“TRANSCRIPT OF AN ACTUAL CONVERSATION:” Twelve Months’ Worth of Recording the Conversations Around Me

One of my favorite usages for the Facebook status update is a little thing I often call “TRANSCRIPT OF AN ACTUAL CONVERSATION,” or more frequently “OREGON BALLET THEATRE OFFICE QUOTE OF THE DAY,” in which somebody in my immediate proximity says something hilarious and I immediately post it on Facebook, to laud or embarrass them.  Using the Facebook “Status Statistics” application, I have compiled for you lovely people a collection of the funniest things said in 2010 by my friends, coworkers, family members, fellow bus passengers, and other people in my life – with the three biggest winners being Colin, Gilberto, and Eli.  Please to enjoy.  (If you do nothing else, read June and July.)


Best office quote of the day: “No, he specifically requested that the bouquets be large, ‘like Miss America.'” — Roslyn Barnfield

Erik Jones to me re. his birthday scotch from Perry Lee: “I’m not even going to offer you any because I know you only like drinks that are neon and contain 8 pounds of sugar.”

OH at Jim and Patty’s: “Yeah, but if you sold one of your kidneys you could get a new car AND a new laptop AND pay those bills. What do you need two kidneys for?”

“EVENING AT MY HOUSE.” (A Play In One Act) JENNY: (high-pitched strange vocal warmup sounds from the other room) Singing with an M&M on your tongue is really hard. NATHAN: (scornfully) oh, is THAT what you’re doing in there? CLAIRE: oooh, we have M&Ms??? Annnnnnnd, SCENE.

Colin’s two best quotes of the night: #1) “Shark shamans are the BEST.” #2) “I was like, ‘How do you not know who Tim Curry is? Have you even SEEN Muppet Treasure Island?'”

Nathan LeRud can read me like a book. “Uh-oh. ‘West Wing’, huh? It was THAT kind of day?”

Comic highlight of tonight’s homily = FATHER RICHARD: And what kind of animals did Noah bring on his ark? TINY CHILD: Cobras!


If I was at liberty to discuss Oregon Ballet Theatre’s 2010-2011 season – WHICH I’M NOT – but if I WAS – I could tell you why Rachel’s first words upon returning to the office from the season brochure photo shoot were, “You guys, I have glitter IN MY UNDERWEAR.”

“If you’ve come to give me advice on work or love, you can come in. Otherwise I’m not interested.” — Erik Jones Quote of the Day


OFFICE QUOTE OF THE DAY. Damara: “Oh, you’re going to be in Chicago the same weekend we are! We should meet up for a cocktail!” Me: “Oh, that would be awesome.” Christopher: “Damara, you know we’re going to be in Chicago for, like, twelve hours, right?” Damara: “There is ALWAYS time for a cocktail.”

“Back then you couldn’t spell. Now you write plays. God bless America.”

Transcript of An Actual Conversation I Had Over Lunch With Erin Drew: ERIN: “I mean, it’s not like just being Catholic means you have to do everything John Ratzenberger tells you.” ME: “Well, no, because that’s the guy who played Cliff Clavin on ‘Cheers.'” ERIN: “Oh.”

ME: “Yeah! ‘Les Demoiselles d’Avignon’ can only watch you out of one side of their face!” ERIN: “What?” ME: “That joke did not work.”

“Jesus was NOT a zombie. I shouldn’t have to tell you that.”

“The Best Phone Conversation Ever”: A Play In One Act Starring Claire & Christopher Willett. CHRISTOPHER: Hey sister! ME: Hey! Quick question. Who was Optimus Prime’s nemesis? CHRISTOPHER: Megatron. ME: Sweet. Thanks! Bye! END OF PLAY.

MARCH 2010

“5 p.m. – Anti-Nazi planning meeting.” Sharing Cat Willett’s Google Calendar is always an adventure . . .

Oregon Ballet Theatre OFFICE QUOTE OF THE DAY: “When Zack was here, there was a contest between him and Erik about who was the gayest straight man. I think Zack won, even though Erik has a white couch.”

Gil Del Campo lines of the day: “I hate the name Heather. It reminds me of the exhaust on an Asian guy’s car.” “You type the way Tom Waits plays piano.”

Overheard in the Oregon Ballet Theatre office: “Okay, now say you realize you’ve misspelled ‘magic’ because it’s spelled with a J . . .”

