Tag Archives: awkward stories about me

Is This Conversation Over?

I am really bad at ending conversations. I just feel awkward because I can’t say goodbye gracefully and I can’t really ask people, “Is this conversation over?” I am pretty sure that would be rude, especially if I wanted to end the conversation and they didn’t. Which happens pretty often because I get tired of talking before most people do. Too much talking makes me want to take a nap. I’m better at thinking and typing or thinking and painting, or just plain thinking.

When I am talking to another person and I think the conversation is over I tend to sort of linger because I am not sure if it’s really over (and knowing I wanted the conversation to end about 10 minutes ago makes me feel guilty for being less social than other people). This is one of the reasons I am often late for things, but to be fair some people keep talking even as you are moving towards the door and waving goodbye. They seem to have trouble knowing when the conversation is over too. Body language helps me read other people. I can take a hint when they start packing up their stuff, but what do you do when the other person in the conversation doesn’t take the hint? What if you are about to pee your pants because they have followed you right to the bathroom door and don’t even pause to breathe so you can say, “Hang on a minute”? I know people like that. I know a lot of people like that. So, again, I wonder, is it me? Why can’t I end a conversation more gracefully? Why don’t I know when the conversation is over? Why can’t other people tell I am trying to leave or go to the bathroom? I feel like I am being incredibly obvious, well as obvious as I can be without being rude. So, I just feel awkward like I don’t have a full grasp on social engagement and conversational manners.

Lucy dog sleeping on her back
If only I could be this Zen.

On the phone it is even worse. I am so grateful for the invention of speaker phone because at least I can carry the phone around while other people do the talking. I’ve noticed a lot of people don’t seem to care if anyone is listening. They just like to talk. They don’t seem to pause for a response or care if they get one. Again, sometimes I have to pee and since I can’t get a word in edgewise, I will pee while people are on the phone. In my defense, they aren’t listening anyway. They don’t even notice when the toilet flushes. I am not even kidding. I can’t help but think if I just knew how to wind up a phone call and say goodbye better I’d not only know when the conversation was over, but I’d also be able to end it without being rude. I really hate to be rude so I usually let people talk. I let them talk for a very long time. I figure they must need to get it out and off their chest. Not everybody has a blog like I do, right? So, they talk and I cut paper and sweep floors and wonder if I set the phone down in one room and went in the other room for a few minutes if they would even notice (they usually don’t). I am probably being a little rude by experimenting, but aren’t they rude for not noticing I am missing from the conversation? I don’t know for sure because I am missing the gene for appropriate conversations, obviously.

If I am really lucky people will just text message me. It’s so much easier to end a conversation in text message because people have to pause to type which gives me a moment to say, “I have to go!” Plus, they will never hear my toilet flush and I don’t have to listen to them go on and on about their annoying co-worker while Tiny-Small is crying because she needs a nap and Rosie is barking at the car driving past our house. Text messaging reduces some of the noise and I am grateful for that too. Which leads me to my next paragraph. How’s that for a writing transition?

Text messaging and Facebook and Twitter are really awesome ways to communicate because you can take your time responding or finish washing the dishes or answer the door and nobody thinks you are rude. Still, I have my issues with this mode of communication. I mean, how many times are you in a back and forth type conversation when the other person just stops responding? You don’t know if they had to stop because their kid just barfed on their shoes or if the conversation is just over, but they forgot to say goodbye. Or maybe they didn’t think to say goodbye because they are on three different social media accounts on their computer and also texting on their phone so your conversation just got lost in the shuffle? It’s happened to me before. I’ve been on both sides of this type of behavior. It doesn’t feel good either way because I usually wake up in the middle of the night remembering I forgot to say goodbye to someone and feeling guilty and awkward over my accidental rudeness.

Sometimes you wonder if you just offended someone with your awkward and dorky joke (not everyone gets your sense of humor, right?) and they just don’t want to talk to you anymore, but you don’t know for sure because they aren’t saying anything. The worst is when the person doesn’t respond at all. You don’t know if they just missed your message or if they just don’t care to talk to you. That happens to me on Twitter all the time. So, not only am I wondering if the conversation is over, I am also wondering if it ever started. I imagine they just don’t like me or have better people to talk to or just have a lot of kids barfing on their shoes all at the same time. It’s awkward. I’m awkward. Everyone is awkward. I hate to be rude so then I just message them more to be like “Hi I am not as awkward as I feel, but am now proving to you that I am even more awkward than you originally suspected”. Phew…being social is hard work. I just want to know if the conversation is over and whether or not I did something wrong (or right). So, I over-text and use too many smiley faces and do an excessive amount of exclaiming things. It’s not pretty.

