Don’t Worry, Be Happy

It may have come to your attention that I can be a little neurotic. I like to think that it’s the charming kind of neurotic, sort of like Woody Allen but with less “married to my adopted daughter”, which obviously would never happen because a) it’s creepy and b) I still have commitment issues.

Woody and I do, however, share an excellent taste in corrective lenses.

Woody and I do, however, share an excellent taste in corrective lenses.

If you suspect that you, too, have a touch of the neurosis about you, I do not suggest reading the Wikipedia page about it. Here’s a fun sample: “The term essentially describes an ‘invisible injury’ and the resulting condition.” Invisible injuries? That’s precisely the kind of thing that keeps high-strung, anxious people such as myself awake at night.

The whole page is pretty scary, but I was pleased to read that the list of symptoms includes dependency and aggressiveness, which I can safely say I haven’t demonstrated. (Don’t you guys think I’m independent and unaggressive? Don’t you? DON’T YOU?!)

Anyway, you will not be shocked to hear that a lot of things in this world make me very uncomfortable. As users of the internet, I’m sure you’re very aware that there are a lot of things on this super weird planet that would make anyone uncomfortable. In fact, that’s basically the entire premise of 4chan. Those aren’t the kinds of things I’m talking about, though. There are things that normal people do every single day that make me so inexplicably uneasy that I sometimes lose the ability to function.

Things that Make Me Incredibly Uncomfortable for No Good Reason

1. Getting food in buffet-style situations. I’m really good at eating food. I list it on my resume, right above “Experience with Adobe Creative Suite” and “Naturally Big Hair”. I’ll eat almost anything in front of anyone, and I’m even pretty good at ordering food once I understand the menu. For some reason, I cannot put food on my plate in a buffet line without becoming extraordinarily self-conscious about my pasta salad-scooping etiquette or worrying I’ll squirt condiments on everyone.

2. Telling people what I’m reading. Sometimes I read incredibly embarrassing things like romance novels, or Cosmo. Most of the time, however, the stuff I read is not embarrassing at all. Nevertheless, I immediately get weird when someone asks what I’m reading. It’s not that I don’t like talking about books. In fourth grade I went as Jo March from Little Women for Halloween. The year after that, I picked a Harry Potter-themed costume. Not Hermione, or Ginny Weasley, or even Harry. I asked my mom specifically for a Professor McGonagall costume. That’s the kind of thing that invites discussion and concerned looks. I’ll happily talk for hours about my Song of Ice and Fire theories, but for the love of all that is holy, let me bring them up on my own.

For example, I strongly believe Jon Snow knows nothin'.

I’m pretty sure Jon Snow knows nothin’.

3. Talking about children to parents. I was a kid myself fairly recently, but I remain incapable of having a conversation about them with parents. I think it’s because of my lack of personal experience. I just know the next thing out of my mouth is going to be, “How ’bout those babies, huh? Can’t… shake… those guys…” and then I’ll kind of trail off and try as hard as I can to sink into the floor.

4. Using the telephone. I spent five months in a job where my only duty was to call total strangers and ask them for favors, 12 hours a day. The accidental immersion therapy failed, though. I still approach the phone like it’s a wild animal that’s going to bite my face off as soon as I put the receiver to my ear, and I should pay people to listen to the messages I leave. Damn you, Alexander Graham Bell!

5. People seeing my toothpaste tube. Within three days, all of my toothpaste tubes end up with a huge glob of dried up paste surrounding the mouth. I’ve never been able to get through a tube cleanly, so I’ve stopped trying. Now I just pull off the glob every few days, only sometimes I forget, and then people come over and see my super gross toothpaste glob on the tube and probably make assumptions about my dental hygiene. And of course I’m self-conscious about my teeth already, so I have to unfriend them without telling them why and hope they move to another country, and it’s all because of that STUPID GLOB ON THE STUPID TUBE.

Crest MultiCare Whitening toothpaste

This is not my toothpaste. I will never show you my toothpaste.

6. Marriage proposal videos. Aw. They’re so in love! He’s so creative! She’s so happy! What kind of monster doesn’t like marriage proposal YouTube videos? THIS KIND. If they’re in public, I can’t stop thinking about how weird that probably was for the strangers who didn’t know what was happening. If they’re elaborate musical numbers, I keep picturing the dude asking his relatives to participate in a gooey, choreographed love fest. Bleh.

7. Listening to someone else’s favorite song with them. Unless the person insisting that you listen to their favorite song is your soul mate, and all of your interests match up so perfectly you’ve begun to wonder if you’re actually twins separated at birth who should absolutely not be in a relationship, there’s a good chance that the song they pick is not also your favorite song. It’s really hard to fake the level of enthusiasm people expect. I don’t know the “This Is A Musical Revelation!” face and if I did, I would make it in private because it’s probably not attractive.

I wish I wasn’t like this. I want to seize the day like the self-realized people that Wikipedia article talks about. One psychoanalyst compared achieving self-realization to being like an acorn that grew into a tree. I feel like a acorn with a growth sticking out of it that might become a tree but might also turn out to be a mutated fungus that everyone’s immediately afraid of.

Maybe I am seizing the day, in my own way. I’m squeezing every last drop of awkward out so I can experience it all.

Also, this just happened.

Also, this just happened.


