I never cease to amaze myself

For anyone who even remotely identifies as socially awkward, you know that each week (day, hour, maybe even minute for some) will have its social ups and downs. These ups and downs will never be fairly distributed, sadly.

For some the ups might include: Carrying on a conversation without having to rely on movie/TV references to relate to the subject material, walking in front of a group of people without tripping, maintaining composure when everyone’s attention is directed towards you, riding in an elevator with one other person and avoiding stilted smalltalk. Some of these are really just myths, but you get the point.

I don’t think I need to provide examples for the lows, but I welcome anyone who reads this to share a recent awkward encounter they’ve had in the comments section below. It’s always nice to know I’m not alone/actually have people who read this blog. Not that I don’t enjoy talking to myself because I do and often, but I would also enjoy to hear about other people’s experiences failing at “normal human interactions.”

Well, this weekend I experienced my low for the week. Granted, I had been surprisingly on top of my game, so I should have known the universe was going to throw me a last-minute curveball.

I was hit on this weekend and before you say “whoopty-freakin’ doo,” I just want to clarify that I’m not even bragging. The worst forms of torture I can imagine for myself would be public speaking, telling a room full of distant relatives what I do for a living and flirting. Also, I suppose I would include the regular forms of torture such as waterboarding, electrocution, being forced to watch the 2nd Transformers movie on a loop, etc. I have a low pain tolerance.

The flirtation was simple enough; I finished eating breakfast at a restaurant I frequent roughly every other Sunday and when I went up to pay, the cashier (who I’ve never spoken to) told me it was “very nice to see me again” and coyly smiled at me. It was game over immediately, folks.

I went full Zooey Deschanel and began spluttering out nonsense and a lot of fragmented sentences. From what I remember it went something like this:

*turns bright red*

“Ehrm, thanks I… Well I guess I’m a regular now, right! I sure do come here a lot, I guess. Hahaha… Do I need to sign the receipt? Some places you need to sign and other places they don’t make you, so I never know if I need to sign or not. I do? Okay, hahaha…”

*scribbles indecipherable nonsense on receipt*

“There.. that.. is. Um, here ya go.”

*makes successful 180° pivot and promptly exits restaurant*

Not even that big of a flirtation, right? Sadly, that’s all it takes and now I have to spend the next few weeks mentally recovering and I also need find a new place to eat breakfast.

Eternally Awkward,

Jace

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Don’t talk to me I’m folding shirts

I say I’m going to make a blog post once a week and then three weeks fly by and I realize I haven’t posted anything in a month! Maybe one of these days I will get the hang of this blogging thing. I’d like to say it’s because I’m so busy, but…

If memory serves me correctly, I believe I said I would provide more embarrassing details of my retail related endeavours. I realize there’s an oversaturation of articles dedicated to the woes of retail, but there’s also an oversaturation of writers who use self-deprecating humor to chronicle their “quirky” and “awkward” lives, so I’ve really got nothing to lose here.

As I mentioned in the previous post, I was fresh out of college with a much sought after English degree, yet still in desperate need of a job. I knew the food service industry wasn’t for me because my handwashing habits are subpar at best, so I decided retail was the way to go. After a stellar interview where I fudged the truth with answers such as, “Yes, I’m interested in fashion” and “I’ll have no problem approaching customers and offering my help,” I got the job and began my life as a sales associate for [REDACTED].

I vividly remember my first instructions of the night were to stand by the entrance, greet people and offer my assistance. For most people that task probably seems easy enough, but I instantly flew into sweaty panic mode and suddenly forgot how a normal human being was supposed to act. I shuffled my way towards the entrance and assumed the position of a hastily put together mannequin.

I knew from past experiences that I was never at my best when it came to meeting new people and being forced to interact with complete strangers while my boss pretended not to watch from behind the counter didn’t help me much. Typically when I meet new people I tend to nod my head a little too profusely, tell stories that could put someone who just snorted a line of coke to sleep and laugh nervously at things that aren’t funny. About 5 customers passed me before I worked up the courage to say more than just “hi” to them. It was a “sink or swim” situation but with much lower stakes.

During my time at [REDACTED] I discovered that I apparently make a terrifying face whenever I engage people in conversation because there were multiple occasions in which customers looked startled and quickly found another part of the store to shop in after I greeted them. I was never able to catch a glimpse of the face I made in one of the many mirrors around the store, but I assume it was my eyes that led customers to fear for their safety and that of their children. I’ve concluded that when I go for the “mildly excited to see you” look, it somehow takes the form of the “I watch you while you sleep” look. Go figure.

I’m not so inept that I wasn’t able to improve upon my people skills, but the occasional customer would catch me off guard with some ridiculous question like, “Do you have this in a smaller size?” and it was just assumed that I knew the answer! People are crazy I tell ya.

I eventually came up with a killer strategy to avoid most customers and it was to look as busy as possible without actually doing anything. I achieved this by folding anything and everything in the store. When I reached my daily customer interaction limit of 5 customers, I would retreat to the back to retrieve the folding cart and then I would make my way around the corners of the store folding item after item. Most of the items were already folded, but I quickly saw to it that they weren’t.

Basically, this allowed me to appear busy and to avoid random tasks from my boss and annoying questions from customers. It’s what Michael Scott would call a win-win-win situation because everyone benefited from not talking to me.

