10 o’clock List: Awkward Peirce Encounters

Who knew a meal in Peirce could be more awkward than this photograph?

We’re not all lucky enough to be blessed with remarkable social skills. Usually we can get away with this tragic affliction of social awkwardness by avoiding certain places and situations, but when one of us terminally awkward folk walks into Peirce Hall, the discomfort just goes up about 20 notches. Something about the crowds, the lines and the persistent lack of cups (because people keep stealing them) just turns me into Neville Longbottom before he got hot. In other words, all my social abilities sort of evaporate and I furtively try to get food before any of the subsequent disasters can occur:

1. The do-si-do. This is a square-dancing/contra dancing term  for when you and your partner walk around each other in time and it looks pretty cool and sexy when you do it right. Unfortunately, in this context I mean that thing where you almost walk into someone and then you try to move out of their way but you both accidentally move to the same side and go back and forth. This results in a lot of shoving and muttered apologies.  Also, all your friends start laughing at you. I try to anticipate this by turning around or veering sharply to the side whenever anyone is walking towards me.

2. Dropping cups. The problem here is that sometimes the cups get stuck together and when you try to pick one up, the one underneath clatters to the floor. And I mean clatters. Those little plastic things make a lot more noise than you might think. And then what do you do with the cup that fell? Pick it up? Put it on the counter? Use it? Leave it on the ground and pretend nothing happened?

3. The water lines (or lack thereof). The issue with getting drinks is that there are no lines for the water, there are only clumps. We’ve both been standing here for ages. No one is using the water dispenser anymore but the line was more of a vague cluster and neither of us knows who was there first. Who gets water first? I don’t know. You don’t know. One of us should probably say “Hey, go ahead” but instead we just sort of look at each other.

4. You can’t hear your friend. Someone in the servery yells your name but you’re too busy focusing on avoiding the do-si-do to hear them. Finally they get sick of yelling at you and just grab your shoulder to get your attention. This sudden attack freaks you out so much that your drink sloshes dangerously and you almost drop your tray.

5. You get the wrong food because the line is shorter. Line for chicken fingers and fries? 25 people. Line for greasy eggplant sandwich? Nonexistent. Waiting in line for so long only increases your chance of awkward encounters. Opt for the eggplant.

6. You’re sitting alone and someone asks if you need the extra chairs. Yes, I need this chair. My friends are coming, I’m only sitting alone because I’m waiting for my dozens of friends. Everyone wants to sit with me. They’re just late. Actually … you can have this chair. I’M SITTING ALONE BY CHOICE. All my friends wanted to eat with me and I told them no. I swear. Now take your damn chair.

Next up: most awkward people at Kenyon.

5 responses

  1. But if you’re truly an awkward person, you actually don’t go to Peirce because you know it’s going to be a disaster. Or maybe that’s just me.

  2. Pingback: 10 o’clock list: Awkward Situations We Brush Off as Normal | The Thrill

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