, I apologise for that too.

      I’ve probably inadvertently given people wrong directions too.

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      • Christ, what a bunch of namby-pamby apologists we turned out to be. No teeth at all.

        You’re just saying you gave wrong directions to make me feel better and stop beating myself up. Well, it won’t work. This is how I’ll spend my day. I know me. This is how I roll.

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  10. My Dad lost half an index finger in an accident about 15 years ago. One day we were in a hardware store looking to buy some fly screen for a back door. We found the roll and started pulling out about 8 feet of fly-wire when an assistant came up and asked if we wanted some help. Dad winked at me and said “Sure, if I hold this fly wire taut can you cut it?”, “No problem” said the guy who started cutting away. When he snipped the end where Dad held the fly wire with a thumb and 3.5 fingers, Dad yells and said “You cut off my finger!”. The bloodless stump was enough to make the guy turn ghostly white and drop his jaw. I’m guessing his heart missed a few beats, too!
    Hmm. Not so much inadvertent as deliberate. Spontaneous but deliberate. We did apologise at the time and he gave kudos for a good gag!

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  11. They’re funny Vanessa, I have on occasion been known to give out a hysterical scream when I’m laughing that can make people jump. Once at the theatre, an old man on stage dressed as a fairy in a tutu was singing ‘nobody loves a fairy when she’s forty’ I did one of my screams, and he spent the rest of the evening glaring at me, that was even funnier.

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  12. Oh dear, I smiled during both of your apologies. Yes, those of us who are practical jokers, or just plain jokesters, love a good little laugh. And appreciate a funny scene (even if it’s not funny to half the participants there). I’m afraid I must have your sense of humor to. Ha Ha. Thanks for the fun honest post.

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  13. Tourist Lady doesn’t sound as scared as the Car Driver. I laughed out loud when I read about him.
    My most recent scare happened when my granddaughter (9) came downstairs unannounced to ask me something. She was very cool about the whole thing, considering her age. I was caught in my housecoat, no eyebrows painted on, and scared hair standing at attention.

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    • No indeed, Tourist Lady only had a moment of worry before she realised, poor Car Driver guy never did find out that I wasn’t a crazy lady!

      I’m sure you managed to pull of your housecoat, no eyebrow, hair standing up look perfectly well!

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  14. I love this post Vanessa! Seriously the things you were saying were definitely things I would do too. B

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  15. These are a couple of great stories, Vanessa. I think I’d be scared for a moment, if I’d been that German lady, too…except then I’d be really excited, thinking of all those yummy, sugary recipes you mention on your other blog. πŸ˜‰

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  16. Great stories. I think there is a book in both of them. Why did he drive off so quickly? Body in the boot? You could dictate the books to Helga. Keep her busy πŸ˜‰

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  17. Oh, Vanessa, you make the world a funnier place! πŸ™‚ I apologize to every driver I’ve ever scared while being their passenger and making some kind of high-pitched sound while sucking in my last breath because I saw something that I thought was going to kill us like a squirrel maybe going to cross the road or a bird flying too low. I startle easily and that seems to wear on a driver’s nerves. I’m sorry.

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    • Right back at ya! (The making the world a funnier place bit). I do that when I’m a passenger too, in fact I’d much rather be the driver because I’m always a very nervous passenger! I startle easily too, it’s because we’re highly sensitive souls isn’t it.

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  18. These are so funny! I can’t remember actually scaring anyone in this way, except when my brothers and I were kids – but then we did it on purpose πŸ˜‰

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  19. I was wracking my brain on this one. I’m sure I’ve inadvertently frightened someone, but I can’t remember the circumstances.

    Now, stories where I *deliberately* frighten someone? Oh, I got PLENTY of those.

    Ahem. But perhaps I’ve said too much.

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  20. I can’t think of any off the top of my head but I do recall a time when someone inadvertently frightened me. Now, on second thought…he was frightened too.

    I was driving through an unfamiliar neighborhood trying to get to the main thoroughfare which I knew was parallel to the street I was on. Unfortunately the streets zig-zagged throwing off my sense of direction. There was a car behind me which seemed to take every turn I was taking and after six or seven turns I began to get worried but continued trying to find my way out. Then on the next turn, the road ended suddenly and I found myself boxed in. The other car pulled up alongside me and I cranked my window down and yelled at him very hostilely, “What do you want?”

    He flinched and replied, “Do you know how to get to _________ street?”

    I was simultaneously relieved that he wasn’t a predator and embarrassed that I had reacted so harshly. I was also embarrassed that the street he was trying to find was the very same one that I was looking for and we had basically been driving around in circles for the past twenty minutes..

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  21. Oh, haha! that is a classic Darla move. Not realizing you rolled into him and then, putting the icing on the cake by waving your arms and looking annoyed at him?

    I didn’t mention the other fender-benders I’ve had in my post, but once I was in two lanes, both turning right lanes at a light and this woman crashed into the side of my car (making a little dent in the door) and kept going! the nerve of her! What, she didn’t SEE me? Then I realized, I wasn’t in a turning lane at all, but the lane for driving straight-thru. And I had drifted into HER lane. Oops. Oh, and I also hit a moose with my tiny clown car once (that is a whole other post)

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    • Haha! Once I was on the freeway in the States, and there was something that caused the traffic to slow down quite sharply, I pressed hard on the brake, but a bottle of water fell out of my bag and rolled under the brake peddle so that I couldn’t push it down far enough to stop me running into the back of the van in front! He didn’t stop though, he just kept going, but it was all stop and start, and I felt really embarrassed because people in other cars were looking at me and I couldn’t get away! But if you want to talk about a real classic, I again link you to one of my previous posts, from last October – you don’t even have to read the post, just have a look at the photo I put there of a sign that I ran into and knocked over, and read what it says on the sign, even the police were laughing – https://vanessa-chapman.com/2012/10/16/a-list-of-silly-things-ive-done-provided-here-for-your-amusement/

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  22. You must be a lot of fun to hang out with, Vanessa. I wish I could have seen the expression on the German lady’s face. I had a similar experience once where I told someone something and then said “But now that I’ve told you, I’ll have to kill you,” and she visibly paled and looked very disturbed. I would NEVER have imagined that someone might actually take that line seriously. I felt bad, because she obviously just didn’t have that kind of sense of humor.

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  23. Hmm, nope, can’t think of any off the top of my head. But might as well do the big ol’ apology to anyone out there I may have frightened accidentally. Or on purpose–I know I’ve done plenty of those!

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