Monday, December 26, 2011

Verbal Awkwardness: Holiday Edition

In case I ever think that I'm starting to make headway in maneuvering in the world of speaking, something always comes back to remind me how verbally awkward I really am.

Scene 1: While my sister is out with my niece doing some Christmas shopping, I hear a knock on the door.  Assuming it's the mailman (or someone like that) I skip over to the door and open it to find some vaguely familiar person holding out some gifts.  She smiles, "For Anna and the baby."  I look out at her van in the driveway and dumbly nod.  She looks past me and waves to my mother who she knew from previous visits.  Still struck dumb, I just nod.  I don't invite her in.  I don't explain that my sister is out along with my niece.  Instead, I just stand there, awkwardly holding these gifts.  The woman waves again, wishes me a Merry Christmas and runs back to her car.  I walk back inside the house to find another sister laughing at me.  "Why didn't you say anything?  Why didn't you explain that Anna and the baby were out?"  I shake my head.  "I have no idea.  Should I go tell her now before she leaves?"  My sister laughs again, "Yes!  Go run outside and chase her down the street. 'Hold on!  I can explain everything!'"  I laughed back, half ready to do just that.  Instead, I just waited until my sister got home, explained the situation to her and told her to write a really nice thank-you note and apology for her sister.

Scene 2: While waiting to leave church yesterday, a woman walks up to me, "I just want to tell you that you look so much like my daughter that I thought she had driven all the way up here to surprise me at church."  I look at her, take a deep breath, and fight for words to say.  But what can I say?  Struck dumb, I just nod at her and try to look as optimistic as possible.  She smiles at me, still kind of hoping that I was her daughter.  I nod, hoping that her daughter was sitting somewhere else in the chapel.  After this awkward exchange, her other daughter jumps in to save me, "Mom, do you really think she drove all the way up here to sit with another family?"  The mom laughs and the family moves away.  I turn to see my family looking at me curiously.  My sister speaks up, "Why didn't you say anything?"  I look at her, "What could I say?  'I'm sorry your daughter is not here for Christmas?'"  She shrugs.  Is this another one of those moments when you run after them to explain your awkwardness?

I should start just wearing a shirt that reads: Verbally Awkward.  Please excuse.

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