18 entries categorized "Awkward"


I have a lot of routines set up for myself, some conscious and some unconscious. For example, at some point last year I got in the habit of eating specific lunches on specific days. On Tuesdays, for example, I go to Cosi and get a TBM. It sounds kind of crazy and OCD, which, to be fair, it maybe is, but it's not something I observe like a religion. It's just that I've found, at least for me, that settling into a few general rhythms helps offset some of the difficulties that come with being extremely absent-minded and oblivious.

I also tend to rotate through the same outfits at work on a fairly regular basis. This is more or less because I only see a small number of people in a given day and because it saves time in the morning to already kind of know a specific combination of clothes to go for. Anyway, at some point, I things kind of evolved into me wearing the same things on certain days of the week. I didn't put this all together, though, until I had a conversation with my Cosi cashier one Tuesday as she rang my sandwich up.

"You work at the salon next door, right?" she asked.

"What? No," I answered, wondering why she would think that. (I hypothesized that maybe my hair was looking particularly excellent that day.)

"Oh," she said, kind of confused. "Sorry--I just assumed, because, well--" she looked at my black shirt and grey skirt. "You come here often, and you have the same uniform as them. So I just assumed."

At this point, I came to the dreadful realization that I had probably come to this Cosi every Tuesday for the past several weeks wearing the exact same outfit. I had never made the connection before and I reeeallly didn't want to tell the cashier, "Oh no, I'm just a crazy person, and this is my Tuesday outfit, you see!" But I had to save the situation somehow, or else future trips to this shop would be too awkward and I'd need a new Tuesday lunch option.

"Oh! That is so funny," I said. "Yeah, I guess my job has sort of the same uniform." This seemed like a solid enough save. I handed her my check card.

"So where do you work?" she asked. Damn. This was like playing chess, and I was not planning my moves far enough in advance.

"Uh . . . nearby." Please let this transaction end. Please let this transaction end.

"OK, cool! Here's your number. See you next time!" Whew.

I decided that things hadn't gone too badly, and I could still come back to that Cosi in the future. But as I walked out the door, I realized that I would have to make sure I would be wearing that exact same outfit every time. I am now charged with the responsibility of keeping the uniform myth alive.

Some Awkward for Your Monday

Possibly my favorite awkward moments are the ones that come as a result of situations that didn't really need to be happening in the first place.  And when you're talking about situations that didn't need to happen in the first place, I think "making fruit look like it is wearing clothing" is about as high up on the list as you can reasonably get.

(via The Soup -- having problems embedding the clip, so you may want to watch it over there.)

Tough Sell

On Friday I had the pleasure of being tricked into attending a Cutco home demonstration at my friends' house.  Carolyn and Cassie had innocuously invited me over for dinner; after I accepted, Cassie revealed that oh yeah, there was going to be a knife salesman there, and they wanted me to make it less awkward.  (This is something my friends routinely do.  They think a situation will be awkward, so they invite me in hopes that my natural awkwardness, which they are familiar with, will take over and cancel out the new, unfamiliar awkwardness of the situation.  It rarely works as planned.)

Cutco, if you didn't know, is sort of like Avon for knives.  The sales reps are mostly college-age kids, and they come to your house and try to convince you that you need to spend $1200 on knives.  They do this by employing subtle psychological torture.  I would not be surprised to find out that Cutco salesmen are trained at Guantanamo.

To be fair, there are people out there who actually need nice knives in their kitchens.  The problem is, my friends and I are not those people.  We are the kind of people who think we are having a good night, culinary-wise, if we have both milk AND cereal in the house.  Knives don't really enter into the equation too often, unless we are dealing with particularly wily packaging on one of our frozen dinners.  We are basically the worst people possible to try and sell knives too, and Carolyn told him that multiple times when he called to schedule the visit.  The Cutco guy assured her that she would be under no obligation to buy anything, he just wanted credit for the home visit to apply toward some kind of scholarship competition or something. 

Well, needless to say, the presentation was painful.  For example, at one point, the Cutco guy held up a paring knife.  "So, Carolyn," he asked.  "What types of tasks do you usually use a paring knife for in your kitchen?"

Carolyn looked at him like he had held up a scalpel and asked where you make the first incision on a routine spleenectomy.  This was not a question she knew the answer to.

The silence was getting really awkward, so I chimed in.  "You could use a paring knife for scaling asparagus!" 

The Cutco guy looked at me, grateful for the lifeline.  "Yes!  You like to cook?"

"Well, no," I admitted, ashamed.  "I just peeked at your binder and saw that it said 'great for scaling asparagus' under the picture of the paring knife."

The Cutco guy looked at me in disgust.  I had been busted for cheating at a knife sales pitch.

