Socially awkward me

Posted in: Real life

I ran into a lot of people I know over the lunch break today:

  • a husband-and-wife couple from work
  • the friend of one of my own friend's sisters
  • someone from ceroc
  • another workmate
  • an ex-girlfriend of a friend's friend (lol)
  • an old classmate
  • and another person from ceroc

Of those 7 meetings, the first 5 were all on my way to lunch. And with the exception of the first ceroc person, all those encounters went smoothly.

We didn't spot each other until we were fairly close, and by then it looked like it was going to be one of the usual wave-at-each-other-as-you-close-the-distance-between-you-then-continue-walking-in-opposite-directions kind of street meetings. We gestured at each other, said hello, and continued walking. Either by accident or on purpose she touched my arm as we went passed each other. I took this as a sign that she wanted to say something, so I stopped and turned around.

She continued walking. So, fixed to the ground and watching her walk away, I was thinking, Huh, maybe she doesn't want to talk. As soon as that thought finished, she looked back and, seeing me standing there, probably started thinking that I wanted to talk. So she stopped, turned around, and walked back towards me.

What was supposed to be a simple street meeting turned into an misreading of signs followed by me awkwardly trying to explain my way out of why I stopped.

Socially Awkward Penguin
If only it ended there

I ended-up explaining myself twice, and even then I wonder if she understood what I was saying because nerves and general silliness were running things by then making me talk a bit faster than usual; maybe too fast to understand.

After that incident, it got me thinking about other meetings that should've been simple, but have been screwed-up because I was being myself.

The example that came to mind was something made possible by my short-sightedness (physical, not figurative). Being short-sighted means I've learned to recognize people from a distance using other visual cues than just one's face: their clothing, hair, the way they walk, etc. Despite the additional clues, this method still has a pretty high failure rate.

A few years ago, I was meeting a friend of mine for lunch at the bookstore outside my work. Inside, I spotted somebody who, from behind, fitted the description of the person I was looking for: short girl, long straight blonde hair, skinny, and wears the sleeves of her jersey up to her fingertips so she can curl the ends around her knuckles. The colour of her clothing also matched stuff I've seen her wear before, so I was pretty sure this was the person I was looking for.

To grab her attention, I threw my jacket at her head.
The girl turned-around, my jacket still on her head, and she wasn't the person I was looking for.

I was quick to apologize, explaining she looked like somebody I knew, and it was then I saw my friend... just to my right, watching the whole sad exchange go down.

Awkward demotivational poster

Because it isn't enough for me to make a fool of myself in-front of my friends, I have to involve strangers too.