Any-hoo, I have a stock phrase that I use as shorthand for “something obscure and high brow”. For a long time it was “Mesopotamian basket weaving”*. An example would be discussing what papers someone should take at university and I’d finish with, “…and then you’d have 6 points you can use as an interest paper. Do a course in Mesopotamian basket weaving or something just to take your mind off dentistry for a while.”
For as long as I can remember, it’s been my stock phrase that I’d pull off the shelf when I needed a eccentric example at the end of a sentence. Then, last week, Robyn stayed a day extra in Auckland to spend time with our friend Simran while I had to get back to work. Some how it came up in conversation at work that Robs had stayed up north to spend time with a friend and the interlocutor asked, “So, what are they doing today?” I responded with a flippant, “I don’t know, shopping or something.”
The moment it came out I realised how dumb and chauvinistic I had sounded (even though Robs and Simran had talked about going shopping before I left) so I quickly back peddled and came up with, “…Or not. They could easily be sitting in a café, drinking espresso while discussing nineteen-fifties Peruvian architecture.” (Interesting side bar, they didn’t actually go shopping but rather woke up late after too much Sangria the night before and had brunch in a nearby café so my second prediction was actually closer to the button though I doubt the topic of the Capitol Building in
I used it on myself while walking back from lunch the other day – “Idiot, did you think she was talking about nineteen-fifties Peruvian architecture?” – and I suddenly realised that it’s unlikely that it’s normal to chastise yourself internally and I don’t suppose that most people have stock examples that they’re aware off and keep up their sleeve in case of a metaphoric emergency. Either way, I think I’m going to stop thinking (writing?) about this as it’s not like I'm an expert on nineteen-fifties Peruvian architecture or anything.
*Yes, I realise that my short-hand phrase is longer than the phrase it’s replaced.