Sunday, July 12, 2009
I have a problem. It may have led to some unintended rudeness on my part. I would, therefore, like to issue a general apology to anyone who may have been the recipient of said unintended rudeness. We all know that the Mormon world is a small one and you're bound to run into people that you know every now and again while at the store or cruising around town. And that's where my problem rears its ugly head. You see, when I see people that I know when I'm at the store, my natural instinct is to turn and run before they can see me. Apparently, I develop a bit of social anxiety when unexpectedly confronted with a situation in which I need to be friendly. If I'm not able to escape without notice, my next line of defense is to pretend that I didn't see that person. Then, I pray in my heart that they don't see me. Or that they're exhibiting the same natural defense mechanisms as I am. Then we both pretend not to see each other, nobody is offended, and everyone goes home happy that they narrowly escaped that potentially awkward run-in. But, more often than not, the person sees me or there is no safe means of escape and friendliness is necessary. When that is the case, my last line of defense in order to avoid any awkwardness is to make the encounter as brief as possible. Usually that means that I say hello or have a brief exchange as I pass and then I keep going without looking back. And that is where the unintended rudeness happens. I am fully aware that any normal person would be friendly and stop to chat for a few minutes. I know what the social norms are. But, as I said, I have a problem. My natural, avoid awkward situation tendencies take over and I probably come across as a rude social freak as I try to exit the situation with minimal damage. So, to anyone who has experienced these self-preservation tendencies at the worst, I offer my sincerest apologies. I have no problem with you - as I said, the problem is mine. So, if you have tried to say hello and only received a brief hello as I make a beeline for the next aisle, I'm sorry. If you have seen me in the store and stopped to chat only to have me call out a brief greeting as I dash past you, I'm sorry. And, if you saw me coming toward you one moment and saw only my back as I make a hasty retreat the next, I'm sorry. In those situations, I feel much like a deer caught in the headlights, but in my case, I don't plan to get run over. So I run. I know it's rude. I'm sorry. Please forgive me. And don't expect to have any sort of normal conversation with me in those spontaneous encounters. Just know that, even though I'm an idiot, I like you. Just from far away.