Welcome back to Awkward Situations! In this Episode: The Kid

Picture it: first snow in the city, you just bought your Christmas tree, schlepped the thing home, and now you’re popping back out to go to the pharmacy to be ready when the holiday cold hits…

And as I’m walking home from the pharmacy, going through my mental list, suddenly I hear, “Hello.”

I turn round, see no one, look down and see a kid.

It’s a girl child of about 8, 9, maybe 10… I’m shit with ages, anyway, this thing is underaged and it’s talking to me. No adult in sight. I awkwardly say Hi, and proceed walking. Kid walks along. And it starts walking in my direction. There’s some sort of daycare on this street and about a million schools all around, so I’m assuming she’s from there. Kid complains she forgot her gloves. I tell her to put her hands in her damn pockets.

Meanwhile, inside my head: Who are you? Why are you talking to me? Do I know you? Do you think I know you? Are you in trouble? Do you need help? You seem pretty unperturbed, I must say. Are you in need of social contact? Did your psychologist tell you to build up self-esteem by talking to random strangers? Are you even old enough to have a psychologist?

She asks me if I live around here, like, very detailed. I tell her the building and that’s it. I mean, what if she’s a spy? What if her parents are professional robbers and she’s spying potential ‘customers’?

Meanwhile, inside my head: Okay, now you’re just being silly.

I ask her if she lives around here somewhere. She goes yes (actually lives up the street from me) and proceeds to tell me about snow, and how she likes snow, and how she never writes anything on snowed-on cars like her friends do…

Meanwhile, inside my head: Bish, that’s fun, tho! I do that, and I’m pushing thirty!

… and how she hopes the snow will stay for a bit, and how we got snow for Easter, wasn’t that weird…

I ask her if her mother or father are home and she says not yet. I mean, not unusual, it’s barely 3 pm.

Meanwhile, inside my head: Okay, so what the hell do you want? Do you need a babysitter? A tutor? What? How do I ask a small human if they’re in some sort of trouble without sounding weird?

Kiddo tells me about snowboarding and how she’s getting a new snowboard for Christmas. We’re at my building now, so I try to stir the convo into goodbyes and hope she doesn’t want to come up to my place. Kiddo tells me her hands are so frozen she wonders if she will get her apartment door open. I tell her, atta girl, you can do it. Just kick the door in. (What? I don’t know what to do with that information!) I look around and no one’s followed us so far, street’s as empty as can be, so I guess she’s not going to get kidnapped as she ambles along the thirty or so metres to her building. I keep an eye on her until she’s out of sight anyway.

Meanwhile, inside my head: Strange kid. Should I make sure she’s okay? What was that about? Didn’t seem scared or worried. Just a weird whim what struck her? Oh god, what if she finds out where I live? Please don’t show up randomly!

Up in my apartment I lock all the doors and barricade the windows. Okay, not really, but somehow I feel shaken. Which I don’t get, because literally that was a kid, probably not a miniature ninja assassin who could kill me in my sleep. New level of awkward: can’t even talk to a fucking child. I have a hard enough time talking with adults, but kids are much more preceptive than adults. How do you handle someone with a working bullshit filter?

So I proceed to do boring household tasks at home when suddenly a string of thoughts strike me.

What if she somehow locates me and then I have to find her parents? What if she’s from the future? What if she’s my child from the future? What if she’s a ghost? I mean, it’s getting mighty close to Christmas, that’s a prime time for ghosts. What if she’s the ghost of my potential child from the future which I won’t have through some bizarre  turn of events in which I changed the future accidentally by not eating waffles the day before? Please don’t haunt me, small future ghost!

But seriously, should I call someone? Child protective services? Dog catchers? Anyone? I don’t know what to do, this wasn’t in any of my scripts! Do people these days no longer tell their children not to talk to strangers?

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Welcome back to Awkward Situations! In this episode: The Shopping Expedition!

So while the world keeps riding a roller-coaster to hell, life still goes on. Which in direct consequence means I still have to deal with the nitty-gritty, wibbly-wobbly, wishy-washy nonsense that is life among other people. I think we can all agree that we hate people sometimes. Not me, though; I save on postage and hate them always. Honestly, I’d almost prefer a zombie apocalypse. Hell, I’ll be first in line when they’ll hand out the zombie virus. Lurching around without being aware of anyone that’s not food, sign me right up! At least as a zombie you don’t get accosted by salespeople.

In the course of these human events it became clear one day that I needed a new computer chair, because for some reason this old back is not getting any younger and all the yoga in the world is not helping. So, new chair it is. Can’t do anything about the chair at work, so I’ll have to get one for home. Only problem is, to find out if you like a chair you have to sit in it. Physically. Because they don’t have 3D scans you can do from home. So I need to actually go to an actual store. Any store have any good ergonomic chairs? Yes, Ikea and some other place, both stores at opposite ass ends of nowhere. Actually, one ass end of nowhere is now a huge shopping mall because we’re becoming globalised over here. So I lurch (actually take the tram, then the subway, then another subway, then a ten minute walk) to that horrid place full of shops and people and children and beating-heart zombies who can’t look up from their phones to watch where the fuck they’re going. And apparently despite my obvious discomfort at the multitude of smells, sounds, and visual input, I still look like I’m up to buy a 30 EUR hand cream.

A guy from a booth in the middle of the way suddenly calls me over and first I think I must have dropped something, but no. That guy hands me a soap sample. Out of total brain confusion caused by sensory overload I thank him in English. And then the gates to cosmetic hell open up.

