Insulting the Neighbor Who Saved My Ass

OH HOLY OOPS! How did I end up insulting the neighbor who saved my ass?  Neighbor Fail!  #funny #neighbor #internet #humor

So then…I panic.

I’d promised my daughter Chloe that I’d FaceTime her as soon as she returned from her first high school trip back home in California.

But my older sister Dawn and I are all the way in Florida, packing up our Mom’s old condo since she’s already moved to a new place.

And FaceTime’s not working because Mom had already cancelled the internet!


We call Chloe to explain, who asks, mournfully, “Is there a Starbucks or Kinkos nearby so you can FaceTime me from there?”

Her sad little voice is like a million razor-sharp daggers in my heart.

I’m actually fortunate my 15-year-old WANTS to tell me every detail!

I know those days of mother-daughter closeness are numbered. One day I’ll call her at college and she’ll say, “I’m sorry, who is this?”

But Dawn and I have no idea where local internet cafes might be in this town.

And we don’t even HAVE internet to SEARCH for places that DO have internet!


“Karen!” I shout.

“What?” asks my sister.

I jump up. “Karen, Karen! Remember, we met her yesterday?” I grab my phone and my water bottle. “Mom’s neighbor Karen probably has internet; I’m going over there.”

So I skedaddle next door and knock.

“Karen! It’s me, Darcy! My mom introduced us yesterday? Do you have internet!? I’m trying to FaceTime my daughter but we don’t have internet anymore.”

She looks a little surprised but she lets me in and gives me one of the bedrooms.

“Thank you, Karen!”

I close the door and FaceTime my daughter who tells me every detail of the entire trip. We laugh, chat, and marvel at what a blast she had. And it makes a huge difference that we can see each other’s reactions and expressions. Hooray FaceTime!

Afterwards, I return to the living room, a little guilty for taking so long. So I do that thing where I effusively thank the person, using their first name a million times to feign some kind of familiarity and friendliness:

“Thank you SO much, Karen – you’re a lifesaver! My daughter would’ve been so sad if we couldn’t FaceTime. You’re such a doll, Karen. Honestly, I’m so relieved you were home. Thanks, Karen!”

She hands me a slip of paper and says, “In case your Mom needs me to forward her mail or anything, just give me a call.”

The paper has a phone number and the word “Diane.”

“Diane!?” I say, disbelievingly. “Why have I been calling you ‘Karen’ this whole time?”

I look at her with furrowed brow and annoyed expression as though it’s HER fault I’ve been calling her by the wrong name.

She looks at me with that perplexed expression that seems to say, “I don’t know, moron – why HAVE you been calling me by the wrong name this whole time, you internet-mooching knucklehead?”

(I might just be imagining that, since she seems like a really sweet person.)

I raise my eyebrows and shake my head as though I’m still not entirely convinced that her name is Diane – and perhaps she is mistaken. There are practically quotation marks around her name when I say, “Oh, OK, well thanks for the internet, “Diane,” and have a good night.”

I march back to my Mom’s place and say to my sister, “You’re not gonna believe this! The neighbor’s name is DIANE!

“Oh,” she says. “I wondered why you called her ‘Karen.’”


“WHAT!? You KNEW her name was Diane!? Why didn’t you correct me before I made a fool of myself?”

“I dunno,” she says. “I thought maybe you knew something I didn’t know.”

Like what?
Like she LEGALLY changed her name between yesterday and today?
Or she’s got multiple personality disorder and ‘Karen’s’ the one who knows the internet password?

Good grief!  How embarrassing!

So now I’m not sure who I’m more upset with –
me for my embarrassing error,
my sister for not correcting me BEFORE I went over there,
or Diane’s parents for not naming her Karen.

— Darcy Perdu

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(Who’s really to blame here: me, my sister, Diane’s parents, or someone else all together?  Have YOU called someone by the wrong name? Do your kids share the details of their adventures with you?)

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47 replies on “Insulting the Neighbor Who Saved My Ass

  1. tee hee hee… I think I’d have just died of embarrassment and ran away. Well done on your resilience!

