I had a brief discussion with Swistle yesterday, about how taking someone up on sincerely offered help is really awkward. That is, take our current situation. For the first week of Butt Rust, when we assumed it would just be a week, we had several people say, “Let me know if there’s anything I can do to help!” And we’d respond, “Oh, we’re just fine!” or “Will do!,” with no real intention of taking anyone up on it. Because it would feel awkward. Even though the offering person was being quite sincere.
Phil and I talked about it, too, last night, realizing that since Butt Rust would be continuing indefinitely, all of the normal household duties PLUS a lot of the remaining “get ready for baby” duties were going to fall to him, in addition to his full time job, plus the work outs required to keep in shape to meet the standards of said job, plus some extra work for a softball tournament he’s doing. There is going to come a point where someone says, “Let me know what I can do to help,” and we will need to reply, “Well, actually…”
And that just feels awkward. And I know it’s not just me, because Swistle totally confirmed it.
But that got me thinking about other seemingly normal things that just make me feel really awkward. Things that other people seem to do with absolutely no issue. Things that are REALLY NOT A BIG DEAL, but for some reason, make me feel entirely conspicuous and like the whole world is watching and commenting on my behavior.
As I love to do, I am once again calling upon the “I am a completely average person, therefore, a good portion of other people MUST feel the same way” theory. Either you will ALSO feel awkward about some of the exact situations I am about to describe, or you have your OWN seemingly normal acts and circumstances that make you feel like you are on display in a very obvious way, and of course, you will tell me about them.
First? Food on trays. The Tray Walk, if you will. Carrying food on a tray NEVER fails to make me feel like the most glaringly conspicuous, awkward person on the planet. As soon as I pick up a tray loaded with food, a spotlight shines down from above, directly on to me, and the rest of the lights in the area dim for effect. ESPECIALLY if there is also a drink on the tray. DOUBLE especially if the drink is in a glass, not a cup with a lid. (the kind with a hole for a straw, not a sippy cup. I don’t drink from sippy cups. I’m an adult.)
Maybe it goes back to school cafeterias, with the fear of being THAT PERSON who drops their tray in front of everyone. I don’t recall ever BEING that person, but I’m pretty sure the fear of being that person is stamped into everyone who ever ate in a cafeteria full of peers waiting to seize on some kind of weakness.
I think, though, that it more has to do with the whole kind of posture and positioning of tray carrying, combined with food. You’ve got to hold it right out in front of you. Like for inspection.
“Yes, I do, in fact, intend to eat this food that I have selected for myself. I am holding it out in front of me because there is no other way to hold it, and I know you are evaluating me. And possibly waiting for me to drop it.”
It’s like putting all of your tastes and habits right out there for people to LOOK AT. The Tray Walk is the WORST.
Next? Free samples. Not like the kind you get in the mail, or in a promotional bag from somewhere. (Motherhood/Destination Maternity – please don’t stop handing me individually packaged prunes. I love you. For your prunes.) No, the kind you have to walk up and get. Like at Sam’s Club or another grocery store.
I don’t know what it is with this one, but I suspect a combination of two factors.
One, I feel as though the sample person is immediately judging and labeling me as someone who enjoys a free tiny piece of ham on a toothpick. Even though EVERYONE enjoys a free tiny piece of ham on a toothpick.
Two? How VERY CLEAR it is when you really have no intention of buying the offered tiny food on a toothpick, but you want to eat it, because come on, free tiny food on a toothpick, right? And then you have to decide if you’re just going to eat it and walk away (and say “Thanks,” of course, as we are not HEATHENS), or if you’re going to do that thing where you stand there and pretend to consider it, and maybe ask how much it is, and then pretend it’s just not in the budget this week. Or you can pretend you didn’t like it when you CLEARLY DID. Or you say something like, “I’ll think about it and come back,” when EVERYONE KNOWS YOU’RE NOT COMING BACK.
Oh, and worse? When you and your husband or whoever BOTH want to try it because you really, truly ARE genuinely interested and you have to go and get TWO samples, and then make a really obvious big deal about how your husband just went to grab a pack of toilet paper, and then over do it by giving way too much detail about how he picks out the toilet paper because he has very specific toilet paper needs and you try to get out of there before you find yourself LISTENING TO YOURSELF describe his toilet paper needs.
Food samples, y’all. Fraught with awkwardness.
Lastly, a common one. For the ladies. So you go to the lady doctor, and you undress the business portion of yourself, and put on the little drape. You know what I am most concerned about in that situation? Not the fact that there are about to be stirrups and possibly a spotlight. No. The clothes.
THE CLOTHES SITUATION AT THE LADY DOCTOR.
First? I, the person who loathes folding more than anyone else in the world has ever loathed anything, will absolutely MAKE SURE that my clothes are folded perfectly on a chair. PERFECTLY.
Second? The underpants. You know as well as I do that YOU HIDE YOUR UNDERPANTS in that stack of clothes. The doctor KNOWS you were wearing underpants. He’s about to get really familiar with your underpants AREA. But GOD FORBID anyone actually see your underpants SITTING THERE.
Third. You know it. Socks. On? Off? Tucked inside the shoes? Nothing is more awkward than trying to make the socks on/off decision. Because immediately upon undressing, the socks that were JUST FINE when you left the house are now the most hideously embarrassing and awkward thing about you, even as you are MOMENTS from displaying all of your downstairs equipment to someone who might be wearing a head lamp.
That has to top the list of many people. Deciding what to do with all your clothes and accessories at the lady doctor. And of COURSE they’ve seen it all before, but we’re talking about MY underpants and MY socks here. They’re different. You know what I mean.
So, Internet. Tell me. What completely normal situations make you feel like the most awkward person on the planet? Things that EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD handles like it’s totally nothing, when to you, it is a DEFINITE SOMETHING. What circumstances and activities and events make you try REALLY HARD to pull off a casual, “I’m totally normal and fine and this is just no big thing!” attitude and feel like you’re failing a really obvious way and EVERYONE KNOWS?