*For the sake of this post, names have been changed to protect the identity of a local Toronto fellow...
Many of you who are married or are involved in relationships might have a "buzzword" or a "secret signal" that you and your beloved share to help get you out of awkward or uncomfortable positions, or just to have as a common denominator.
My parents, for example, are represented by : "Okay, Mrs. Lilli..." That's my father's cue to my mother for them to take their leave wherever they are. I guess it's worked for 50 years!
As for my husband and I? Our buzzword is "TROTSKY?"* I will tell you the origins of that word, and let you understand when and how we use it.
Back in January 1994, about 6 weeks after we married, my husband and I took our honeymoon in St. Martin in the Dutch Caribbean. It is a jewel of an island that is half-Dutch, half-French, and small enough to drive across in a couple of short hours.
We would spend the day at the pool and beach or sightseeing, and the evenings at the casinos and walking through town, on the Dutch side, where there was a more vibrant night life.
One night, we were in the center of town when I heard my name being called. I turned around to find, Barry Trotsky*, an acquaintance from Toronto, who, although a couple years younger than me, shared some mutual friends with me. I hadn't seen him in a few years, and so we briefly caught up. Of course, I introduced him to my new husband, and he introduced me to his friend with whom he was traveling.
Now this guy is very friendly, rather animated, and talks a mile a minute. But he wasn't talking too fast for me to notice that he had some vegetable -- spinach or parsley -- stuck in his front teeth. It was so difficult for me to keep my eyes off that piece of green and listen attentively to his words. I couldn't understand why his traveling companion had not pointed out the obvious to his friend.
As Barry* went on and on about the fabulous dinner he and his buddy had just come from, I couldn't help but think "Yeah, and I can see some of that dinner even still."
If I'd have been closer friends with him, I wonder if I might've said something in a nice way, but as it stood, it was a rather awkward encounter all around, making small talk, catching up, and at the same time wanting to run away from the SPINACH MONSTER.
Finally we parted company, and after several steps my husband and I turned to each other and just burst out laughing and talking at once, "What's with that guy? Didn't his friend think to tell him about the green? How awkward was that!"
We deliberated if I should've said something, too, and to this day I sort of wonder about that -- 'cause the situation was and would've been somewhat awkward no matter how you sliced it.
But since that day, whenever TorontoPearl's husband and I finish a meal, and especially if we're in a public place, we turn to each other with big toothy smiles and simultaneously ask, "TROTSKY?" (ie. anything stuck in my teeth?)