Target is the New IKEA

In Which I Make a Complete Ass of Myself, Part Four Million and Twelve

Oh my GOD. People. Keep me away from other people, okay?

Last night Jason and I went out for dinner, alone. Gloriously alone. And it was glorious.

Afterward we decided to have a glass of wine at the restaurant's bar before hailing a cab home, home where our dog had most likely taken a dump somewhere and our baby was just waiting to wake up at the sound of the front door opening and scream bloody protestations at being left with a babysitter and also where the damn cat was, the damn cat whom I am no longer speaking to after I realized that he chewed off all the straps on all the sundresses in my highly scientific dry-cleaning pile.

There were exactly two empty seats at the bar, and I pressed towards them with singular determination and purpose.

I turned around and realized that Jason was shaking hands with someone back near the entrance of the bar. I huffed back over, while thinking nasty impatient thoughts (we could lose those seats! I could have to STAND UP while drinking! what the hell!).

The guy Jason was talking to seemed to know who I was. "Hi!" he said brightly, "I'm Tom!"

Amy: blankstare

I smiled over-biggly and probably showed too much of my gums and shook his hand, while waiting for Jason to provide some context. Work? Blog? Work? Hmm?

Tom of Mystery: Congratulations, by the way!

Amy: blankstare

Tom of Mystery: Congratulations on...the...baby?

Amy: Oh! Right! Him. Yes.

Tom of Mystery: glances around at our babyless state in alarm, probably wondering if I always need to be reminded that I had a child at all and whether I had perhaps left him with the restroom attendant

I muttered something about having a babysitter and possibly a joke about the whole baby thing being so last year, and then frantically eyed those empty seats at the bar and telepathically begged Jason to LET ME KNOW WHO THIS PERSON IS OR RELEASE ME BACK TO THE ALCOHOL. They kept talking while I was suddenly overcome with the sensation of having something in my teeth.

Finally something in their conversation triggered a flash of recognition. Something about...food. Something about getting lunch one time last summer. Something about the hushed, conspiratorial way he'd said his name. Toooom.

"Holy shit." I suddenly blurted out of nowhere. "You're Tom Sietse..."

I stopped there, thanks to the burning glares of glarey death I was now getting from both of them.

Y'all. I almost publicly outed the head food critic for the Washington Post

Then I told him I was a "big fan, man. A really big fan." I think I shook his hand again.

I went into my own patented oh-my-God-I-want-him-to-think-I-am-cool-hyperoverdrive mode, and pretty much hijacked the entire conversation, pointing out that we had the babysitter because it was our first time at this particular restaurant and we NEVER take the baby the first time because you just never know if it would be appropriate, you know? and we are so not THOSE PEOPLE who drag their baby everywhere because they assume everyone loves their baby although OMG, do you want to see pictures? I have pictures, also am I talking too loud? Am I talking too much? What?

Pretty much the only redeeming aspect of the entire encounter was that since I hadn't been able to order a glass of wine, I didn't spill anything on his nice jacket.

One day, I want to be graceful. I want to smile without baring all my teeth. I want to stay calm and reserved throughout entire conversations and not bounce around like a hyperactive second grader. I want to have a nice laugh instead of a cackle that requires my jaw to unhinge from my face. I want to not interrupt anyone ever again simply because I'm in such a rush to agree with them. I want to control my hand movements and not spill or knock things over.  I want to drink a martini while standing up.

But mostly, I want to just not be such a total fucking spazz all the time.


Is probably a lost cause, no?



I'd take your version of spaz over my version of cool (much, much more spastic) any damn day.

Did you get the seats?


I stick my foot in my mouth all the damn time. I probably would have found a way to spill something on his nice jacket.


But DID YOU GET THE BAR SEATS?!! You left us hanging on that, man!

Bozoette Mary

AGHHH! But Amy, the operative word is "almost"! You didn't out Tom Sietsema! But you DID succeed in making me so so jealous. Wow. Tom Sietsema! Now... tell me where you were. Or will Jason in the foodies blog?? Hmm. I will go check.