I need to start being more careful who I say “I’ve totally gone to Star Trek Conventions!” to.

Best compliment ever: “If all the awesomeness in the world was rolled in to one location . . . you would show up on Google Maps.” (Thank you, Robert Feduccia.)

APRIL 2010

So, I was asked to preserve this person’s anonymity, but I do have to say that a certain coworker of mine overheard me, with my raspy flu voice, talking to another coworker, and the conversation went like this: ANONYMOUS: “Oh, Claire, that’s YOU? I thought that was a man talking to Laura.” ME: “Um, no, it’s me.” ANONYMOUS: I totally thought it was a man. I thought it was Steven Houser with a cold.”

“What?!?! There’s a version of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ with Colin Firth in it???” SIGH. Kids today. I swear.

Oregon Ballet Theatre Office Quote of the Day: “Everything that guy wrote sounds like a cat running across a keyboard.” ( Erik Jones on Igor Stravinsky)

Oregon Ballet Theatre Office Quote of the Day: “Don’t talk about her boots like that! That’s like calling her baby a stripper!”

MAY 2010 

TRANSCRIPT OF AN ACTUAL CONVERSATION BETWEEN DRIVING INSTRUCTOR AND CLAIRE: “What does it mean if the engine light is on while you’re driving?” “The engine is broken?” “Um, no. Then you would not be able to drive.” “Oh. Right.”

This is why I love my best friend Erin Drew: “It is one of the greatest regrets of my life that we never got to watch Tool Academy together.”

I love my brothers. When you call Colin Willett’s phone, the outgoing message is Christopher Willett saying “This is Colin, and I haven’t showered in six weeks.”

Best Willett Sister Argument Ever. THE TOPIC: Clogs. Cat is in favor, Claire is against. CLAIRE: “One of us was switched at birth.” CAT: “It was you! Mom had so many wooden clogs, clearly the non-clog genes are adopted into our family.” CLAIRE: “She didn’t WEAR them, she left them on the porch for Saint Nicholas! Those are two totally different things!” CAT: “Bahaha! It’s still pro-clog!”

Grocery shopping with Colin Willett is hilarious. He wants to make salsa, but lacks a working knowledge of produce. “That’s not an onion, that’s a head of garlic.” “Tomatillos are not a kind of pepper.” Comedy gold.

ACTUAL CONVERSATION THAT JUST HAPPENED: “What episode of ‘Next Generation’ is this?” “2nd season, maybe? It can’t be the first because Riker has a beard.” “But Worf’s hair is still short. He had the full-on ponytail by season 5.” “Hang on, there’s Lieutenant O’Brien. Okay, it has to be later – he didn’t come until like season 4, right? How many seasons were there?” “Hang on, I’ll Google it.”

JUNE 2010

Colin’s Quote of the Day: ‘Well, he’s FAIRLY Mexican . . .’

“Colin Willett: A Play In One Act.” KENDALL: She and my mom go shopping a lot because Coach is their favorite store. COLIN: (Blankly) Coach? KENDALL: Yeah, you know, like the bags. COLIN: The bags? CLAIRE: Coach bags. COLIN: Huh? CHRISTOPHER: Dude, even I know what Coach bags are. COLIN: (Puzzled silence) CHRISTOPHER: (Sighing) Colin, have you ever picked up a magazine that was not about video games?

GILBERTO QUOTE OF THE DAY: “Claire, do you like Burt Bacharach songs?” ME: “Me personally?” GILBERTO: (exasperated) “No, the NGO you represent.”

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “People really take not being murdered in their sleep for granted.” – Katy Franz

ME: “When we have a little more on paper we should show the script to my friend Pat. She’s been really helpful with my other script . . .” GILBERTO: “Wait. You have ANOTHER SCRIPT?” ME: “Two, actually.” GILBERTO: “What???” ME: “Well, I have to have something to work on when you’re not here.” GILBERTO: (shakes head sadly) “I can’t believe you’re cheating on me with another play.”

COLIN’S QUOTE OF THE DAY: ‘Claire, you’d like him. He’s just like you if you were SLIGHTLY more male.’

JULY 2010

Doug Wells is back in the office, and brought us back a ton of chocolate from his Italian vacation, which is the only thing that makes up for him starting sentences with, “I was walking in Florence and . . .”

