Playing Chicken on the Sidewalk
The situation: You’re walking on the right side of the sidewalk (and by “right” I mean both “correct” and the opposite of left). You see someone on the horizon walking on the same side (their left, your right, not the correct side no matter how you look at it). “Well, they’ll just have to move,” you think to yourself, assuming that proprietary sidewalk rules are universal. The pedestrian moves closer. You keep moving, more belligerent with every step. Finally you reach the point of no return—you and the false-stepper are nose to nose, toe to toe. Détente: you agree to move to the other side, so does the jerk. “Okay fine, I’ll stay on the right side,” you think to yourself. “It’s the right side anyway. You know, right as in ‘correct.’” But no, the ass anticipates your move and mirrors you, until the two of you are a couple of uncoordinated tango-dancers in the middle of the sidewalk, blocking other would-be tangoers from completing their forbidden dance.
You could always resort to violence. And literal interpretations of things.
The solution: You must grab your dance partner by the shoulders and physically move him or her to the left side of the sidewalk (read: your left, i.e. the correct side). Then say “you dance divinely” and carry on.
Saying Hi Too Soon
The situation: Perhaps you’ve just finished your tango and you spot another person on the horizon. This person is actually someone you know and like (they also happen to be walking on the correct side, perhaps because you expect only the utmost performance in all your friends and acquaintances). You make eye contact. They wave. You wave. “Hey!” they shout. “What?” you say. “HEY! HOW ARE YOU?” “Oh, hi! Good, you?” They nod and smile. They continue approaching you. You continue approaching them. You realize you don’t like them enough to further the conversation, and they have the same realization. You pass each other without making eye contact.
You should wear this at all times.
The solution: Pretend not to recognize anyone until they are within normal conversation limits. If someone yells “HEY” to you from 50 feet away, turn to the guy behind you and say “what’s with that spaz?”
Saying Goodbye Too Soon
The situation: This one’s almost as bad as saying hi too soon—you’re walking with a friend, roommate, professor, mortal enemy, frenemy, etc. You think you’re about to part ways. “See you later!” you say (unless it is a mortal enemy or frenemy, then you say “See you in hell!”). The co-pedestrian smiles, waves, and reciprocates. You keep walking. The other person continues next to you. “Oh, um, I’m walking this way too,” you say. Then you talk about how awkward it is that you already said goodbye, until it’s time to say goodbye for real. And let’s hope this time it actually is for real.
Basically this, but not a penguin.
The solution: Either stop saying goodbye to people you’re walking with, or become flexible enough to change your route when it becomes apparent that your friend/enemy/what have you is not leaving your presence at the expected time. Or you can continue walking with the person and say “going my way, baby?” This should ultimately cause the person to remember he has to drop a book off at the library, so he’ll have to catch ya later.
Making a Fart Noise with Your Shoes
The situation: You’re in the middle of your French final. The room is silent, save for the sound of graphite upon bluebook. You move your foot a fraction of an inch, and a suspiciously fartilicious sound results. Fellow Francophiles look up from their conjugations to judge you. As if farting during a French final weren’t bad enough, now you’re getting blamed without even getting to experience the benefits of a real fart, e.g. the enjoyable release.
No farting in English! En français, s’il vous plaît!
The solution: Squeeze your buttocks in such a way as to release a real fart. Then say “see, that actually sounded much different. The first one was just my shoe.” If you’re a real connoisseur, say all of the above in French.
Being Captured in Someone Else’s Photo
The situation: You’re sitting in the caf all alone (remember, you are awkward and thus have few friends). You start thinking about how funny it was that one time you fell down the stairs and split your pants. Suddenly a flash goes off and you realize you were caught making a stupid smiling-even-though-you’re-all-alone-and-nothing-could-possibly-be-that-funny face in the background of some stranger’s picture. Your ugly mug will be forever immortalized in that idiot’s facebook album, and you’ll forever be known as “that weirdo,” as in “look at that weirdo’s face! Hahahaha!”
Or perhaps you were doing…something else.
The solution: Grab the offender’s camera and see for yourself how the picture turned out. If it looks good, introduce yourself and request that you be tagged. If you look like the jackass you imagine yourself to be, demand a retake. If the person refuses to acquiesce, smash their camera on the floor, and follow up the gesture with a “what now, homie?”
What other awkward encounters have you had?