    Also, if that were my sister I definitely would’ve blamed her for the entire thing. Obviously it’s her fault she didn’t ensure that you knew exactly what the neighbor’s name was before you hammered on the door!
    Jamie recently posted..“Put another finger in there would you?”My Profile

    • I should have died of embarrassment, but I was genuinely flummoxed that she claimed her name was Diane. I kept looking at her like SHE was the crazy one! Ha!

  2. Ouch! I’m horrible with names. I try really hard not to use them ever. I’m actually amazed that I’ve only called my boyfriend by my ex-husband’s name once . I usually get the kids right at least. Helps that it’s just one boy and one girl.

    And for the record, my daughter is a college sophomore, and I’m STILL the first one she wants to talk to when something exciting happens. So they don’t always pull away!
    Cassandra recently posted..Throwdown Thursday: Tattoo MeMy Profile

    • Oh, I’m so glad to hear about your daughter still wanting to shre allthe details even when she’s in college! That gives me hope!
      And omg – you called your boyfriend by you ex’s name?! Yikes!

  3. Stacie said:

    Love this story! I am a psychologist who works for our local Family Court – mind you, not only am I the only psychologist there but I am also the only mental health provider there. We had a Family Court judge a couple of years ago who always called me “Marsha.” The first time it happened I was so stunned that I didn’t correct him. So of course after that when he called me “Marsha” it was too late for me to correct him. It drove me crazy. I mean, “Marsha” and “Stacie” don’t sound remotely alike. Imagine my joy when my coworkers would chant, “Marsha, Marsha Marsha!” when they saw me.

    • That’s hysterical!! Those two names sound NOTHING alike! And I know what you mean about feeling awkward to correct him after he’s been calling you that awhile. So funny! And I LOVE your coworkers! Love the Brady Bunch episode!

  4. My husband and I were at a dinner party one night, and I happen to be terrible at names, so when another guest was introduced as Nick, but the hostess kept calling him Eric and no one corrected her, I just thought I must have heard wrong. Forgetting names is kind of my thing.

    So I totally get your sister not correcting you. I’m sure our hostess was mortified when someone did correct her. In my defense, I was one of four people who could have done so over the course of the four hours we were there (including Nick’s wife, who never said a word).
    ManicMom recently posted..Conversations with enablers and would-be superheroesMy Profile

    • Ha! I just snorted when I read that Nick’s WIFE didn’t even correct the hostess! That’s hysterical!!

  5. Arionis said:

    I was going to say you should blame your sister for not clueing you in but then you wouldn’t have had material for this post if she had. So in fact you should give her a pat on the back for, albeit unitentionally, supporting your writing career. So I guess we’ll have to fall back on blaming Justin Bieber. (This one is probably getting old but what are you gonna do?)

    • Good point, Arionis! I should thank my sister. She’s pretty awesome!
      And it’s never wrong to blame Justin Bieber! Unless it’s Kim Kardashian’s fault. It’s either Justin or Kim!

  6. Terri Baker said:

    I did that to one of our pastor’s wives the other day…I asked if her husband’s email address was “” She looked at me and said “No, it’s I’m married to Vernon.” I was like: I knew that! I swear I knew that.”

    LOL But the best story I have to share is regarding a guy who our company uses his limo services. About 8 years ago, a co-worker and I were coordinating a meeting for our out-of-town office managers…and for some reason, the driver gets the idea that my co-worker and I are married. So for the next 7 years, he asks me about my husband. At one time I have to explain he’s not with the company any more…but seriously, I only see him briefly once or twice a year and it wasn’t worth it to correct him. Last year, he asked about my husband and I decided to end it. I told him we were divorced!!!! BAHAHAHA! I saw him again last week and he was talking about his blond curly-headed granddaughter. I was about to grab my phone and show him a photo of my blond, curly-headed granddaughter…but then thought he’d probably ask about my “ex-husband” and how I’d have to explain it in front of the other co-workers who were standing around. *sigh* It just got so complicated. LOL I think it is hilarious. I don’t know why people get so upset about names – geez we have so much stuff to remember now…like a ba-zillion passwords. :) Thanks for the chuckle!