Oh, I HATE when the Spouse doesn't introduce me properly. I tend to lump everyone together, and I have gotten to the point where, at the ripe old age of 25, I've started confusing everyone and get frustrated when my high school friends don't remember, like, my college friends. I need help.

Anyway. I, too, would love to not be a spaz, either, and believe you me, it's a long process. Especially when you are introduced to someone in a context where you don't expect to be introduced to someone - like when you and Jason are out on "date night." For myself, when I am caught unawares, I tend to be a bit of a spaz. It's rather like practicing basketball all your life, then being thrown into a tennis match.

just a girl

yep, ditto. Especially when I drink. That filter that everyone else seems to have while drinking is non existant for me and I seem to blurt whatever comes to mind, however inappropriate. Which it nearly always is... God,I am good.


oh that's okay, i've perfected being socially awkward and think it is a talent!


Woah, that's some crazy ass perspective on that picture there! Anyway, I love spazzes... I find them highly entertaining and much less frightening than people who are calm, cool and collected. You have to be a little bit insane to be so calm all the time, don't you??


Yes! We got the seats. Which was awesome, because CLEARLY, I needed more wine. CLEARLY.


I think if you flash your boobs at people they will totally not notice any of the spazzie things. I will try it and let you know if it works ;-)


Is it just me, or does that photo scream "New masthead! New masthead!"?


OMG----at least you were able to interpret the glary rays of death and didn't keep going, which is what I would have done, I tend to be completely oblivious to my husband's helpful "you might want to shut up now hints"

So was Tom what you expected?


"I want to have a nice laugh instead of a cackle that requires my jaw to unhinge from my face."

HEE. (Love the photo. Love. It.)

I can guarantEE you I am more of a social spaz than you are. Add alcohol, and I start knocking into things and being way too loud and starting inappropriate conversations.

Also, I faint in public. Much worse.

Plus, spazziness = charm when a woman is all cute like you are. And without that you'd have much fewer hilarious stories like this to share with the rest of us.


I'm a Tom groupie!!!!!And, am AMALAH groupie!!!!!And you too met!!!!I am so jealous.


Nice cleavage for AA cup size! I think you could've embarrased yourself more by doing that move and asking Tom if he'd rate your breastmilk, so see, in perspective, you're really not that much of a spaz!


I CAN"T wait to read his chat next week. Do you think he will say anything? What a riot.

I just have to share that my son (just turned two) daycare is closed all next week for staff training and I am taking the whole week off with him! I can actually save my Costco trip for a weekday.

Oh and our big plans for the week? I am going to my first concert in years. Drumroll please... the "F-ING" Wiggles. It is mildly concerning that I am excited to see them live.

Anne Glamore

We had an episode like that last weekend-- Bill said-- "And here's Anne!" and Mystery Man pumped my hand and told me how great it was to see me and I kept looking from him to Bill, wondering, wondering, but no name was forthcoming, so finally, I just said, in a manner tres uncool, "I don't know your name. Who are you?"

Turns out we went to law school together. Bill didn't know his name either. I don't know why the guy thought he was so unforgettable. Sheesh.

I DO hope you got to sit.


Ooh, Tom Sietsema! you must have been at some very good place then.

But I kind of like Tom of Mystery. I think that's how I will refer to him now. Maybe he should use that as his pseudonym. You know, reservation for Tom Ofmystery, table for one.

Am I talking too loud? What?

Exiled To Canada

I didn't even have to read fiurther to know who Tom was, I knew as soon as I read his name. I frequently find myself having to introduce myself to whomever my spouse is speaking. It always puts me in an awkward position because I am terrible with names and can never remember if I've met her colleagues before. But seriously, you know what he looks like! That is some very priviledged info.! Am very jealous!

Heather B.

Another reason not to have offspring: I can come home drunk in peace.

