Tuesday, January 18, 2005

The Art of Awkwardness

Lately, I've been seeing how much I can turn conversations, group get togethers and in general, basically any kind of communication between people into extremely awkward moments. Since I tend to be the type of person to break the silence when I sense an awkward moment approaching, it's very hard for me to be the instigator in creating awkwardness because I usually do everything in my power to avoid it. And so it goes.

Saturday night, a rendez-vous at a theater in Pasadena with some friends and some friends of their friends provided me with one of the funniest moments of recent weeks. We all met, introduced one another to the others who may not know one another and then proceeded to go into the theater lobby. Then, one girl wanted to buy popcorn so the rest of us stood in a circle behind the lines coming from the mile-long concession counter and proceeded to make conversation. I took the initiative and asked them a question I knew would eventually end in a dead awkward lull.

"Have you guys seen the movie 'Million Dollar Baby?'" I asked. They all shook their head 'no.' I paused and then said, "it's a really good movie." And stop. Nothing more to add. No explaination or elaboration as to why I think this, and certainly, no retort back from them asking "why was it a really good movie?" (because people just don't ask questions like that). I half-smiled and looked at them as if to say 'i'm done talking now, you're turn' and stood there in stillness.

They looked at me, nodded their head and then confusion came into their cheeks like little parasites re-grouping for their next big conglomeration attack. For at least a good minute, nothing was said and everyone just tried to look around each other's eyes at something other than the group to give focus to. Looking around at the people coming in and going out of the theater, as if it really looked like something fascinating to watch. Or looking at the combo #1 choice sign, and debating whether or not it really was the "BEST VALUE" movie concession deal.

It was hysterical. I stood there in silence too, curling my lips inward and thinking how lame of a person I really am and yet, giggling simultaneously on the inside.

The girl finally came back with her popcorn, broke the silent non-eye-to-eye stares and proceeded to lead us into the theater with small sighs of relief coming from the whole group and delightful bits of awkwad air lingering above our heads.

I bet the people I had just met that night think I'm the weirdest person in the world.

Oh well. Happy MLK day.


Chalupa said...

that's awesome neville. keep up the awkwardness. i feel like a lot of times i'm "in" those kinds of situations but not "participating" since I usually don't mind keeping my mouth shut. another thing that's fun to do is get certain people worked up by knowing just the right thing to mention. that can be just as fun if not more.

Hewitt said...

As I sit here listening to the Beatles at the Common Ground Coffee shop in Grand Rapids, I miss the best first college roommate anyone could ask for: aka, you. Just a few moments ago, the server brought me my coffee and enthusiastically said, "Enjoy!" I promtly replied, "Thanks alot, you too!" I guess I figured she is going run to the back to go enjoy a King Creole (White Chocolate Banana Mocha) right after she leaves me.