Things went on like this for over an hour, which was long enough for Carolyn to consume several sweet tea vodka and lemonades.  This made her hilariously belligerent; when the Cutco guy asked her to cut through a piece of leather; she feigned amazement, then looked at him and said, "Problem: I do not eat leather."  The Cutco guy seemed rattled at this point.  When he then suggested that unpredictable, tipsy Carolyn try holding a footlong bread knife to feel the grip, I thought it was a good idea to intercede.

"How about I hold it?" I said.  The Cutco guy, clearly still mad at me about the asparagus thing, shook his head.  "No.  I want Carolyn to try."  I decided to back off, because I have a personal policy of not provoking people who are holding sharp knives.  It is one of those healthy habits that has kept me around for so long. 

As promised, we bought no knives that night, despite a harrowing psychological showdown in which the Cutco guy all but threatened to not leave the house until we bought knives.  Cassie and I grew so uncomfortable during the desperate negotiations that we had to get up and leave the table multiple times; however, Carolyn showed impressive resistance as the Cutco guy went through page after page of knife sets in his catalogue.  Each time Carolyn declined to buy a particular set, he would turn the page of his catalogue and show her another set that was slightly cheaper and had slightly fewer knives in it than the one on the preceding page.  Finally, Carolyn interrupted him.

"I have an idea.  How about you just turn to the last page, with the smallest number of knives and the cheapest price, so I can just say no to that and we can be done."

It was at this point that the Cutco guy finally understood that no knives would be sold to us tonight.  Instead of leaving immediately, though, he asked us to provide him with the names and numbers of 10 friends who we thought would enjoy hearing his presentation. 

You can all be expecting to hear from him very soon.

Just Check Which Categories This Got Filed Under


This would be circa 1989.  Michael in the shorts suit, Kate in the middle, me with the Popeye sash, Kelly in the back looking miserable. And then there's Mom, who at the moment this was snapped was probably realizing that my dad was the smart one to be behind the camera, because in exactly 20 years there might end up being a thing called the Internet, and this might end up on it.

Sophisticated Jet Setter

The hotel I am in right now has an art deco theme, which means they decided to take advantage of the fact that the building is old and somewhat confusingly built by saying hey, let's pretend that was on purpose.  So the decorations in this art deco hotel are all very, you know, art deco--it's really unfortunate that I don't know a synonym for "art deco," isn't it--and this turned out to be a real problem for me during check-in.

The front desk girl gave me my key and told me to take the elevator to my floor; she pointed to the right as she said "elevator," which I'm guessing is usually enough instruction to give someone about the location of an elevator in a 20 x 30 foot lobby.  But when I turned to the right, all I could see was doors, and I got really confused.  I walked a little further down the lobby, but didn't see any elevators, so I turned back around and looked at the receptionist.  She pointed her thumb again in the same direction, and I looked where she was gesturing and I saw no elevator.  I was totally baffled, and I didn't want to make eye contact with the receptionist again because she was already looking at me like she was wondering if I was some kind of time traveler who was unfamiliar with modern conveniences.

I was starting to feel really helpless and momentarily comtemplated bolting out the door and sleeping on the street, but fortunately at that moment a couple stepped out of one of the doors on the wall and I realized it WAS the elevator.  It was just some stupid art deco shit that had a fancy retro door in FRONT of the regular elevator door.  Like I was supposed to be able to figure that out by myself.  Please.

10 Reasons to Cringe

If you have a few minutes to commit to watching all the various clips, this look at 10 terrible celebrity interviews is very worthwhile indeed.  Ben sent it to me the other day and I proceeded to watch every single one.

A good many of these are painfully awkward, from the college reporter in #10 who is interviewing John Cusack under the mistaken impression he was in American Beauty, to the extremely tense Tom Green clip at #2.  #8 is the Tracy Morgan clip that I love, the one where he goes on a daytime talk show in Texas and predicts that at some point during his two days in the state, "Somebody's gonna get pregnant."

Recent Awkward Moment, Written in the Present Tense So You Can Feel the Uncomfortableness Right Along With Me

At the grocery store, I am standing and staring blankly and intensely at nothing in particular as I wait to pay for my groceries.  I'm fidgety, so I begin to crack my knuckles.  One of them stubbornly refuses to pop, so I employ the motion I always do when this happens: I make a fist with that hand and then repeatedly pound it against the palm of my other hand a few times.

Suddenly, I become aware of the fact that two lines over (in the general direction I am staring in), a young woman with a baby is looking at me with a mix of terror and confusion.  I realize she thinks I have been staring at her, but I don't get why she looks so afraid. Then I realize that the motion I am using to crack my knuckles is the exact same as the menacing motion the bad guys in movies usually make when they are threatening to punch someone.

Please tell me I am not the only person who goes into the store to buy Pop Tarts and ends up borderline assaulting women and small babies.