Friday, January 21, 2011

A realization

Something has dawned on me lately.

I thought maybe it was just a collection of isolated incidents. But when I objectively take a look, the evidence is clear.

I am the most awkward person on the earth.

I don't know how this happened. Have I always been awkward? Is this a new development? Do I have a brain tumor that has caused the part of my brain responsible for social norms to cease functioning? I'm not sure. But the fact remains.

Case Study #1: The Phone. Oh goodness. Every time my phone rings, I break out into a cold sweat. I procrastinate making phone calls for days, and sometimes rehearse what I need to say before dialing. And voicemails... Have mercy. Here is a classic example of all voicemails ever left by me: "Oh. Hi. I was just calling because..... I just wanted to know if you.... Oh wait, no, um, I was just.... Do you? I think I left my wallet at your house, but I can't remember if I was at your house or at the gym or... (long distracted pause while I try to remember how to speak English and also try to pick up whatever I inevitably knocked over/spilled while I was pacing around the house) Anyway. It might be there. So, if it is, could you call me back and tell me? Or I mean, if it isn't you can still call me back. Or whatever you want to do. You don't have to call me back. Um. Ok. So bye. Oh and this is Amy. And do you have my number? It's 817- oh wait- you can just see it on your missed calls. This is Amy. Bye."

No wonder people don't return my calls. They'd have to schedule out 3 hours of time to get through my babbling before I come up with something coherent!

Case Study #2: Nothing says "you are awkward" like listening to the sound of one of your failed attempts at humor fall to the floor. We were doing gait (running stride) analysis training at my internship this week, and I was the guinea pig for everything. I was lying on the table with my shirt rolled up while they all tried to put the reflective markers on my back. It was kind of an awkward moment in and of itself. But I decided it would be nice to kick the uncomfortableness up a notch. They couldn't get the marker to stick to my skin and I was like, "Oh, sorry, I forgot to shave my back this morning." ... Not even one chuckle. That made the situation about 50 times more awkward. Another time, they were setting up the rear view camera, and I could see them focusing in on my butt on the screen, and I said, "Hope you all are enjoying the view back there." I think some crickets came from outside just so they could chirp through the silence on that one. Man.

Case Study #3: I wish someone would publish some guidelines for proper handshake and hugging protocol. We dropped by the O-Club tonight so Cary could talk to some Commander guy. I met 3 of Cary's friends there and I managed to make awkward moments out of each one of those. Shaking hands is my worst fear. I don't think I have ever exchanged a hand shake that wasn't weird. And don't even get me started on goodbye hugs. A woman from church came over to my house and as she was leaving, she looked like she was going to shake hands so I went for the handshake right as she went for the arm-around-the-shoulder squeeze and I was left with my hands trapped in between us, kind of flailing about. That kind of thing just makes you want to go take a shower. Smooooth.

Case Study #4: My co-worker was recently telling me about something really sad that had happened to her. Here is when my awkwardness really shines. How on earth do non-impaired people respond to such things? Because here are about the only 2 responses that ever come to mind: "Dang, that sucks." or "Bummer." Maybe a shoulder pat or 2. It's not like I don't empathize. I really do, and I wish I were capable of being there for someone and listening and having the correct responses.

Case Study #5: Small talk is such a struggle for me. My sister jokingly gave me some conversation starter cards when I went to college so I could make friends. Funny joke, except I wish that it wouldn't be considered weird if I actually used them. When I was dating Cary, I would sometimes look through the questions and pick out good ones just in case we ran out of things to talk about while we were on a date. This is a mortal fear of mine. I don't like striking up conversations with strangers because I dread that moment when you both are like, "Well, we've really exhausted all the small talk I can think of, and now I want to leave, but I'm not really sure how, so I'm going to continue to babble about my dog."

This is getting lengthy. I could go on for hours. But the evidence is conclusive: I am awkward. I need to take a class on how to act like a normal human being.

Or maybe I will just stay inside for the rest of my life.


  1. Sarah...I think you and I are officially stalkers...the end...and I think I just peed my pants laughing so hard

  2. OH my Amy you had Me cracking up! I promise it does get better with age but if you recall I still can't order food over the phone for the exact reason stated above.

  3. You are so HiLaRiOuS!!!! I LOVE reading your blog because it seriously makes me laugh and one of those laughs that feels good! FUN!!! So what if you are slightly awkward! I appreciate the awkwardness! Just continue being yourself & one day you will feel normal! Keep up the good work!!!

    Ashlie : D

  4. #1 - i usually panic when i hear the beep on the voicemail, hesitate, take a shaky breath so that all you hear on the other line is heavy breathing, then hang up. and go wipe off my sweaty hands. or i leave a 30 minute message (do you get cut off by the machine too?)
    #2 - come watch me around my inlaws. they don't get my humor. it's unfortunate.
    #3 - i thought i was the only one. and don't even get me started on the fist-bump/special handshake people.
    #4 - my "best" response (and by "best" i mean "normal and unfortunate") is "oh." yeah. people really like that.
    #5 - growing up, my mom would practice conversations with us in the car. she would pretend to be the new girl in the ward or whatever. it didn't help. still awkward.

    and just to make things more awkward, i leave really long comments on people's blogs, trying to convince them we are the same.

  5. Oh Amy. You crack me up. I'm sure I do awkward things, and if I were more conscious of myself, I could prbly come up with some case studies too. But your case study #2 (where your humor fell flat) TOTALLY made me laugh... so if I were there, I would have been rotfl with you. :) So its not you, I think thats a result of people not getting it.

    Thanks for the good laugh. :)

  6. You're not awkward! All of us have social anxiety of some sort! My husband refuses to call my parents because he's scared. So I get it :)
    Plus I'm super clumsy myself!
    PS your posts are super funny if that makes up for anything!