the art of being awkward

Five Truths and a Lie or The Art of Compliment Deflection

I have started writing this blog four times now because I almost have too much to say and it’s all trying to come out at once, like when I was a kid and I’d shake up a can of soda and hand it to some unsuspecting small child or senior citizen. Bonus points if it was Pepsi and they were wearing white. Unfortunately I never did that but even thinking about it is sort of satisfying, not gonna lie.

A lot has happened in my life lately. I went to Hawaii and got engaged, I got a new job, I met a really cool lady who does scary accurate tarot card readings, I watched the movie Wild and alternated between sort of bored, really deeply moved and extremely convinced Reese was about to get raped. Maybe I’m hyper paranoid but I truly felt like it was the goal of the director to constantly make it seem like Reese was about to get put in a pretzel and left for dead in the middle of nowhere. That’s why I don’t go on hikes that last hundreds of miles. Because of an elevated risk for rape and also because I just could not rip my own toenail off. If I had a list of things I could not do the toenail ripping off would be on there right along with growing my armpit hair out or drinking tea. In related news (because Laura Dern was Reese’s mom in Wild) I only recently found out that Laura Dern was Bruce Dern’s daughter. It never even occurred to me that they would be related and then I saw them together on the red carpet and thought for the first time about their shared last name and was sort of grossed out for a second thinking they were married.

That’s how things are with me. Really big, quasi important things happen to me but I get fixated on a two hour movie and think about it too much. Earlier this week I was helping my fiance by answering phones for his business when I got a call from someone wanting a large quantity of sod for the next day. Here’s how it went:
Him: Hi I was wondering if I could get some sod.
Me: Sure. How many square feet did you need and what city are you in?
Him: 5700 and San Jose.
Me: Okay and when did you need it?
Him: Tomorrow.
Me: Unfortunately sir we are full for tomorrow. For that big an order I could get you in next Tuesday.
Him: (long pause followed by a sigh) Are you mad at me?
Me: (laughing) I could never be mad at you.
Him: When’s the last time you got truly pissed?
Me: Gosh, it’s been years.
Him: (pausing) Okay just checking. Thank you for your help.

I have thought about that call many times since because I just can’t fathom how this dude exists in the world, asking random customer service associates questions like that out of the blue. I have to think he’d get hung up on a lot but then maybe make some really strange friends once in awhile too.

Luckily or unluckily something happened to me yesterday to bump that conversation out of the running in things I wonder about. A customer came into my best friend’s store where I was working, a dude who is a regular and a pretty nice, genuine guy.
Him: Hey, how’s it going?
Me: Awesome. We’ve been super busy today (the result of an idea my friend and I had on Thursday afternoon to give away free mini strawberry shortcakes to everyone coming into her store, which I promoted with an email imploring people to “take a cake break.” Turns out people love nothing more than cake except free cake and we had our hands full).
Him: Yeah? Cool.
Me: You should try the flavored water. We infused it with dried fruit.
Him: Okay…Wow, it’s good…You look really pretty today.
Me: Thanks…You look really pretty every day.

I swear to God I said that to a grown ass blue collar man. Partly because I am just sort of hard wired to return compliments with compliments and partly because I am just really strange sometimes. It’s a good thing he’s a guy because if he were a quirky chick he might waste too much time wondering how I exist in the world saying dumb things all the time. Fair enough, sir, fair enough.