Conversations can be difficult, especially when you are an introvert. It’s not my special talent to be all chatty and high-fiving people. I have to fake that stuff sometimes and hope I am being appropriate. Maybe we are all faking it (I hope so because then I might be less awkward than I think I am). Maybe we all feel awkward (please tell me this is true). Maybe we all wonder why some people don’t respond at all or why they respond so much that we don’t know what to say back. Sometimes I over-respond to people in a frenzy of excitement (usually because they actually said something back) so the next time we chat I try not to be so excited or don’t respond at all because I think maybe that is the “right” way to interact (instead of lavishing attention on someone) and I just want to seem slightly normal and less awkward than I really am. I often wonder, am I doing this right? I really don’t know, but I think all of these uncomfortable feelings stem from my inability to know for sure when a conversation is over. It’s like I am blind to that type of social engagement. Is there a diagnosis for that?

Like right now, I can’t even end this blog post. Have I said too much? Have I said too little? Am I now rambling because I don’t know how to end this one-sided conversation?

Probably.

I know I am just thinking too much about it, but that’s what I do best, right? Do you ever feel awkward about ending conversations? Do you struggle with knowing when a conversation is over? Am I the only one? Don’t be afraid to tell me I’ve lost a few marbles. I accepted that about myself a long time ago.

 

You might also like: I’m An Introvert Trapped In An Extroverts World

 

 

 

Everything Right Is Wrong Again

flowers
Flowers!

Everything Right Is Wrong Again is a They Might Be Giants Song. I stole the title for my blog post because I love them and because it’s sort of true around here lately. I woke up yesterday ready to do some blogging and my new Mac decided it couldn’t connect to the Internet. I mean, it was connected to the Internet, but it refused to acknowledge it. So, I spent a few hours fixing that issue. Then, we had some big clouds move in and rain (yay!), so my satellite Internet became intermittent Internet (boo!). It was like the universe was telling me to stay off the Internet. So, I did. Sort of.

I tried to use my new Nook instead so I could download some books, but then the spotty Internet and the whole “my Nook got stuck somehow” thing made it pretty much impossible. I mean, the keyboard was all wacky, the touch screen wasn’t working, and the charge wouldn’t take. Finally, after restarting it, the Nook went back to normal. Did I mention my phone stopped working too? Oh, I could get voice mail and text messages from phone calls and texts that occurred three hours ago, but nothing current. I think we may have slipped into some kind of Vortex yesterday while I was cooking bacon and Tiny-Small was pretending she was a dog mommy. Too bad we didn’t do any time travelling. I could have used a glimpse into the future to find out if all of this bacon eating was going to do me in. On second thought, maybe it is better not to know.

So, yesterday, I did some cleaning (gasp!) and some reading, and some complaining and then I did some painting. Mostly, I just organized and stared at half-finished paintings and wondered why I felt compelled to paint 67 backgrounds and stop. Art making can be a strange, out-of-body experience at times. I have been trying to be one of those “go with the flow” let the canvas speak to me, do what comes into my mind in that moment, and be awesome, sort of painters. It’s becoming increasingly clear that directionless, let the muse work through me type painting, might not be my forté. I like a plan. I mean, I finish more things when I have a plan. Sure, accidents happen (and that’s OK, thank you Sesame St.), but I have better results when I know what I am trying to say. It all comes together better when I work within some guidelines. When my work has a point, from the beginning, I have more focus and drive. When I have at least a foggy idea of where I might end up, that is when I do my best work.

Hopefully, I made my point with all of those ridiculous sentences that say basically the same thing over and over again. I’m not sure if I am trying to convince you or me that I need structure and a plan. Probably me, because, seriously, you probably don’t really care that much, right?

Maybe this means I am a bit of a control freak. I know I don’t have much control over the rest of my life (I have a toddler), so maybe painting is where I can have the biggest impact. It’s where my voice can be the loudest. Where my message can be crystal clear. Or, maybe I like the tedious attention to details a plan requires. Maybe I will become more of a go-with-the-flow painter as time goes on. Maybe I won’t. I think, for me, the structure, the detail, the plan is what keeps me flowing. That focus gives me a break from the worries and the anxiety that comes with those worries. Without the plan in place I lose my focus. I lose the rhythm. My mind just doesn’t stay focused enough. I lose interest. I start to go a little crazy. Like now. I get that “I don’t know what to do with myself” feeling and it all starts to seem a little pointless. Like, I just painted a rainbow across too many expensive canvasses and now they are going to sit there collecting dust while I move onto something I really want to do…or I might just sit here feeling boring and like an expensive drain on my family’s budget. That’s not a good attitude to have.