  1. Idigina

    #7 made me think. Is it weird of me that I prefer to communicate in sharing music? Me: “You wanna know how I feel? I feel like ”.
    Tell me I”m not the only one who fails at communication that hard.

    • Boushra Dalile

      You’re not alone – that’s the case for me as well. Apparently I’m too bad with words I have to rely on other’s. The thing is, not everybody gets the “I feel like” implied mode of music-sharing communication. Music is arguably something that not everyone’s willing to understand in the same way – we have different tastes and songs evoke a wide range of emotions in different people. It’s a sad reality that those closest to you might also find it an odd way of communicating.

      • Timewalkerauthor

        My ex-girlfriend and I both (thankfully) were bad about that. I don’t have any idea how many songs we exchanged, just to get a point across…come to think of it, when she broke off the relationship, that’s how I answered her. Not so crazy, even if it is a little strange.

  2. Georgia's Bath Products

    #4 is one of mine, too. I worked for an answering service for over a year and then handled billing (and all those lovely patient not paying calls) for years. If someone wants to speak to me text or come by. Lol. I also have a weird one – if someone comes over and the stovetop isn’t perfectly clean, then I feel as if the guest is going to think horribly of my domestic abilities. Even if they don’t go in the kitchen; it’s my blob on the toothpaste. :)

  3. TheRelaxationSpecialist

    This is hilarious! I watch those wedding videos with tears in my eyes and a huge knot in my stomach. How embarrassing, no??? And the tooth paste…I keep thinking I’m going to clean it off…and then there’s more outside then inside…how does that happen? Nice post!

  4. ksbeth

    i can totally understand this. i have a hatred/fear of telephone conversations as well. i prefer for someone to leave me a message and i’ll leave them a message in response. don’t know why but that’s the way it is.

  5. Vincent Borgese

    I have to say, I enjoy your writing ………………… and the video ………………. well, it put a smile on my face for the afternoon. Regarding the favorite song thing …………….. my daughter would do it to me, often, and I to her. It’s ’60s/’70s versus ’00s/’10s. Torture, pure torture. She would sit patiently through mine (almost), and I would do my best to listen attentively to hers, nod with approval, and hope for a phone call. That’s love.

  6. brokenbelladonna

    I too love music but hate people saying “Hey listen to this, you’ll love it”… you feel obliged to ‘love’ it even tho most people rarely love a song on first listen. I had a friend burn me a whole CD of music that he was going to sit with me and listen to, to analyse every damn song. Thank heck that never happened. HELL.

  7. Sasha

    Buffets: first of all, I no longer eat in front of people if I can help it. But even before that twist occurred, buffets made me lose my appetite. Seeing people pile food on their plates makes me not want to eat at all. How do you explain that to people who don’t have food issues? I just say I can’t handle buffets and allow them to come to their own conclusions. Of course, I never go out to eat anymore so no doubt they’ve come to some conclusion about that too, haha.

    Phones: yeah, I’m a texter. I still have friends who don’t text and I’m forced to talk to them, ugh. I think it might be because I have to come up with clever, witty, intelligent answers immediately. I can’t do that and end up feeling stupid. Maybe that is why I prefer writing. I can proofread my writing, I can us the dictionary for words I ought to know but don’t. I can put my thoughts together before saying it. You can’t proofread a real time conversation.

    Proposals and kids: um well, I hate kids. I put up with them when necessary and for some odd reason they always love me. Maybe it’s like cats always going to the person that is either allergic to the or doesn’t like them. Proposals? I dislike all things romantic. If people kiss, or worse, have sex, on some TV show/movie, I mute it or fast forward. I stick to sci-fi, crime dramas and action/suspense shows but inevitably someone sneaks a bit of romance into one of them.

    Music: I was overseas for a period of time and also grew up in a music restricted home, i.e., only classical music, so my knowledge is bill and my interest follows close behind. People are always making recommendations and sometimes I politely write the name down in my phone for a future listen but never do. When a sufficient period of time goes by,mi delete it and if asked, can always say my phone was wiped or something. :-D

  8. battlewagon13

    Great post – i share most of them – but apparently have no trouble loading my plate at a buffet. The one that always gets me is when one of my kids comes up behind me while I’m reading something on the iPad. I don’t know why, but it absolutely drives me bonkers. Maybe I don’t want them to see who I’m following on Twitter.

  9. Timewalkerauthor

    Oh, my…the telephone, the telephone. The bane of my existence. I love the cell phone, but only because of all the NON-speaking functions. Text is great, chat is better, and the ability to surf the internet on a handheld device is nothing short of a miracle. But talking on the phone? Can I just shoot myself instead? And I have to do it as a part of my job, now that they actually trust me with an office and some responsibility. My voicemails are a thing of wonder and terror for all who hear them. Great post!

  10. pastramibasket

    I’m beginning to believe #3 never gets easy if it isn’t already. And what’s even harder is interacting with children. It’s so hard when they don’t understand sarcasm.

  11. Madame Weebles

    I get paralyzed in buffet lines too. I’m worried that I’ll use the wrong spoon or tongs, or that people will think, “That’s a weird combination of foods, freak” or something. As for the telephone, I’m pretty sure that Alexander Graham Bell was the devil. I hate the phone. HATE. IT. And I never know what to say to parents with babies. “So…does he do anything besides…sit there staring blankly and drooling?”

  12. Pingback: Dumb All Over | Listful Thinking

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