By the way... are there any words that strike terror into a woman's heart quite like "By The Way". Whatever follows is Not going to be good. You just know it deep inside. Your heart pounds. What will it be?
By the way.... It's 9 o'clock at night, shopping day is tomorrow, and your child suddenly remembers that he needs 24 frosted cupcakes for class, tomorrow. By the way....It's pouring rain, and your daughter remembers that she needs to complete a science project, due tomorrow. Can you run her to the store for supplies? By the way, I need a permission form and payment for school, tomorrow morning. By the way, my teacher wants you to call her. By the way, my coat zipper broke. (This one, spoken on the way to school on a very chilly, snowy Monday morning!)
There is only a very brief nano-second in the comma between the words, "by the way," and what follows, but during that comma, my heart pounds, my breath comes quicker, and I immediately imagine a dozen senarios, all bad. Because of this, I always feel a sense of relief, because almost nothing I can imagine is as bad as the real situation! After the relief comes the 'oh, no' reaction. Then it passes, and I handle whatever it is, though I confess to the occasional mutterings!
By The Way.....