Sometimes, it’s just as important to figure out what isn’t working for you as it is to figure out what is working. I think, too, that we have to be OK with who we are. Am I a controlling painter who likes the complete attention it takes to use watercolor? Yes. Do I have a streak of perfectionism running through my blood? Yes. Does a bunch of paint smeared on a canvas with no plan in mind just make me anxious or a little bored? Sometimes. I say sometimes because every time I make an all-encompassing declaration about myself I change my mind a few minutes later. Everything right is wrong again. Seriously. I’m an enigma, trapped in a vortex, rolled up in bacon. I mean, I’m a mom who doesn’t get enough sleep and can see two sides to every story and lives in a perpetual state of ambiguity. At least I keep life interesting. I also drive myself a little crazy.

So what though, right? This is who I am. This is how I paint. There isn’t any need to become something else or someone else. Sure, it’s fun to experiment and explore and try on new hats, but in the end, we’re all probably going to settle into what feels most comfortable or most exciting, or gives us the most relief from our own thought processes. I’ve written before about how painting is like meditation or visiting a therapist to me. My mind is in constant motion. I think. I think A LOT. Too much. I have so many ideas. I have a vivid imagination too, so when I really get going, I can turn a late phone call into a scene straight out of a Soap Opera: the person is in the hospital, there was a car accident, they need a brain transplant, we will have to sell the house to pay for it, we will all end up homeless, Tiny-Small will be sent to live with long-lost relatives. I can project any wacky scenario decades into the future if I allow myself to indulge in that sort of thing. Which I do often, unless I get in my time to paint.

Anyway, everything that is supposed to be right is really wrong. I am so often not what I am supposed to be, or not doing what I am supposed to be, or not behaving as I am supposed to be. Thank goodness I have painting to shut off all of those worries. When I am executing my plan and focused on tiny details I am right where I am supposed to be. At least for part of my day, I can be exactly who I am supposed to be: A painter who likes structure, a direction, an idea, and a stopping point. I get to be the boss of myself. I get to throw out the words “supposed to” and laugh as they float away on paint fumes. What a relief!

Anyway, my Internet is working. My painting has a plan. So, for today at least, I guess, everything wrong is right again. Go figure.

 

Monday Memories: Books

Today my Monday Memories post is about a book. Some books stick with you for life. Some books you can’t remember a week later. I am going to tell you about a book that scared me to death, was burned into my brain, and left me wanting more all at the same time.

When I was a teenager I went through a phase where I wanted to read “big” books. I read Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell, I read The Stand by Stephen King, and I attempted to read Moby Dick by Herman Melville. Moby Dick put me to sleep. I never got past the first chapter. I tried multiple times. It was just so boring.

 

Then a copy of It by Stephen King fell into my lap. I was instantly enthralled. I fell in love with the characters. I developed a phobia for clowns. In the middle of the night I was so scared, I actually didn’t want to get out of bed and make the trek to the bathroom because it was dark. I stayed up all night reading with a flashlight.  When the book was over I missed the characters so much I started reading the book again.

If you’ve seen the made for TV movie version of the book, trust me, the book was a million times better. I think that movie was the worst adaptation of a book I have ever seen. That movies was an embarrassment. If I were Stephen King, I would be screaming about it right now…years and years later.

When I was in my twenties I read The Shining by Stephen King and that book scared me too. Right after reading it I rented the movie. That movie made me laugh and laugh. The effects were so old by the time I watched it that it just seemed silly and ridiculous. The book was heart attack inducing. Good thing I read it when I was young and healthy.

Anyway, I love scary books. At least, I used to. I mean, it takes me days and days to finish a book now. I read a page or two every night before falling asleep with the lights on. Having a small child makes it near impossible to read during the day with all of the, “Mom, I need a drink. Mom, help me get my toy. Mom, I have to go potty. Mom, I need a new dress. Mom, I want to go outside. Mom, I got wet. Mom, I need another new dress. Mom, not THAT dress. Mom….” And that is only about five minutes worth of my day. Reading at night is hard too because I am too tired to keep my eyes open for very long.

 

I used to be a pretty ferocious reader. I used to read the big books. I used to like scary things. I don’t have it in me anymore. I hope I do again someday. The last scary book I read was The Road by Cormac McCarthy. That apocalyptic nightmare scared me so bad that Jim still talks about the time I read it…five years later. He always laughs about how frightened I was. He didn’t read it. He doesn’t realize how life altering it was. That book is the reason I fantasize about stockpiling food in our basement.

Anyway, have any books changed your life? Do you suffer from an unnatural fear of clowns, the apocalypse, or hoop skirts because of the books you have read? Let me know in the comments. I’m looking for new books to read…even if it takes me six months to finish them. Just don’t ask me to read Moby Dick, because that will only make me cry.

 

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Monday Memories