You know how cartoons in commercials have late-night epiphanies where they sit up straight in bed and their nightcap flies off their head in excitement? I had one of those last night, and I’m still looking for my hat. (Unrelated: It’s totally weird cartoon characters wear hats to bed, even though most of the people I know don’t even wear pants after 7.)
Three Really Good Similes for My Life
– If my life was a city, it would be called Hot Mess and it would be populated by people who couldn’t have a conversation without desperate 45-second silences between topics. Everyone’s credit card would be constantly rejected, and everyone’s last name would be unpronounceable on the first try.
– My life is like being a Blobfish who was raised by a school of Royal Tangs and can’t figure out why his best friend got to star in a Pixar film while no one will make eye contact with him. (That was a joke for all the marine biologist/Disney-enthusiasts out there.)
– My life is as awkward as a list with only two good similes in it when you were looking forward to three.
For me, life is a constant sweaty catastrophe and when I look around, other people’s lives are not like that. Of course, there are people who are as bad or worse than me, but last night I finally figured out what makes my life precisely 673% more awkward than the average human’s. As my friend Jeff has been telling me all along, my reactions to things are what get me into trouble. Once I react to something in a completely stupid way, I spend the rest of the interaction trying to come back from it, which only makes everything worse. This happens with people (read: everyone), animals (read: cats), and even inanimate objects (read: mostly doors and ATM machines).
Recent Examples of Reactions Gone Horribly Awry
– About a month ago, someone I’ve had conflicts with approached my office while I was talking to my officemate, Ashley. A suave, diplomatic person would have smiled disarmingly or maybe said something badass before making an exit. Since I’m not a suave, diplomatic person, I yelled “NOOO!” and then tried to cover it up by pretending I was yelling at poor Ashley, saying things like, “Bad Ashley!” and “Sometimes I have to yell at you!” while shaking my finger a little. Shockingly, no one was fooled.
– Earlier this week at a restaurant, our waiter was the most handsome man in the world, who I may or may not have been casually stalking for the last four years. When my friend pointed this out, I turned purple and forehead veiny, then spent the rest of the meal avoiding eye contact and staring longingly every time he left. When he gave us three pens for four receipts at the end of the night and told us we’d have to fight over them, I slammed my fist into my palm and said something like, “Don’t worry. We’re super good at fighting. We’re the fighting-est.” I left my number on the back of the receipt because it seemed like a good idea after a few drinks and even though he hasn’t called, it’s probably just because he lost it. Right?
– Yesterday morning, I walked into a bookstore and almost bumped into a guy I’ve only talked to via Facebook. Instead of introducing myself like a normal person, I turned around and tried to hide behind a shelf. If someone hadn’t stopped me, I probably would have tried to hide ON a shelf, between the thickest textbooks I could find. Of course the guy I’ve never met saw me do it and of course we made eye contact immediately afterwards, which makes the whole thing infinitely worse than an actual introduction, no matter how uncomfortable, would have been. So now I can never, ever meet him in real life because he’ll be like, “Oh yeah! Didn’t I see you try to squeeze onto a bookshelf to avoid human interaction?” and I’ll be like, “What? Me? You must have me confused with some less-charming contortionist,” but he won’t be able to hear me say it because I’ll have already run away to hide in a trashcan or something.
I really think if I don’t make everyone around me immediately uncomfortable by turning frightening colors or forgetting how words work, things will get significantly less weird. If my initial reaction is a hole and everything I do afterwards digs it deeper, at the end of every interaction I’m metaphorically stuck in a well. If there’s no hole to begin with, then theoretically at the end of future interactions, I’ll be standing in more of a deep ditch. I thought I’d share a few ideas I’ve been kicking around post-ephiphany for other adopted Blobfish like me.
Baby Steps to Reacting Like A Normal Human Being
– Constantly assume some extremely awkward situation is waiting to spring upon you. Not a semi-embarrassing situation or even a pretty terrible one. The sequence of events waiting to attack you are the most uncomfortable anyone has ever experienced in the history of everything. While this may increase your paranoia, it will also mean you are never surprised by anything. The pessimism of this strategy will actually make you an optimist, because whatever happens, you’ll know it could always be much, much worse.
– Take 10 seconds before reacting to any situation. Obviously this does not apply to life-threatening emergencies– if you’re being eaten by a shark, it’s ok to flail around. This tip will negatively impact your athletic career, but honestly, if you have to read this blog for pointers you were probably bad at sports anyway.
– Maybe never speak or move.
I’m going to keep thinking about it and then awkwardly explain it to you with my mouth full when we’re introduced at a party.
P.S.: While looking up ugly fish, I found this list that will make you never want to go swimming again. You’re welcome!