The Art of Awkward
After a grueling seven hours in the library and what was increasingly guaranteeing itself to be a long night, the last thing I wanted to do was hike up the hill to the senior apartments and cook myself a decent, perhaps healthy, well-balanced meal. Half an hour later, as I walked back into the library, Pad Thai take-out food in hand, at 7:45 p.m. on a Saturday night, and sat at the desk I had spent my entire day at, I realized that I was being totally awkward. I mean really, who orders Pad Thai to the library on a Saturday night?!
While savoring my meal, I began to contemplate the true meaning of awkwardness. I quickly realized that the number of awkward moments and the frequency with which they occur is plentiful. More importantly, I determined that whereas in middle and high school awkwardness is the epitome of shame and embarrassment, awkwardness in college is an assumed and integrated part of everyday life.
For example, remember all those times in high school when the mere thought of your parents was embarrassing enough to make you run red-faced into the bathroom to hide your shame? Well, this is not the case anymore. With the 2009-2010 school year freshly underway, I have already run into parents at two different "weekend ragers," actively participating in the games. Imagine that! Parents at a party completely intermeshed in the scene, having fun but nonetheless awkward!
Another example, the morning after Halloween you are heading to brunch at Dana with a group of your friends and, low and behold, scampering ahead of you is a girl, scantily clad in her "French maid" costume from the night before, darting across campus, trying to make it back to her room before anyone sees her. You all think, I would not want to be her...the walk of shame, that's awkward!
So once you make it to brunch, you become happily situated at a Dana table and are recounting the tales of the night before and discussing that girl or that guy. But wait, sitting right behind you, listening to every word you say is that person's roommate, good friend, girlfriend or boyfriend. Or, even worse, it's them! I bet you feel really awkward right about now.
And then, only minutes after being overheard gossiping, as you refill your bowl at the noodle bar, you back up into someone that results in a tremendous crash as your bowl falls to the ground, shattering everywhere and spilling all over the nice button-down collared shirt and Nantucket red vineyard vine shorts of the person you just ran into. As every person in the dining hall turns to stare at you, you think: perfect, just how I wanted to start my morning off...that was so awkward!
Moving on, inevitably this will happen to you, and probably numerous times: You are out at a party somewhere on campus. Eventually you spot a person from one of your classes in the crowd and, thinking it is an excellent idea, make your way over to "befriend" this said person. Great, you have a new friend, maybe even Facebook-worthy, or so you think at the time. But what about the next day in class when, once again, you don't even acknowledge each other? Or, even worse, maybe you do acknowledge each other and have absolutely nothing to say besides "Hey, what's up?"...awkward, but really, no big deal, it happens to everyone!
During that same class, as you awkwardly avoid making eye contact with the person you befriended the night before, a teacher calls on you out of the blue. Little do you know, but every other word out of your mouth is "like" or "ummm" and the whole class is staring at you, unable to hear anything you say except those awkward key words.
But it's okay; it really isn't a big deal. I mean, these moments happen to everyone, right? Think how many times you've been this person or seen others be this person. Awkwardness is ingrained into everyday life!
Finally, I would like to end with the awkwardest of awkward moments. What about all those times, in class and out, when you tried to make a joke? Just to get a simple laugh out of at least one person. Well no one is laughing, you thought it was amusing -- and still no one is laughing. Take this article, for example. Meant to be an amusing glimpse into the awkwardness of everyday life, a satire, just a joke, but maybe it's just not that funny. Awkward.