The problem is, despite my best efforts and biggest dreams, and the way I yell at my computer, I’m not exactly a fire spitting bitch, but a nice, mild-mannered person whose greatest regret at the end of life will be that I didn’t tell enough people to get all the way out of my face.

No. No, suspiciously touchy-feely salesman. Thanks for the soap sample, but no. But I’m feeling okay, like, not in full on fight – kill opponent – flight mode, so maybe I can flee by doing my usual routine of pretending I’m not from here? No, not working. Dude’s making small talk, still in English. Asks me where I’m from, tells me where he’s from, tells me all about this nail file, then about this cuticle oil, then about the hand cream… all the while rubbing stuff into my hands and I’m just there like…awkward-girl-meme

Trying to answer the age old question of how to politely tell a person to fuck off, while orchestrating this huge lie about being a grad student from Milton Keynes (no, I don’t know what was thinking when I thought of that!) and I’ll only be here for a year. And he just keeps going. Like, I know you need to make a sale, dude. You were probably spying on me from behind the fake greenery as my directionally confused ass was trying to locate the furniture store, and the vision of a commission was dancing in front of your eyes. I know your kind can smell a tenner a mile off. Or blood. One of the two. But, but, but… I’m not shelling out 30 for a hand cream. I tell him so. I tell him I’ll think about it while buying my new office chair. He says if I have an Austrian boyfriend I could rub it all over his body. I say I don’t think said boyfriend would like that. I make a joke about maybe I’ll ask my boyfriend to get me the stuff for Christmas anyway. He asks me why and I’m just… well, just so. Didn’t he get the joke? He didn’t get the joke. And suddenly he launches into a mini tirade about control within relationships and how back where he comes from they have these men’s/father’s rights groups who restore order within families when there’s problems and at this point I’m like…

target-lady

Someone get me the hell outta here! Somehow the conversation ends with my usual marketer spiel of “I’ll think about it, byyyyyyye….” and I flee. Making a mental note to find another exit from the mall so I don’t have to walk past him again. Text my small scale trauma to my actually existing boyfriend because WTF.

And then the furniture store doesn’t have the chair I wanted to try on (try on? try out? One of those). They miiiiight wanna put that on their website. Like, if they haven’t had that thing for a week, you know. Might be useful to change the little sign that says ‘in stock’. Because at this point it’s a barefaced, clean shaven, bold font lie.

Whyyyyyyy?

It’s the little things that confirm my hatred for most of my species. Milton Keynes me also hates people. Everyone of my fabricated personalities hates people. I’m just not made for the public.

Also, please tell me I’m not the only one pretending to be someone else when faced with a situation I can’t handle.

Also also, an hour later when I was finally home I discovered that cream gave me a rash. My usual 2,59 hand cream doesn’t do that.

And now I have to retreat to my bedroom, draw the curtains, shut fair daylight out, and make myself an artificial night in which I can ignore the world. Cheers.

No really, what DO you get if you cross a snowman with a vampire?

Why did I ever think this was a good idea?

I went to a holiday party. You could say it was an office holiday party. I was talked into this. I lasted less than two hours.

At my age I should be good at this. I should be able to make small talk. I should not be in a the middle of a crater of people all talking with each other and around me. I should be able to join a conversation. Not become social ground zero.

But I do. Every time. Without fail. At least no one can complain I’m rude; I’m sure no one even noticed I was there.

Maybe it was because the party came at the end of an already long day. Maybe my social quota was already drained. Entirely possible. Or maybe I’m just the same socially awkward dork I’ve always been. Also entirely possible. And not ‘adorkable’ or whatever that godawful word is (think Zooey Deschanel or any other hot chick with glasses), but really just… sort of there. Nothing to say. No safe topics. I need a workshop. And maybe cue cards.

You know how in theatres they have prompters that help actors out if they forget their lines? I need one of those. In real life. I mean, I feel like that’s a gap in the market. Social Situation Prompters. Imagine all the job opportunities for extroverts!  I could pay one to follow me around inconspicuously and then go to some other person, “Oh, hi! The Grad Student was just telling me about her research, weren’t you?” And then the other person would just have to ask about it, right? Or another, my SSP could just linger behind my back and then when I run out of things to say whisper in my ear: “Weather!” Or with the rise of google glasses they could follow me online and send me my lines directly. Imagine the possibilities!

In reality I just sit there, smile and nod to conversations I’m not part of and can’t even really hear over the din and the music (auditory processing problems, anyone?), feel left out and excuse myself early. Keep smiling. Come up with excuse. Prior engagement. Have to leave now. It’s been so nice. Happy holidays to you, too!

And go home and cry. And whine on the internet.

Prooobably smiled too much. Dead giveaway. Urgh.

And what really breaks my heart is how when I say my goodbyes everyone goes “Aw, already? But it’s barely x o’clock, why don’t you stay?” like I just walked in the door and announced I’m leaving after five minutes. I don’t get it. You won’t even notice I’m gone, I promise.

I mean, I’m not blaming anyone but myself for my lack of social interaction or social skills. It just, y’know, kinda hurts that I can’t do it properly like other people can.

I’m just more of a one-on-one person. Single serve. Elevator, no more than six people. Rehearsed, not improv.

I probably called someone by the wrong name, too. Urgh.

I’ve been listening to this song since I came home:

This girl is about ten years younger than I am. So I guess this make me living proof that this kinda thing does not get better with age.

Urgh.