I am the poster child for social awkwardness. Here are two stories of my recent social fails:
- The other night, I was on my way to an informational meeting regarding changes to my state’s waiver funding program for autism therapy. I was lost in my thoughts on this topic, worried about how this will affect my children. I decided to swing by McDonald’s and grab a coffee on my way. As I pulled up to the drive though, I was straining to read the coffee options on the sign. I hadn’t ordered coffee there in years, but I knew they had debuted their new “McCafe,” and there were lots of different options now. I could barely read the tiny words on the sign, and I was overwhelmed by the choices. The worker was asking for my order. I totally blanked out. I stammered “Uh, I’m just, um, trying to see what you have for coffee?” In response, she rattled off about 47 different things in quick succession. I think I ordered a small vanilla latte (my “usual” order everywhere). I was so busy berating myself for that humiliating failure of an encounter that I apparently drove right past the payment window without paying. When I got up to the next window, the worker handed me my coffee and chirped, “have a nice night!” Now I was really caught off guard and confused. Something was wrong. This wasn’t the usual ordering routine! But she had already closed the window! Now what?! There were cars behind me, so I could not back up to the previous window. I had to wait (while my stress level rose), catch the worker’s eye, gesture to her to come back, and then stammer “Um, I didn’t pay yet?” Since there was no register at this window, they had to take my debit card back to the other window and then come back and give me the receipt. At this point I had shrunk so far down into my seat that I was practically on the floor in a puddle of embarrassment. Not sure it was really worth it for the mediocre latte. LOL
- The morning following the coffee incident, I was taking part in a market research study. I have done these before and they are relatively straightforward; try out products and answer questions about them. I showed up a couple minutes late (as always) and the waiting room was full except for one chair, which I had my eye on. I had to go to the front desk to get signed in, and then I was going to sit down in that chair. Right at that moment, a woman came in to read the instructions for the study to everyone. Where she was standing, she was right in the way of the route I would have to take to get to the only open chair. I thought it would be rude to walk right in front of her, interrupting her recitation of the rules. So, I figured I should just stay standing where I was, near the desk, and basically right beside the woman. Little did I know, the rules would be several pages long! I stood there awkwardly for what seemed like an eternity, shifting my weight from foot to foot, all eyes in the room staring pointedly in my general direction. I kept thinking I should just go to the chair. But that would be rude! And after I’d already been standing there for a few minutes, it would have seemed really odd to abruptly start walking to the chair. So I was stuck. I had to stay there. I’m pretty sure it was at least an hour before she stopped speaking and put me out of my misery. She exited the room and I slunk to the chair with my tail between my legs, in a walk of shame.
I swear, these things only happen to me!!!