Also I must say that I love hearing your stories in person, but for some reason, reading them here makes them even awesomer (Is that even a fucking word?)


"Then I told him I was a "big fan, man. A really big fan." I think I shook his hand again."

I originally read that as 'I told him he was a big, fat man.'

Definitely not the way to win over the food critic!


I think we all feel like that from time to time. I know I do. Glad to hear you got the seats, because, yes, after that? I think anyone would need another glass of wine.


Love it. Don't ever change.

heather b

if you weren't a spaz, you wouldn't be funny.

i tried to be cool this one time and then i fell out of my chair, and that was WAY cooler than the actual "being cool".


I want those things, too. But I have learned to accept that some women are Grace Kelly and I am Chris Farley. Without the charm.



I say, embrace your inner spaz. Most loveable people are spazzish. :)

Y from the internet

What are you talking about? You're so totally graceful and stuff!


Personally, I would no longer speak to Max either. Obviously Max and Ceiba are in cahoots to have you naked and barefoot.


You're the cutest spaz in the world. Graceful is overrated.


as an ex-DCer and long-time fan of both amalah and tom sietsema, i must de-lurk to say that. was. freaking. hilarious. i probably would have totally forgotten that about the whole "he must stay incognito" thing too. or maybe i would have shown unusual restraint and expressed my excitement by texting/emailing everyone i know (which is what i did when i saw lance armstrong and jake gyllenhaal eating at the table next to mine in a restaurant... who knew that moving to texas would result in such celebrity encounters?!)



I would have done the same damn thing! My nickname is "Grace"--becaue I have none. Haha! Isn't that fantastic? My friend's dad gave me the name back in elementary school and it stuck--I have lived up to it well! I'll bet you were still totally charming! Yay for getting the seats for more wine.

Heading off to foodies to see where you went...


OH MY GOSH! By the way, what was it like when you got home??? Did the cat eat the dog? Did the babysitter eat the baby etc......


oh yeah, cause i look totally composed right there behind you! WTF?!?! lol.. it's cute. you're cute. and loveable.. and it's these things that make you just moreso!


I'm with you on the spaz thing... I do not do well with meeting new people AT ALL. I will say, though, that I figured out who "Tom" was right from the first introduction there... but then again, I wasn't in the middle of actually being introduced to someone new in person, in which case I would have been too distracted to even catch their name b/c I'd be too worried about the fact I was about to choke to death on my own tongue.

Also, I probably wouldn't have stopped myself from blurting his name out and would have just butchered the pronunciation of his last name instead, making an even worse impression.


Good lord do I know that feeling... I wish I wasn't such an interrupter, spaz and all that in social situations. To boot, I'm about to have my first girls night out (since baby) with a huge group of lady bloggers that I haven't all met in person yet and I'm afraid that I'm gonna hijack the conversations and make an ass of myself. I hear you! But I'm also glad to read that you got the seats at the bar. Made me feel relief for you.


So I assume that the south beach diet is all over with now? What with the drinking of the alcohol. And the accosting of a good critic.

It did not occur to me that you had to keep the guy's name on the down low. I do not live in a place where food gets critiqued. If you've been to one Arby's you've been to them all.


You crack me up! :)


OMG, Toooooommmm. He totally would have been impressed with you, had you torn off your shirt and created some cleavage, you know?

It may have even been a highlight in his next review.


Maybe you can take anti-spaz lessons?



Thank God! Because you're loved just the way you are. Um, except for that stuff in your teeth.


But Amy, I'm sure you're so much more fun when you spaz out like the rest of us!

Mrs. CPA

Unless you get mentioned in the review for you spazzatude, I think you're probably safe.

And I am all too familiar with the big gum smile, and I hate, hate, hate it.


Obviously, if you had taken Jennster with you, you would have been completely graceful and composed! And possibly flashed your cleavage ar Tom :)


For some of us, YOU are the celebrity who would make us all knock-kneed and googly-eyed.

