Chronically Awkwards Anonymous

chronically awkward, klutz, oops,

Technically it’s not possible for those of us who are chronically awkward to remain anonymous. It’s not something we can easily hide. I know this for a fact.

As a child I had a brief taste of popularity. Then I walked into a giant concrete post.

As a teen my life was changed when I fell headlong into the locker of a boy I had a crush on.

As a young adult I accidentally committed a vast rudeness in reaction to a gentleman’s politeness.

As a working professional I was attacked by rampant vegetation disguised as a salad.

These aren’t the only incidents. Oh no. I’ve finally given up all hope that someday I’ll be naturally graceful or at least gifted with the wisdom to know when to shut up. I try to console myself that living beyond humiliation is a spiritual quest. That doesn’t always work. What does work is knowing there are other chronically awkward people out there who, like me, go forth with the best intentions but somehow manage to mangle language or misunderstand gravity. They are my kinfolk.

I talked with someone recently who also claims chronically awkward status. Jessie is smart, funny, and adorable so I was skeptical. She and I were attending a mutual friend’s birthday party. I’d gotten there early on a steaming hot afternoon to carry chairs out of the house and set up tables. As people arrived I arranged potluck offerings on tables. I was happy to stand around chatting by the time Jessie arrived.

She and I shared a few of our awkward stories. She told me about having to attend a swanky fundraiser where she felt overdressed and out of place. Introduced to her husband’s boss for the first time, she blurted out a political observation that (she recognized immediately) was the opposite of his stance. I laughed too hard in sympathy (another of my awkward traits*). I shared the horrible thing I accidentally said to my neighbor when we first moved here. It’s far too awful to put in print but Jessie kindly laughed too hard in response. Even though I wasn’t convinced she was truly awkward, we chortled about forming an awkwards-only organization.

A tall woman arrived with a beautiful wooden tray of artfully arranged olives and squares of goat cheese, all sprinkled with fresh herbs. Perched on the tray was a tiny olive fork, the sort of thing gentlefolk use to deposit a single olive on their plates. I gestured to the table where she could set down the tray. She offered an olive to me.

Only after I stuck out my hand to seize one did I realize I wasn’t within immediate range of the olive tray. I propelled one foot forward while saying “Oooh, olives,” as if to prove I’m unable to engage in clever repartee.

I should have taken two short steps to be close enough but instead I lurched at her in one giant orangutan-ish* move. At the same time I lifted my arm way up, as short people have to do, in order to grab an olive. The approach of a middle-aged barbarian clearly alarmed her. She quickly lowered the tray in deference to my height and obvious clumsiness just as I reached up with thumb and finger in olive-gripping mode. The force I’d deemed necessary to lift one gleaming brown fruit was too much. My hand hit the tray. At least a dozen olives shot scattered. One lump of goat cheese thwacked wetly on the table next to me.

In my defense, I have an essential tremor that’s much worse after I’ve held anything heavy, so maybe I can blame the olive debacle on my post-chair-carrying hands. Probably not. I think is has more to do with my veeery slow adjustment to the physics on this planet.

From the corner of my eye I noticed that Jessie didn’t know whether to rush over to help pick up olives or pretend she didn’t know me. Aaaaakwaaard. I guess she’s kin to me after all.

awkward, klutz,

*I promise to laugh way too long if you share an awkward story.

*No besmirching of orangutan gracefulness intended.

22 thoughts on “Chronically Awkwards Anonymous

  1. I can’t think of an example this early in the am but, I am so heartened to know that I am not alone. My awkardness usually comes from blurting out some odd thing at the wrong moment.
    Just having a lable will help me laugh the next time it happens.
    Thank you, for standing up and admitting your awkardness!;)
    And… love your blog… hope that wasn’t too awkward.


  2. Oh so funny! I have thousands of awkwardness stories (both physical and verbal) I could tell you, for I manage to do something stupid every day of my life – but trawling through them to find one suitable would leave me a cringing wreck! ;-)


  3. My fundamental klutziness has been considerably enhanced by peripheral neuropathy in my hands and feet after chemo. Now, I can drop chocolate milk over a total stranger’s white pants, bags of flour on my newly washed kitchen floor, and the same item three times while trying to peg it on the line. All because I’m convinced I have a grip on something but my fingers have other ideas… The extra loud embarrassed voice or laugh is all my own, though.


  4. I’ve always felt I was the clumsiest person on the planet. I can actually drop a cup without doing anything else. I’m just standing there with a cup in my hand and then it’s on the floor. Coffee cups are my favorite though, preferably right after I fill it with hot coffee. My sons find it quite amusing.


  5. It was the end of a wonderful summer and I was nearly 14. Giggling and chipping at my nail polish was no longer going to distract my older (12th grade!) boyfriend from finally giving me my first kiss. Where did I get the notion you were supposed to hold your breath for the duration? I finally had to pull away, to breathe and pee. I got up to go down the hall to the bathroom, and was soooo dizzy, I walked right into the wall, face first. My next to last memory of him was his laughter. My last memory of him was at a beach party (days of Gidget). He was with a new girlfriend, his own age! I recognized the wisdom of that.

    Sagittarius women are not known for their grace, but rather for their good humor!


      • Oh goodness, it was all just funny, no offense intended or taken! I was the same girl who stuffed her bikini top with toilet paper and then watched mortified as little pieces of tp covered the surface of the pool and then floated to and clogged the drain. I hadn’t noticed it until my bff pointed it out to everyone around her pool. That boy was among the kids there that day.

        I’ve always loved making people laugh. Laughing at yourself is an easy way to put others at ease, it lets them know you’re not a threat…good tip for pretty girls at the mirror in the ladies room.

        We were not so objectified or sexualized by the media in those days (1960). Our humor included what we called “chopping” – wry, sarcastic but good natured teasing. It was not even remotely as mean as it can get nowadays.

        3 yrs later, I traumatically learned it was no longer safe to rely solely on your smile to get out of danger, though it saved me a few times. Even freshman frat boys could be as dangerous as any other predators of innocent, trusting girls… and older males, good heavens! Sadly, nothing has changed 50 yrs later. The truth is just now finally coming to light, young women have been getting raped all this time, just not given the support to report it and get justice and change the societal moral codes and the equality of power our gender should have.


  6. I was staying as paying guest in the begining of my tenth grade– during the summer vacations as my whole family went to native place and I unfortunately had extra classes so dint go. My aunt who was working accompanied me coz she too needed a safe shelter and also coz my mom was paranoid about leaving me alone. My aunt , another lady and me shared a room.
    On one of weekends i decided to go to my native. As soon as i came back from class,i apcked hurriedly , waved everyone good bye and got into the bus only to realise that i had worn two separate slippers. One my own and other belonged to the other lady in the room.


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