Sometimes I don’t understand people who call themselves “awkward.” Really? It’s that difficult for you to just say anything? Come on, we are all in this haywire dinner party we call “reality,” together.
I’m not talking about true difficulty. Say your bird was just murdered in cold-blood, or you have a diagnosed condition rendering human interactions challenging, or your tongue is numb because you went to a cheap dentist who assured you that everything was “fine,” but when you asked when the tongue numbness would wear off, the dental assistant said, “Wait, what? Your tongue should not be numb.” And the dentist said, “Huh? That’s weird.” and “I think I read about this once.”
I wouldn’t call any of that “awkwardness.” I can understand those things completely. Especially trying to talk to someone and being distracted by a potential malpractice suit, while drooling out the side of one’s mouth. That is not what I am talking about. I’m not talking about becoming a slave to pretense, either. I’m talking about becoming a walking, talking, or really, a stumbling, mumbling, Zooey Deschanel television character.
Sometimes coasting on your “awkwardness” seems kind of selfish. You need to put in the work of being part of the world, even at the conversational level. There is, at least, one other person to think of. The one who is right there with you, making the mistake of existing in this place and at this time. They’re following the standard procedure of interactions, for their sake, for your sake, for the sake of the goddamn occasion.
Sometimes I don’t really see what is so fucking awkward about every piece of life’s excruciating minutia. Sometimes I just don’t understand adult humans who call themselves “awkward.” I said sometimes. Some other times I do, absolutely, understand. Sometimes I am one of them. Those times involve women.
I want to formally apologize to every woman I’ve ever kissed. Not for the kiss, but for the idiotic, confusing, verging on nonsensical, thing I’ve said or done right before it happened. I don’t need to be more specific than that. Not because I’m attempting to protect anyone’s privacy, but because it’s happened so many times (relative to the whatever the totally normal number of lucky times I’ve kissed someone, I mean.) I know this, because of the vice grip of embarrassment I feel merely remembering these events.
I also want to apologize during these instances for vagaries when I was asked a direct, concise and overall fair question—like, for instance, “What is your name?” I want to apologize for seeming like a dimwit, for passing out despite sobriety, for spilling a variety of things, for breaking a chair once, for saying the sentence “Do you want to Susan?” to someone who was not named Susan. By the way, what the hell kind of verb is “Susan,” brain? You fucking devious, sabotaging bastard.
I apologize for blushing. I apologize for allowing silence to periodically own us. Most of all, I want to apologize for the silences. It’s not because I’m bored, or I’m not listening. It’s because I’m fascinated.
My thoughts aren’t able to move as quickly as they should through my brain. It’s because they keep stopping along the way to celebrate the victory of your smile, or your phrasing, or your mannerism, or your weird childhood collection. Anyway, this behavior recedes over time. Or more accurately, I learn—not unlike a teenage werewolf—to mostly control it around said woman.
However, I still shy away from calling the problem I have “awkward.” I just don’t feel comfortable. There’s a more appropriate word for my specific predicament. I think it’s called a “crush.”