I am sitting contemplating kicking myself in the face, thinking about this one incident that happened when I was at Campus Square strolling the aisles of Pick n’ Pay.
I ran into KB, a guy I know from church. We say “Hi” and he holds out a fist, to fist pump me of course. The confusing thing was that, with that same hand, he was holding a pack of diapers. So, in my perfectly sane head, he is giving me the diapers because in a parallel world in my head, people go to supermarkets, pick up diapers and give them to random people who do not have babies.
I am sure you can imagine the whole two minutes of him pulling back his kids’ diapers and trying to fist pump my very confused hand which was now going for a handshake.
I hate being awkward. It’s like every part of your body is constantly looking for a way to betray you. It’s fishing for a way to make you look like you constantly do not know what you are doing or why you’re doing it. You are the guy always going for hugs when the other person is going for a high five.
Let me tell you about another time I looked like myself, the person who doesn’t know why she does stupid things. It was after church. We were just having coffee and mingling. Luthando, a friend of mine who also has her funny moments, is talking to these two guys, brothers, Tim and Brandon. I am just sort of there but not contributing to the conversation (because well, I am that person whose head moves from face to face in a group interaction, but they never really say much).
I do not remember the subject of the conversation. I just remember Luthando going, “Bye David and John,” at the end of the interaction because she is boss like that. I could not believe this girl! How could she deliberately get their names wrong like that? I had to jump in and correct her and, you know, be the better black. My only contribution to the conversation was, “No, Luthando. It’s Tim and David.” My brain was literally two nanoseconds late in reminding me of Brandon’s name. I turned around, slowly, and walked away.
And that’s the thing with being chronically awkward. Your brain is forever just nanoseconds late in thinking of the appropriate thing to do or say. It’s almost like it just chills there, waiting for you to mess up and then goes, “Haha, uyadidiza yazi (you’re slow, you know). You should have shut up instead.”
Being a person who suffers from anxiety, I spend most my time alone mentally kicking myself in the nose for awkward situations I was lead actor in decades ago. My brain recreates those episodes and plays them in a continuous loop. For each episode played, I want to bury myself in hard clay.
I seriously need a cure for my social awkwardness.