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April 28, 2010

What is one of the most socially painful experiences in the world?

Walking towards them with an elated face, a familiar body takes form in the eyes, a distinct memory of the past. All thoughts of self are momentarily put on hold as the images of times long ago rush to the forefront of the mind. The distance between the two of you resembles miles as your hopes fill in the empty space. Eyes are locked. Shoulders move up and down taking in one last breath before the reconnections between the vocal chords and actual words take form. You speak:

“Hey (fill in the blank), how have you been?”

Excited, overjoyed, you wait for a response. They respond:

“Hey, fine and yourself?”

You hear the loaded reply within the hum-drum monotone voice. Their eyes fall bored, agitated even.

Your face tightens as if tasting something sour.

It’s as though you have walked into a spider web, mouth wide open, fully ingesting the spider itself. You can feel its eight prickly legs trying to travel back up your throat as your body shudders and your mind rehearses the childhood song:

There was an old lady who swallowed a spider/That wiggled and jiggled and tickled insider her/She swallowed the spider to catch the fly/I don’t know why she swallowed a fly/I guess she’ll die…

Staring into that blank, unmoved face you wiggle and jiggle inside waiting for the moment to pass or to get better, or even a momentary death. Instead, you stand there, body paralyzed in social shame wondering:

Did I do something to them in high school? Scratch their car, kick their cat? Is there something in my teeth? Is my fly down? Is it April Fool’s?

You fix your mouth to reply to their forced greeting, but all that seems to come out is:

“Duuurrrrr…”

Followed by and even more unsure:

“Ummmmmmmm…”

You search for a response teetering between cutting your agony short or prolonging the time hoping that their excitement will eventually match yours:

”Oh, I am good…”

You move forward, an unsteady laugh trying to hide your discomfort:

“Hahaha, remember me from (fill in the blank). Remember the time when (fill in another blank).”

You know they remember you, but you toss that out their praying they will conjure up some type of emotion that resembles friendliness. Instead they reply, dryly again:

“Yeah…”

Their shoulders gently quake, as they mimic a fake laugh back at you. Silence attacks. The two of you stand there, each waiting for the others next move. Once again you are on that seesaw, wondering if you should continue the pointless momentum that is getting you both nowhere as your emotions rise and crash against your rib cage. You speak, that excitement still trying to solicit a likewise response:

“Well, it was great seeing you!”

They move past you as their words get lost in the wind:

“Yeah, you too!”

Now you are left with a few options:

  1. You could leap at the back of their neck, using their earlobes as handle bars as you repeatedly bash their face against the ground, forcing them to taste your feelings, all while screaming: “Great to see me too! You liar, liar, liar!” “YOU SUCK!”
  2. You could yell obscenities at them, aiming to make them feel as inferior as you do in that moment. Secretly, you know it won’t do much of a difference – for neither party.
  3. You could stand there and try to collect yourself waiting for the social homicidal embarrassment to fall away from you. You kind of know you will use the provided dagger and repeatedly stab yourself with it as you rehearse the scene in your head for hours on end.
  4. You could cry.
  5. Or, you could smile and walk away knowing you had the courage to acknowledge someone. You remembered them conscious that, even if they didn’t understand it, you confirmed their significance in this world.

I bought a pregnancy test for a dollar.

I stood by and waited for the results to come to life. I patted at my belly and silently hoped that there was life brewing inside, two lines predicting a possible birth.

I laughed!

Needless to say, I won’t be an unwed single father – DON”T JUDGE ME! Hahaha!

The test claims to be over % accurate. I read the instructions in English and Spanish; however, there is still that under 1% chance that it was wrong.

I wonder if I should get a second opinion.

Why not?

It’s only a dollar, right!?!