1. Having a hangover. I can hardly even go outside with a hangover anymore without feeling like if I don’t take off my clothes and get into sweats, lie down, cover myself with blankets and start watching a sci-fi/ fantasy epic from the mid ‘80s, I’ll start projectile vomiting on the next person who passes me on the sidewalk. I don’t know what’s happened to me, but now that it has, I’ve become absolutely terrible at having hangovers.
2. Breaking the ice. Saying something appropriately charismatic that makes the opposite party feel welcomed, on-the-same-team and comfortable with my presence – I’m generally pretty terrible at that unless I’ve had some drinks, but if it’s a girl I have a crush on, well, my average is like 1:10.
3. Acting appropriately around babies and small children. I feel incredibly awkward and inept in the presence of tiny human beings, and in this regard the only option I feel I have is ‘resorting to’ speaking to them like adults. It may sound progressive, but it’s actually just me not know what the fuck I’m supposed to say to this little person whose response is no doubt going to be frighteningly original, unpredictable and confounding. Parents probably end up thinking I’m disturbed and kids who will actually remember me will probably think, later in their lives, that I was weird.
4. Pretending to like sex when it’s obviously mediocre. I’m so terrible at pretending to like sex when it’s obviously mediocre that I’ve stopped, like, mid-thrust, and said “Why are we doing this? This is boring. Are you bored? This isn’t that good.”
5. Keeping up with my family. I probably hold the record for most calls from family avoided, most Facebook friend requests/ emails from family never, ever responded to, and most thank-you cards never sent out. I don’t know what it is other than extreme selfishness and disregard for anyone not currently in my line-of-sight, but whatever the full story may be, I’m really, really bad at keeping up with my family.
6. Not sometimes becoming highly convinced in UFOs and other alien stuff. I am one of Those People who have at points been completely and utterly convinced by manipulative, sensational YouTube conspiracy videos about Alien Visitors and Zero-Point Energy and Government Plots, so much that on a number of occasions I’ve earnestly (urgently, even) tried to convince my close friends that we were Being Visited and that Aliens Lived Among Us. I’m not even kidding. I’ve embarrassed myself a number of times with this behavior. I still, like… I… believe. I can’t help it. I’m sorry.
7. Not experiencing shame after a night out. I don’t know what it is about me but I’ve come to the conclusion that I could like save two drowning infants, ‘bag’ a Perfect 10 after beating down some creep that was harassing her, and find two $100 bills on the ground and buy a round of drinks for everyone at the bar, during one night out, and the next day still find something for which I should be Incredibly Ashamed. And once I locate the shameful thing I’ve done, it’s like my brain assumes this weird program of constant, repetitive access of the memory, each one sort of biting my soul and making me cringe in embarrassment. People actually see me cringing in embarrassment. Sometimes I make sounds.
8. Not worrying obsessively about the environmental crisis. Of course, reading this article today didn’t help at all, but regardless, I’m terrible at not worrying obsessively about the environmental crisis. I remember when Peak Oil first became a major concern for Environmental Worriers on YouTube, I actually began buying extra cans of food every time I went to the store; I also purchased a ‘crisis preparedness handbook.’ The environmental crisis freaks me out, and I’m terrible at thinking rationally when another doomsday story breaks. I just let the silent freak-out take over.
9. Witty banter. I don’t know if there’s something wrong with me, but unless I’m with my group of friends, I’m terrible at engaging in witty banter. I don’t even get it most of the time, especially when it’s with like an older clerk that’s ringing up my groceries or something. I simply don’t know how to respond to the folky-family-friendly jokes they’re throwing at me, which I know they expect me to respond with an equally unintelligible reference-quip they’ll laugh at, whether they Get It or not.
10. Being confrontational to strangers. I honestly don’t give enough of a shit if someone accidentally cuts in front of me in the line at the coffee shop to exercise some precedent by confronting them and telling them that they must move to the back of the line. Of course, that’s an incredibly tame/ lame example and I’d probably actually say something, because such a situation reasonably doesn’t even need to be interpreted as a confrontation, but the point is simply that I’m incredibly averse to confronting people I don’t know to the point of actually having real fears of being pranked on those shows that put hidden cameras on you and expose you to a terrible situation – like a waitress shaming a person for being gay or something – and film you not doing anything and actively looking away while a terrible injustice to another human being occurs just five feet away. I am afraid of those shows because I am so terrible at being confrontational to strangers.
11. Grocery shopping. I have this ideal grocery shopping fantasy in which I purchase all local, organic food at the cheapest possible price. I know that’s a weird fantasy, but whatever: the fantasy is actually possible, albeit difficult. To achieve it you must have a knowledge of the average value of everything you buy (so as to recognize when something’s marked up outrageously), a knowledge of which stores carry certain products at a lower price than other stores, and a working, updated knowledge of the sales happening at the grocery stores you frequent. Most importantly, though, you have to spend a lot of focused time at the grocery store itself performing what are basically comparative cost/ benefit analyses of everything you buy by taking into account how much each product is worth by weight, what you need vs. what you don’t need, and the first three factors here listed. Of course I don’t do any of this shit; when I get to the grocery store all that seems to just fly out the door and I just start throwing shit in the basket regardless of its price or if I can make it at home. As a consequence I almost always leave the grocery store feeling like I willfully cheated myself of at least $10 in what could have been saved.