Thursday, November 29, 2012

Well, That Was Awkward

I'm going to assume that, like me, you've had moments of incredible awkwardness. I'm also going to assume that, unlike me, you aren't experiencing this during 95% of your waking moments and 75% of your sleeping ones, because I'm willing to bet that you're much more comfortable in your own skin than I am. It's a guess, though. If I'm wrong -- hello, welcome to our small but dorky family.

Anyway, with the awkward. Here's the thing: there are awkward situations, like when you are in band, sneaking a look at your AP reading materials between songs and having someone say "Hey, what are you reading?" and instead of saying "Moby Dick" you decide to be funny and say, in a normal voice "Moby Penis!" just as the room experiences a sudden bout of silence. (Disclaimer: this didn't happen to me. It happened to someone I sat next to, though.) There is also interpersonal awkwardness, as though there are people who, like magnets, draw out every bit of awkward in your system until you find yourself completely incapable of doing anything that's not horribly horribly dopey.

But if you're SUPER lucky, you'll find yourself regularly immersed in a situation that's both situationally and interpersonally awkward.

Which is what happens to me once a week. Well, that's not true. It happens to me AT LEAST once a week, when I run into an individual who I don't really know, but who, like all good Interpersonal Awkwardness Aggravators, exudes cool intensity. This, of course, draws out every ounce of ridiculousness I possess.

Small talk? OH HELL NO. I try not even to make eye contact. I mean, I'm fine with being a buffoon, but I don't really know this person and there's no way -- NONE, ZERO -- that I'm going to risk the randomness that comes flying out of my mouth when the awkward is in full swing.  I can't do it.

This, of course, only makes me seem more awkward.

Typical interaction (if I can't avoid it, which I try to, so I'm sure s/he thinks I am filled with loathing towards her/his person, which IS SO NOT THE CASE):

Interpersonal Awkwardness Aggravator: Hey.

Me: Hi.

IAA: So. Um. How's it going?

What my brain wants to say: Oh my God, I'm having the best day ever. Did you know that they're introducing a new line of Jem Dolls? I had one when I was a kid and I don't know what happened to her and now it DOESN'T EVEN MATTER! So awesome.

What I actually say: Good. Um, how are you?

IAA: Good.

What my brain wants to say: That's good. You look like you're having a good day. God, I don't even know what that means. I just -- you seem happy. Not that you ever seem like you're not happy? Because you mostly do. I mean, when I see you. Which isn't that often, because I try to hide when I see you because of the fact that I end up talking like this. Dear God, why won't the ground swallow me up RIGHT NOW SOMEONE SAVE ME?!

What I actually say: Good. So ... um. Bye.

IAA: Smirks.

YES. The Interpersonal Awkwardness Aggravator SMIRKS. I don't think it's intentional, but it's definitely a reflection of an acknowledgement of superior social powers. Which I, sadly, will never possess.


This all started as simply interpersonal awkwardness, but now I can't even go to the place where I run into this person because I can feel myself becoming a weirdo the moment I walk through the door. Like every goofy portion of my personality just wants to escape. When you start avoiding a place that you kind of NEED to frequent, just because you are trying to tone down your own levels of oddity? That's not good, y'all. It's just NOT.

So yesterday, after yet another stilted conversation with my own personal IAA, I came to a conclusion. And the conclusion was this:

Why hide the weird? There's NO POINT. I'm pretty sure that by trying not to be as random and ... erm, I'm choosing the word eccentric here, so be kind ... as I normally would be, I just seem like a cardboard cutout who has nothing to say, and we all know THAT'S not true.

Look out, Interpersonal Awkwardness Aggravator. I'm coming for you.

You won't even know what hit you.

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