Saturday, April 17, 2010

Awkward Moments and the Gratitude That Follows

Have you ever just had a moment that was so incredibly awkward that your insides churned and the corners of your mouth just kept creeping into a smile that silently communicated, "ahhhhh get me out of here!"? I haven't had many moments like this. I've had my own embarrassing moments. I've had moments where I have interacted with people that were awkward. But last night Ryan and I had a really interesting/awkward experience.

We went to Panera for dinner. Yum! We picked a booth and there were several people in the store given it was a Friday night. We were sitting diagonally across from a couple that I could easily tell from the get-go was on a first date. Let the awkwardness begin.

I'm going to name them for the purpose of the story but in actuality I don't know there names. Let's call the cute, little, mid-thirties blond lady Liz and let's call her late 20's, curly, dark haired date Dave. Begin scene...

Liz is talking about how when one is young, still in their late 20's there is so much to still find out about one's self and so much to learn and to do. She didn't truly know herself until recently. Dave asks her on a scale of 1-20 how much she'd want to date him again. "I don't really like numbers," Liz replies. Dave says that she knows what he is trying to say. How does she think the date is going. Liz sweetly replies that he is a little young for her but that they could be friends. "Best friends, then," says Dave. "haha, well, friends," replies Liz. Dave reiterates the "best". Liz lets him know that she doesn't want her best friend to get jealous. Dave brings up the fact that he only makes $700 a month. Liz says it has nothing to do with his income.

Poor guy is not getting the hint. At all. In the midst of this, they aren't quiet. I want you to know that we were not trying to ease drop. In fact, it was one of those moments where I was desperately searching for SOMETHING, ANYTHING to talk about and was wishing I hadn't wasted all that conversation on the car ride to dinner. With little to say, we resorted to just looking at our plates for fear that event one brief moment of eye contact would resort in either one of us completely losing it. So, silently we ate and we listened.

"Mediocre friends, then?" Dave said. Liz doesn't like the word mediocre. Just friends. Dave explained that friends are always there for one another. Somehow Dave brought up his parents and how cool they were. Sometimes his friends would rather hang out with his parents because they are so cool. At this point, I wanted to walk over and pull Dave aside. As a woman I wanted to give him some pointers as how to impress women and I wanted to gently, but truthfully tell him to never, ever, ever repeat that last comment until at least the 8th date.

Now the topic of authors and books comes up. Liz is an avid reader. "Do you want to join a book club?" Dave asks. Liz replies that she doesn't like book clubs because she doesn't like being told what to read. This seemed the perfect opportunity for Dave to suggest that they could just pick a book, read it, and then get together, just the two of them, to talk about it. Liz shoots Dave down.

There is more talk about authors. Liz suggests a book The Devil in the White City that I actually want to read. She gave a great description of this non-fiction book. Liz is a catch. I know that. Dave knows that. But Dave is not the right guy.

Then it was time for them to go to the movies. Dave got up and started rapping. Yes, I wrote that correctly. He started rapping from a DC talk song. And then they were gone. And I felt as if the other table, the one behind them and directly across from us had bonded. I looked over at the three women sitting there and I do believe we all had the same expressions on our faces. It was a shared bond of awkwardness. I wonder if Liz actually went to the movies or if she got in her car, and drove as far away as possible. I wonder if Dave still thinks that he had a chance. Ryan wondered what dating service they used and noted that it probably wasn't E-Harmony.

It was incredibly awkward. I wish Liz and Dave well as I am sure they will go their separate ways. I hope they each meet someone where on their first date the people around them will marvel at the ease of conversation. But after it was said and done I look across the table at my husband and I was so grateful for him. I am so grateful that he has never once asked me anything where the answer landed on a scale of 1-20. And while he can recite raps from several DC Talk songs, I find it amusing and I am grateful that he didn't bust that out on our first date. I am glad that even awkward moments like that can lead to gratitude.