You know what I’m talking about. At least … I hope you do. Those ridiculously is-this-really-happening-or-am-I-on-some-terrible-game-show moments. They happen to me more than the average human.
There’s the “please don’t see me” — The little jolt of panic you get when you’re walking through your local grocery store minus a shower, any hint of makeup, and still wearing your pajamas, when you see you’re on track for a head-on collision with the one person you didn’t want to see. It could be your ex. It could be your arch-frenemy. It could be that acquaintance that thinks you’re best friends, but hearing them open their mouth makes you want to jump off a building. Regardless, you didn’t want to run into them — Especially when you’re not looking your finest.
You duck in between a display of guacamole and a magazine rack, but escape attempts are futile. They’ve spied you and you’re stuck now. Plus, you’ve got to make up some bogus excuse about how you were out of guacamole and couldn’t miss the latest issue of Ok! Magazine, and that’s why you were careening in between the displays, not because you’d rather visit a razorblade and lemon juice factory than talk to them. (Karma gets you double if they talk to you all the way to the checkout line and you’re stuck buying the guac and Ok!)
This happens to me every time I visit my hometown. You’ve got to get dolled up if you want to go to Wal-Mart (Williston, ND’s, only major store) because you know it’s going to be a high school reunion the second you step foot in there.
You probably know about my debacles with texting. Have you ever accidentally texted the wrong person? And, of course, 9 times out of 10, it will go to the worst possible person? Whether you end up bragging about last night’s hookup to your mom or send a flirtatious text to your best friend’s little sister, it’s not going to end up well. In my case, I ended up sending a particularly wrathy four-messager about the irritating qualities of one of my friends to the subject of the text. Whom I was physically in the same place with at the time. And immediately called me out on it. Talk about mortification.
Have you ever bailed on someone in favor of better plans and then run into them while you’re out? That’s a fun one to explain. “Uh, hi! Fancy running into you here! Ummm. I just … ended up not doing the whole bathing homeless cats at the animal shelter thing annnnd … so-in-so here was walking along the street in the rain while I was on my way home, sooooo … we ended up here?”
Yeah. Painful. They know. Give it up. Admit defeat. Scamper away with head hanging and tail between legs.
First-time meetings breed awkwardness. Whether you’re meeting a classmate, a new co-worker, your friend’s mutual friend, or your significant other’s parents, disaster hangs out here. You’re grasping for common ground in an effort to kick off the conversation and note a glimmer of recognition in your conversation partner’s eye when you mention coverage of the PGA that was on in place of your favorite soap opera. You go on spouting about how golf is the lamest sport ever invented. In fact, you say it shouldn’t even be considered a sport. You continue to rip it to shreds for the next few minutes before you notice your conversation partner squirming a little. They then mention that they’ve been a member of their local country club for years, where they teach golf lessons for a living. Fail.
But, hey, at least once the initial sting of the awkwardness goes away, you have a entertaining story to tell.