Monday, August 15, 2005

Scary - who me?

I'm trying to work out where my reputation as a scary bad-ass South African chick comes from. My good friend Undr was kind enough to devote an entire blog posting to my question about romance, but for some reason he appeared to be under the impression that if he didn't answer my question I'd hunt him down and inflict grievous bodily harm on him. (The words "ballistic" and "South African Irish beating" were used).

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not offended - in fact I laughed my ass off at his post!
But it got me wondering what I might have said or done (although technically he doesn't know me from Eve & we've never actually met) to have given him this idea about me.
'Cos you see, he's not the only one - I have gained this reputation at work, too.

Which I find very strange, because in fact I can't stand confrontation. I avoid it at all costs. I'm always the one to hold my tongue in order to keep the peace.
Except maybe when I have PMS and then these bitch-slap comments just hurtle out of my mouth with the speed of light, completely bypassing the censorship lobe in my brain. But that's only like, a couple of days a month..!?!

Most of the time I'm quite timid, standing politely quietly waiting for people to finish conversations & phone calls before interrupting, and smiling shyly at people when they greet me. And yet somehow I've earned a reputation as One To Be Afraid Of.
I was talking to a colleague about work the other day and someone wanted to catch his attention for an urgent problem. I jokingly said something to the effect of, "Go away, I have his attention now," but instead of getting a chuckle and a witty response, the person in question fled!
I'm starting to become a little paranoid because that's not the first time I've come across this sort of behaviour.

In fairness, the people who know me a little better know not to take anything I say too seriously so that's not the problem at all. And I must admit I find it quite amusing to see people afraid of li'l ol' me.

Perhaps this phenomenon is linked to another characteristic of mine: I have an extremely expressive face. I give new meaning to the term, "Wearing your heart on your sleeve". Sadly for me, I only discovered this about myself the day I first watched my wedding video, and then it was a case of, "OMG! You can see EXACTLY what is going through my mind ALL the TIME!!"
On the plus side, at least hubby can't have been in any doubt about who he was marrying! But this has landed me in all sorts of embarrassing situations. For example, at work, when someone is talking to me and all I can think of is, "What an idiot!" ... Can they see this in my expression? Because if so, maybe that explains my reputation.
I also have a really effective "Drop dead" look, which I fear occasionally has be known cross my face before I've had a chance to compose myself with a neutral expression.
The whole thing is mildly disturbing but I'm not too concerned because the people who count - the people I've allowed to get to know me of - know me well enough to just accept this about me. Because although I can become VERY irate extremely quickly, it normally passes just as quickly, and it is now commonly accepted that when I blow off steam, I do it a little more flambouyantly than most people do. So mostly they just ignore it which suits us all just fine.

Or maybe the reason I have this reputation is photo's like this one, which was taken on our holiday in SA earlier this year.

Yes, it's me having fun with a black powder rifle for the first time. I showed it to a select few friends at work and I suspect the legend grew from there. ("Watch that mad South African bird - she knows how to handle a gun!")

Newsflash, people: Just cos I know how to shoot (and am able to do it pretty well, too, I might add) it doesn't mean I am an aggressive person and I probably won't exercise my skills by taking pot-shots at you just cos you asked me a stupid question. (Unless I have PMS and am low on chocolate at the time but even then, it would have to be a really stupid question!)

Ah, I think I have just had an epiphany... perhaps it is comments like the one above that have earned me my scary reputation..?


kyknoord said...

To quote Burns: "Would that God the giftie gie us / Tae see oursel's as others see us.

ChittyChittyBangBang! said...

I think South Africans are generally seen by the outside world as being somewhat aggressive and arrogant. We are in fact timid, shy and polite, but growing up with the harsh realities of life in Africa does tend to make us "no-nonsense" individuals.

Terri said...

KN: I presume that's not Mr Burns from The Simpsons?

Chitty: My years here have taught me this is very true. Although the 'polite' label sticks too... Irish women all want to marry SA men cos they have such good manners!

LiVEwiRe said...

Watch that mad South African bird...geez, if I could get a tag like that I'd be thrilled! =)

It's interesting because I really can identify with what you are saying. I am such a silly, fun-loving person but there are times that I just snap. And I do make comments, uh ok... 'threats' if you must. But typically it is in just a dark humor sort of way. Unfortunately there are those fools that have pushed me and that have seen me go into demon-mode and have lived to tell. They have told the tale to countless others.
Most people know me for being rather silly and outspoken yet you can sense the tension in the air when things get a bit questionable.

I think it has something to do with being female, too. They always (no matter what) blame it on PMS but then when they see pictures of us (ok, you specifically) with guns, it must scare the hell out of them! =)

And if you do find any stray SA men, feel free to send them my way. the few I've had the pleasure of meeting/talking with have left a rather positive impression. Please poke holes in the box prior to shipment...

Terri said...

LiVEwiRe I just love the terms you come up with... demon-mode says it all! And there are a surprising amount of people out there who don't understand dark humour. From what I've read on your posts I'm sure there must be a tag attached to you similar to my "mad South African bird" one - they're probably just too scared to tell you what it is for fear of reprisal ;-)

Underachiever said...

Dear Terri:
I really had no idea people saw you this way. It's funny, because I was just saying those things to get a laugh. I always pegged you for a sensitive, caring and funny person. That is, until I saw you with the black powder rifle. Yikes!!!! Get the woman some chocolate!!! Pronto!!!!

Love ya,
Undr(Please don't shoot me.)

beadinggalinMS said...

Being a crabby Bitch is part of my charm when I am out of chocolate and have PMS other than them 2-3 days, I am a quiet, sensitive person. Thanks for the comment on my blog. Yep you gotta love Rob Thomas in them tight black pants dancing...mmmmm just doing a lil day dreaming :)
Have a good day, Linda

DelBoy said...

You, bitchy? Never! ;-D-

It's definitely the South African tag that does it. But I think it may also have to do with the 'silent but violent' ideas that some people have.

You know me fairly well (OK, so we haven't seen each other in a while), and I'm fairly harmless. (I'm a Pisces after all). But my staff and customers are scared shitless of me! Why? 'Cos I'm quiet and they don't know how I'm going to react if they step out of line.

Anyway, it's nice to know that people 'respect' you and you can always use it to your advantage.

Terri said...

Undr yep that's me - sensitive, caring and occasionally psycho ;-)
U might wanna pass a pinch of salt along with the chocolate!

beadinggalinMS mmmm Rob Thomas...mmmmm...

Del: 'Silent but violent' eh? Sounds like flatulence, hehe!
But Ja, nothing wrong with keeping people on their toes ;-)

kyknoord said...

Bloody spamments! I see they got you, too.

Terri said...

Yep - if they'd bothered to actually read the post I would've thought the picture would've put them off a bit :-)

Terri said...

There, spamments all gone now. I know it's easier to leave them there but the obsessive-compulsive in me wants them GONE.

Lori said...

Hi Terri, I am beadinggalinms twin sister lorinflorida. I have the same reputation except it is not with my co-workers it's the whole neighborhood that is scared of me cause of one little incident with a plastic chair.

BUDDESS said...

That is how I remember Terri. She is quite mean around a pool table too!!!!

Terri said...

Hi lorinflorida, glad u dropped in. U gonna have to tell me about that plastic chair incident sometime.

BUDDESS!!!!! So good to see you online!!! Everyone, this is one of my friends from my big bad biker days in PE!!

BUDDESS said...

Well, fortunately or unfortunately, I am battling to find some evidence of Terri being the "big bad biker". When I find them, I will publish them on my blog.

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