    • Oh, Terri, I’m dying laughing over here! Going along with a wrong name is one thing, but going along with a fake husband — (oh, excuse me, fake EX-husband) — is HILARIOUS!
      You need to keep upping the ante each time you see that driver. Just keep making stuff up! “My ex-husband and I remarried!” “He’s in the CIA now!” “He’s skydiving in Madrid!” “He’s insisting we get matching face tattoos, what do you think I should do?”

  7. Paul said:

    That is a funny story Darcy. I have done similar faux pas in the past as well. It is collosally embarassing. I will sometimes correct people if they get my name wrong if I think we’ll meet again. If it’s casual I don’t bother.

    Some years ago I had a salesman come to me at work selling restraining equipment for loads – straps, pogo sticks, load bars, etc. We used some of that equipment but not a lot.He asked if he could mail me their regular specials. I agreed but told him that if he sold my info to any other companies or if I got one piece of advertising that did not come from his company, I would cut him off. He assured me his company would never do that and that my info was secure. Well, he got my name wrong. So, when his advertising arrived, the mail room figured out it was me (the topic) and sent it along. The guys used to tease me with the wrong name on the mail. Then one day, it started – I began receiving ads from all sorts of companies, all with that wrong name on it. ha! I called up the salesman and ripped a strip off him, went up one side and down the other. Told him he was unprofessional in getting my name wrong to start and then all the other advertising that came with that same wrong name on it. I called him a liar and his company unprofessional. I told him that he was cut off and never to darken my door again or I would have him ejected from the premises. I also told him to take me off his mailing list and that all further communication from him would be garbaged in the mail room. I also said that I would spread his name in the industry as one to stay away from. ha! I was pissed off and glad that I had not corrected him in the beginning. I felt much better after my venting.

    • Holy Cow! Remind me never to cross you, Pawl.
      Um, Paull.
      Dammit, what is it again? Oh, yeah, Pual. Right?

    • Oh William, you’re DRUNK!
      It’s NEVER my fault!

      hee hee
      Unless I’M drunk, then it’s DEFINITELY my fault!

  8. jenny_o said:

    The post and the comments are all SO funny! Yeah, I’ve done this – and had it done to me – so I figure it all works out.

    • Ha! See, even YOU think her name is Karen!
      I may have to demand a birth certificate to verify once and for all!

  9. This is hilarious, and I love the multiple personality theory where Karen has the internet password. Also glad to know you were here in Florida where the good weather lives!

    • Thanks, Eric! And yes, you Floridians have some mighty damn good weather! :)

  10. HA HA HA!! I totally did something like this recently and could not figure out why the woman I was talking to was not answering me back when I kept saying her name…um, because it was not actually her name at all.-Ashley
    thedoseofreality recently posted..Operation Christmas ChildMy Profile

    • Ha! I love that you’re practically getting annoyed at her for ignoring you when YOU’RE using the wrong name! So funny!

  11. Pingback: fights with neighbors

  12. That was the best laugh I’ve had all day. And I would blame your sister Carol for not correcting you beforehand. Wait… her name is Dawn isn’t it?

  13. Julie said:

    I bet her name is really Sue.

    I have a tendency to make up my own names for people, so I never really know anyone’s name, just what I call them in my head-or sometimes out of my mouth. Me personally, if I hear someone call out the same name 3 times, I will look. Maybe they are calling me by the wrong name…

    • I bet you come up with some pretty funny names for people!

  14. Amanda said:

    Ha ha!! Blame Diane’s parents for not naming her Karen!

    • Ha! I should write them a strongly-worded letter right now!!

  15. Kate said:

    I worked at a sandwich shop for years and I had this one regular from a couple stores over who came every day (I make it my mission to learn my regulars’ names and greet them with it) so every day for about 4 years I greeted her with ‘ Good morning Daphne, the usual?’ Until one day she piped up ‘I love the nickname you gave me, it’s so cute!’ And I was almost speechless. ‘Nickname? Oh no, I thought that was your name!’

    Turns out her name is Melissa. I still call her Daphne since she genuinely does like it. Where I got it from, I have no idea at all.

    • That’s hilarious!! I think you got the name from being psychic and knowing that she prefers Daphne way more than Melissa! Ha!