People really seem to enjoy hearing about my awkward adventures back in May, so I decided it may be a good idea to delve a little deeper into this issue. For your laughs and for my own self discovery.
I can’t explain where these… let’s call them tics, come from. I live most of my life doing everything I can to accommodate everybody that I come in contact with, and, everything I can to accommodate these people with out being an inconvenience to everyone else in the world.
Just thinking about this makes my chest tighten.
My brain forms associations quickly when I am experiencing all of the symptoms of what I consider to be an awkward situation. I have become so familiar with the symptoms, that I am like a idiot superhero trying to save the world from them.
This is what I have decided anyway…
Let’s go through some examples, shall we?
When my wife and I go through a fast food drive thru, when I am sober, it results in a fight. Luckily I tend not to go through a fast food drive thru unless I am inebriated and my inhibitions have been reduced.
The fight has absolutely nothing to do with my wife because she is a normal human being. I am the cause of the fight, I know I am going to be the cause of the fight when we are pulling up to the drive thru, yet when we get to the drive thru I revert to the same behavior.
I know what my order is going to be, before the muffled voice comes on over the speaker and do my best to order as efficiently as possible. My wife, however, will look at the menu and consider her options.
It must be the dead air between me and the person on the other end of the drive-thru speaker.
My eyes widen with each moment that passes with out finishing our order.
Then, the dreaded, “is that all?”
“No, just a second” I blurt out as I turn back to my wife, my face begging for her to make a decision. Her face showing clearly that she would murder me in that moment if there was even the slightest chance that she could get away with it.
I understand that it is perfectly acceptable to take your time and order when I am not in this situation but, all rational thought and behavior escapes me in the actual moment.
God help us if a line of cars forms behind us…
After the order is complete and the fight is finished, I hope. I hope that they get the order right.
Please, please, PLEASE, get the order right.
If it isn’t, my wife will make me go back in and get the order corrected.
I understand that I should get what I paid for but, having to go in and tell someone that they made a mistake is not something that I was wired to do.
By myself? I eat the hard shell taco with extra olives (I hate olives).
If I have ever been out to eat at a restaurant with you and you have complained or sent food back, know that you have made me incredibly uncomfortable.
Aside from serving me a plate of poison, I will let just about anything slide. For example…
When I order my go to cocktail, Bulleit Rye Manhattan on the rocks (feel free to buy me one anytime), sometimes I end up with a tall glass of rye whisky on the rocks. Not what I ordered (not even close), but I drink it down like it is the most amazing cocktail ever poured.
My hallucination is that by correcting the error, I will embarrass the server. Now, it is possible that it wasn’t her fault and she will go back to the bar tender and call him an idiot for not pouring the correct drink. Their night of work has been ruined because of me and someone else has been forced to wait for their drink because of me.
No thank you. I will drink the wrong drink happily.
This is crazy behavior and thinking but, I would much rather passive-aggressively complain about these things with my wife in the car on the ride home.
I have reached the conclusion that I am far too empathetic. I truly worry about people feeling embarrassed, awkward, lonely, etc. I would rather inconvenience myself rather than know, for even a short amount of time, I have caused someone to be uncomfortable or inconvenienced for any reason.
My ultimate kryptonite?
Won’t use ’em.
Don’t give ’em to me.
It wraps all of the above into a 3×2 inch card that’s only value, to me, is in awkward moments. When I get one, all I see is all of the things that will (not could, see: Severson’s Law) go wrong.
First, “Sorry sir, there doesn’t appear to be a balance on this card.” In this scenario, there is a 50/50 chance that I will just walk out of the store without saying another word. I’m not kidding.
Second, the cashier doesn’t know how to properly run the gift card and after a few minutes of trying to solve the issue on their own decides they need help from the manager.
You really needed the gift card to buy The Notebook on blu-ray? That wasn’t embarrassing enough? Just say you’ll pay with your card like you should have in the first place.
The manager, of course, is busy helping someone else.
Don’t look back. You know there is a line, why does it matter how long it is? What good is it going to do to make awkward eye contact with the guy behind you. Then you’ll feel compelled to say something equally awkward.
The impatient looks from the 5 people who are now waiting on me make me want to run but I am sure they are impressed with my confident blushing.
The manager has finally come to the rescue only to say, “There is only $0.73 on the gift card, how would you like to pay for the remaining balance.”
This is the moment where I consider crying as I quickly fumble my credit card on the counter and say, “well, thank God for that $0.73 otherwise I couldn’t afford this!” producing a laugh I have never heard come out of my mouth before.
Then, I speed walk for the door.
Well, at least nobody felt uncomfortable with that situation.