My wife and I went to the DC Taste of the Nation event a few months ago, and wondered aloud, with excited breaths, "Do you think Amy and Jason will be there? Do ya? Do ya? What about Noah? [pant pant pant pant]" And we didn't see you, and we were all disappointed. Not that you would have had any clue who we are. We might have had the courage to say hi though. Then we would have giggled and run away.


did you learn that pose from me? have we been drinking together? i wouldn't remember becuase...i was drinking.


But you are the spaz queen who shows up and everyone is like "There's Amalah, isn't she cute and wonderful!" while I am the Dunce of Spazzitude, thus these explanations on my blogher red stapler pictures. I was a total Spaz ass to both Tracey and Heather and if they don't push me in the pool next year I will be surprised:




I don't know, Amalah. Anyone can do graceful. But what you bring is so much more fun. That picure! I totally agree with Frema. Masthead!


I love that story. Way to flash the cleave. :)


Whatever. In high school, I would get all spazzy meeting the LOCAL NEWS ANCHOR. How lame is THAT?

And when I had some important colonel in the Army? And some Senator? come visit the building where I was a receptionist? Total Spazz Mode.

I think I would implode with glee if I ever met anyone famous.


LOL! Those burny-fiery gazes of death sounded pretty intense. Intense, but funny.

I'm a spazz too when I go into new people mode. Except I'm the quiet stalkerish spazz, rather than the out-there one.

Glad you enjoyed the dinner though!



As soon as you figure out how to not be a spaz in any particular situation, print up some sort of policy/procedure manual. I would buy it and live by its words.


Right there with you on the spazzy thing, except much less cute and bordering on bitchy. I met John Goodman (huge fan of his) when I was working at a bookstore in New Orleans. He came in to shop for his kid. And I? Did everything in my power to ignore him and pretend he was no one special. Probably the worst service he'd ever had. When inside I was running in circles, jumping all over him trying to lick his face- I mean if I was my dog... Good strategy right, ignore the customer? yeah...


Here I was thinking it was "Tom," of the famed MySpace, Tom. You know, everybody's friend? Didn't cross my mind that it might be a famous food critic... but then I live in a place where food critics aren't famed. So, there you go.


No. I mean, Yes.

I mean, maybe it's better to be lively than to be perfect and boring.

And you're so lively! Good job!


Hilarious, but absolutely I could have done, too! See, I'd know who Tom was, but DH would have been the one to out him.

So, it sounds like you were at a tres cool and wonderful restaurant, then. The perks of having a hubby who's a foodie!

the bee

Just one thing. Was he fat ? I picture him that way due to all the yummy food tasting.


Don't ever stop being a spaz. It's one of your most endearing qualities.
Plus, it keeps you young. Trust me.


Amalah, I love you and I like to pretend that one day if I were to meet you, you would spazz out on me and it would be the best day!


Oh, how I laughed at the bouncing! Dear friend of SO has delightful daughter. 3 year old delight had engaged him in serious conversation but was so excited that she bounced in place while she spoke. He was entranced.
Once I am embarrassed I landslide and cannot recover because if I soldier on I can make it more and more horrible till I long to self combust.

Katie Kat

OMG Amy... I swear you are my long lost sister of spaziness. I read your accounts such as this one and just laugh my ass off because that is so ME! Although, for the most part, I have embraced my spaziness (I call myself a goofball or a fruity nut bar) and that makes it a little better.

I like to think of it as endearing. PLEASE move to my town and be my best friend. No, really... do it for the sake of FAMILY! :)


Ah, behaving all serene and lady-like is a skill I'll never master, either. I'm sure he was charmed by you.

I know I am.


Don’t feel bad, I am a complete and utter spazz also. My husband has learned to give me a helmet when I drink.

Pioneer Woman

My whole blog is filled with Humiliation Chronicles. I'll start coming here more to feel better about myself.


I'm so excited that you met Tom! I've always wondered what he looks like. You snapped a picture with your camera phone, right??