DAD: “Um, Claire, have you ever actually cooked anything on a grill before?” ME: “No. That’s men’s work.” MY AUNT: “Oh for heaven’s sake, I’ll just do it for you.”

WAYS TO TELL THIS IS A NERD HOUSE, CHAPTER#2. The big book of New York Times crossword puzzles has been in more or less constant use all day. Colin Willett’s best line: “So the word ‘esoteric’ is, itself, esoteric?”

WAYS TO TELL THIS IS A NERD HOUSE, CHAPTER#3: (Kendall shows us her friend Deanna’s FB page.) COLIN: Her name is DEANNA TROY?! K: Yeah, why? COLIN: Does she wear blue spandex? ME: Is she very susceptible to body snatchers? COLIN: Are bearded officers in love with her? ME:Is she a huge liability on away missions? COLIN: Does she cry a lot? ME: Is she totally useless? K: I don’t know what you guys are talking about.

WAYS TO TELL THIS IS A NERD HOUSE, CHAPTER #4: CHRIS: Smores are the perfect 4th of July food. CLAIRE: It’s the 3rd. COLIN: It’s 4th of July somewhere! CHRIS: “Foursmore and seven years ago . . .” CLAIRE: “Our smorefathers brought forth upon this continent . . .” CHRIS: Let’s rewrite great American speeches to incorporate camping terms! CLAIRE: You’re on your own. “Smorefathers” was all I had. CHRIS: Crap.

WAYS TO TELL THIS IS A NERD HOUSE, CHAPTER #5: Chris and Colin are having an incredibly intense discussion right now about various RPGs. –“Then there’s one called Flash that I really want, which is like an instant teleport charm.” –“I was thinking of, next time I get enough Karma, of getting kind of a Jekyll and Hyde thing, where I could have all these different powers that only worked at night.”

Oregon Ballet Theatre Office Quote of the Day: “Claire, did you hear the news?” “What news?” “That we have a ton of potato salad.”

QUOTE OF THE DAY (courtesy of my friend Christen McCurdy): “Have I ever discussed with you my rather slender conception of an afterlife? Because whatever it is, I have a feeling our mothers are already overdecorating it for Christmas.”

QUOTE OF THE DAY (Courtesy of Matthew Robins): “Ain’t no party like a Willett party ’cause a Willett party has three types of china!”

CLAIRE TEACHES GILBERTO ABOUT COMPUTERS: A Play In One Act. CLAIRE: You don’t have to retype every one. Just do a find/replace. GILBERTO: What’s that? CLAIRE: Okay, just hit control F. GILBERTO: Wait, which one’s control and which one’s F? CLAIRE: “WHICH ONE’S F?” GILBERTO: Shut up.

QUOTE OF THE DAY (Courtesy of one Colin Willett): “Romulans are the North Koreans of the Star Trek Universe.” MAN, I love my family.

Dear self: Poirot right before bed is a terrible idea. Now it’s 3:30 and I’m scared to go to bed because there might be murderers lurking in my shrubbery. I can just hear David Suchet now: “No no, Inspector, this was no mere accident, this was MURDER! And yet, the Mademoiselle Willett, she seems to have had no enemies . . . Ah, mon ami Hastings, this is a case of the most puzzling!”

OBT Office Quote of the Day, courtesy of Eli Liliedahl-Allen: ERIK: Do you want to take the CPR class? ELI: I prefer not to mess with the Lord’s plan.

So, this just happened. Colin and I are watching Alton Brown on Food Network, and he used the phrase “a combination of whole-wheat and AP flour.” At which point the following two things happened simultaneously: COLIN: “He makes waffles with armor-piercing flour?” CLAIRE: “He make waffles with Associated Press flour?” The Willett Children. Different kinds of nerd, same level of nerdiness.


This is why Heather and Jessica of Go Fug Yourself: The Fug Girls are my favorite bloggers: “I am SO EASILY talked into liking celebrities that I hitherto disliked. Seriously. I almost ALWAYS come around. I’m pretty sure this means I am super susceptible to Stockholm Syndrome, like if I were kidnapped by Colombian drug lords, I’d come back from my ordeal and be all, ‘You guys, I kind of miss Pablo.'”

Chris and Colin are having a really in-depth discussion about which are deadlier, elk or moose.