Judging from your post and the amount of replies, I have lots of company in spaz-land! I have no idea who this Tom is, but I probably would have spazzed out too. Come to think of it, I spaz out with anyone - maybe that's why we moved to the middle of nowhere? Cows tend not to stand on etiquette.

Wow suddenly I suspect my husband of having an ulterior motive for moving here...


I really think people consider this spasticness charming... and... endearing.

I tell myself that often.

I think only politician's wives smile without using all their teeth (because, you know, they're not smiling out of happiness). Real smiles show teeth! Um, hopefully dim lighting obscures any food stuck in there.

Her Bad Mother

One of the reasons that I fear meeting Internet people in real life is that I'm a pretty composed writer but a total freak-show in person, veering unpredictably between painfully shy and disgustingly over bearing and sometimes? Lewd.

And, um, pasties.

(But, hey! Nice tits!)


If you're gonna keep hanging out with Jennster, then yeah - probably a lost cause.

(I'm just kidding both of you whores!)

(Really - kidding. About the whore thing too. Term of endearment, y'know?)

See? My utter lack of social graces ought to have you feeling much better already!


I'm over from Lena's.
I'm a cackler too. And a nervous hand talker.


My daughter was doing cartwheels over Jack Kemp one Saturday afternoon on the soccer field and I let her because my husband told me he thought Jack was "a deacon from church." Holy crap. He was sweet about it because of his own tribe of grandchildren but that was the last time I let my husband do the thinking for the both of us.


mehhh. being socially skilled is HIGHLY overrated.

I'm socially inept as I wanna be.


Listen, if you can handle Andrew freakin' Shue, you can handle Tom S. I am sure you bowled him over with your cleverness. Or at least your cleavageness.


Gracefulness is highly overrated. You, on the other hand, are a fabulous sport, which will always make people love you.

But, as long as you're putting your foot in your mouth, make sure your pedicure is fresh ;)


One day I want to go to a fancy eaterie without the kid and have the potential to spill wine on a famous food critic...so see, you're already ahead of me.

Also? You're blog is giving me a complex. I know I don't comment ALL THE TIME but I do comment and when I do I click the "remember me because I am special" checkbox but when I come back? Nothing.

Sigh...I feel very unspecial.


Your version of spaz makes us all feel okay with being our own version of spaz. :) Thanks!

I Think You Should

Considering that it was Tom's weekly chat which led me to discover DCFoodies which led me to discover you which led me to discover the entire blogosphere, I can guaranty that I would have spontaneously combusted.


Jenny, you need to accept cookies for my blog to remember you -- and also to eat some cookies, because, well. We ALL need to eat some cookies, I think.


If you figure out where to find all those things listed in the last paragraph, could you please let us know? I too am in search of said things. I would also like to include "I want to walk through a door, not into the doorframe, when Important People are in the same room."


Amalah, you're awesome. Being graceful and appropriate is sooooo boring. Thank God for being spazes. (I also have the cackle)


HAHAHA! Oh holy shit, were we separated at birth? I do something similar: we'll be having a conversation and say, a name of a band, will be on the tip of my tongue. About 15 minutes later we'll be in the middle of a completely different conversation (say, about politics or something) when I'll suddenly blurt out "Krokus!"

Silly Hily

Spaz Amalah=fabulous


I think you're totally adorable!


I love that you do things like I do! I feel like such an ass sometimes!


And here I thought I was the only one who had a cat with a strap fetish... oh, the painful passing-of-the-ill-digested-strap stories I could share. But won't. WON'T. Some things are better left not described in gross detail.

And I do the spastic nervous reaction thing, too. I call it my 'emotional regurgitation'. Long story short, it's mortifying and self-perpetuating. I feel your pain.

Occidental Girl

Spaz, schmazz. Being calm and cool is so overrated.

Besides, how boring would that entry be? We went to dinner...I was cool and calm...blah.

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