OBT quote of the day, courtesy of Eli Liliedahl-Allen: “Claire. Your quiet and sedate manner today is seriously freaking me out, and I’m beginning to wonder how much of your personality we should actually be attributing to stimulant drugs.”

“For most people, ghosts are simply a way to sell night vision cameras to the stupid.” Ohhh, Cracked.com, I love you.

“Claire. Go home.” “Why?” “Because the sun is shining.” BEST BOSS EVER.


Oregon Ballet Theatre Office Quote of the Day: “Wait, I forget, what was that piece of literature that ‘Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ was based on?” — Eli Liliedahl-Allen

OBT OFFICE QUOTE OF THE DAY: “I’m not going to be one of those crazy bridezillas. I mean, if a baby cries during the ceremony I’m not gonna, like, taze it or something.” — Eli Liliedahl-Allen

Gilberto sums up my conversational style in five words: “You talk like a Gatling.”


Best status update ever, courtesy of The Afters: “If you have a pet parrot, you should train it to say “help they turned me into a parrot”, otherwise you’re wasting your time.”

In the immortal words of my best friend Erin Drew: “Temperance Brennan is BREAKING MY HEART.”

I’m going to write a book of all the bizarre yet painfully accurate metaphors Gil Del Campo uses to describe my personality. Today’s was: “I’m just saying, if you got dropped into an ant nest, the ants would complain of micromanagement.”

“You had me at ‘ice cream.'” — Trevor Warner. “I didn’t even know avocados grew on trees until, like, Tuesday.” — Bailey Louise Titus. Man, I love my kids.

Oh, Jim Gaffigan. This has been making me laugh all day. “I’m writing a book all about the life and times of Jesus. I’m gonna name it ‘Mark.’ Because my name is Mark.”

Adding insult to injury… OFFICER: ‘they ransacked your drawers, what a mess!’ ME: ‘um, no, that’s how it was before.’

MEXICAN GEOGRAPHY 101! (Gilberto is trying to describe to Claire where his grandmother lives) G: Do you know where the Sea of Cortez is? C: No. Describe where it is in relation to the United States of America. G: Okay, you know where the Baja Peninsula is? C: Yes, because it’s by California. G: Do you know where the Gulf of Mexico is? C: Yes, because it’s by Texas. G: I’m going to smack you.

CLAIRE: “I want to cut out the parts of the monologue where it’s like, beating people over the head.” GILBERTO: “You love that. You walk around all day holding a giant stick labeled, ‘For People’s Heads.'”


Jesse Schumann wins the gold medal for “Funniest Line In an Email Ever Since the Dawn of Time” by achieving the rare feat of making me snort with laughter before 9 a.m., with the following animal husbandry tip: “Door open at night, pugs’ delight. Door closed in the morn, no pug butt in your face.” (He also earned the silver by using “You’re looking GOOD, Sweetcakes!” to get me to give him Nutcracker tickets.)

CLAIRE: “Okay, I’m at ‘They loved her, and their love was like two hands cupping a baby bird so it could land.'” GILBERTO: “No baby bird.” CLAIRE: “What?” GILBERTO: “That’s not what I said. I didn’t say ‘baby bird,’ I just said ‘bird.’ You can’t cute-ify everything. You have your buttercream gun loaded and ready to fire, and if I don’t stop you you’ll cover everything in fondant.”

Today on ‘Offensive Statements Overheard In SE Portland’: ‘well, Jews don’t really have theology.’ Um. . .

TRANSCRIPT OF AN ACTUAL CONVERSATION. SETTING: Laurelwood Brewpub. Debby is as giddy as a schoolgirl, detailing all the logistics of Willett Family Thanksgiving. DEBBY (clapping her hands with glee): I’m so excited!! CLAIRE: You better calm down or you’re going to have a nervous breakdown before Thursday. KEN (under his breath): Or I’M going to have a nervous breakdown.

WILLETT FAMILY DINNER TABLE QUOTE OF THE DAY. (Claire is explaining to the family that today she had to make her first-ever face-to-face development pitch.) KEN: How did it go? CLAIRE: Really well, considering. It’s just totally not my area. I never wanted to be one of those people that goes and sits in someone’s office and says “Give me ten thousand dollars.” CHRIS: A terrorist?


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