I managed to survive my gruelling three month retail sentence, but I’m a better person for it. Now when I walk in a store, I politely tell the sales associate that I do not care to buy whatever credit card they’re trying to shove in my wallet and I make sure to fold items as best I can before putting them back because that’s the CONSIDERATE THING TO DO. Seriously, it’s not that hard to put it back where you found it. And while we’re on the subject, don’t seek me out to tell me that you left the clothes you tried on in the changing room. I see that your hands are empty! I also see that you couldn’t be bothered to hang anything up, but I guess a pile in the corner of the changing room was good enough. Also, complaining to me about the price of an item will not magically lower the price. I am but a lowly sales associate and have little to no power when it comes to things that happen in the store. And if you come to the store 10 minutes before it closes and slowly make your way around  with no intention of buying anything, I say in the immortal words of Andy Samberg, “Have fun being married to Satan!”

And with that I sign off!

Eternally Awkward,

Jace

 

 

PTRSD: Post Traumatic Retail Stress Disorder

Greetings my avid readers. *crickets chirp in the distance*

I hope everyone enjoyed their Thanksgiving festivities and if you’re not currently in a turkey induced coma, then maybe you’re “surfing the web” as they would say in 2001 and are reading my blog! Chances are you’re watching cats playing chess on YouTube and I don’t really blame you. On the off  chance that you’re reading this, welcome and ignore my grammar mistakes!

If you’ve been keeping up with the mundane events of my life, then you’ll remember from a previous post that I graduated from college this past spring and went out and got myself a bunch of job interviews but no job, which I guess is more than any Kardashian has ever done!

After two humbling months of no success, I swallowed what was left of my pride and began applying for part-time positions because you apparently have to pay bills when you live on your own. I applied to various positions around my area and finally heard back for a retail position. Mind you, this was after I had applied to like 10 Starbucks and didn’t hear back from a single one.

*cue iconic scene from Pretty Woman*

“Big mistake. Big. HUGE.”

Maybe one of these days I’ll muster the courage to strut into my local Starbucks and educate them on their missed opportunity. Most likely I’ll just go in and order my usual grande Cafe Mocha and watch them butcher the spelling of my name and wonder what it would be like to have a name like Kevin or Brad. I guess my parents didn’t want me to be in a fraternity, so they went with Jace.

The day came for my interview and I half-heartedly marched myself into the mall and  right to the store that I was hoping would help pay the bills for the time being. Fortunately, my interview went smoothly and I was offered the job most likely due to such gems as, “No, I don’t mind working weekends” and “I’m very comfortable speaking with customers and selling clothes.” Just call me an evil genius.

Now, I’ve read many a Buzzfeed listicle about the horrors of retail, but deep down I always thought those people were being a little overdramatic. I mean, how awful could it be to stand in an air conditioned store and participate as a cog in the capitalist machine? Seemed easy enough and for a while it was pretty easy.

To be honest, I was just happy to finally have an excuse to leave my apartment. It was all sunshine and rainbows for about the first two weeks, then I quickly realized that retail is actually the worst and the repetition of “Welcome to *insert store name here.* Can I help you find anything today?” was slowly chipping away at my soul.

“Can you see if this is in the back?”

“Does another store have it? Will you check?”

“I tried on every piece of clothing in the store, but I didn’t want any of it. Have fun cleaning that up, peasant!”

So they might not have said the last one, but I know they were thinking it. I’m looking at you upper class soccer moms.

I ended up only working retail for about two and a half months because I found a grown up job, *praise hands* but that doesn’t mean I don’t have some funny/embarrassing retail stories to tell!

 

That, however, is a post for another time seeing as how this post has exceeded my 350 word count limit/ I’m lazy and want to stop typing.

Be looking for a post next week! Or maybe the week after… just don’t hold your breath or anything.

Who am I talking to?

Eternally Awkward,

Jace

 

 

 

The Summer of Weddings

As I mentioned in a previous post, engagement/wedding season was in full swing and everyone was in a mad dash to walk down the aisle and head off into matrimonial heaven. I, however, was ready to eat as much free food and cake (mostly cake) while watching my friends say “I do” to the person they’ve chosen to spend the rest of their lives with or whatever. Free cake, guys.

I knew I had quite a few weddings to attend over the summer — five to be exact —  and I was even in a couple of them, so I spent the first few weeks of post-grad life trying to focus on other things like swimming, sunbathing and playing with my niece; oh, and I guess I was also looking for a job. I guess that’s kind of important.

Actually, the whole job search became the biggest bane of my existence during The Summer of Weddings, aside from the perpetual blush that threatens to ascend from the depths of Hell and overtake my face. To be honest, I felt like I was in more control of the whole job hunt thing. That is, until I didn’t have a job for months and began a sweatpants clad descent into an unemployment coma. Luckily, those days are behind me, but the night terrors still occur every now and then.

“What would you say are some of your biggest weaknesses?” The voices of countless interviewers ask me until I frantically wake up to find myself in my bedroom and not in yet another conference room.

I guess that’s why Ambien was invented! Anyway, I didn’t realize what I had gotten myself into with these weddings until I began attending them. Of course I knew I was going to run into people I went to college with, but I never could have prepared myself for the soul crushing question, “What are you doing these days?” The horror.

From one wedding to the next that question followed me like a serial killer hunting his next victim or that one kid in school who you really didn’t like, but he thought you were best friends despite your not-so-subtle coldness and indifference. It was like that.

With my anxiety/blood pressure at an all-time high, I put on my finest wedding attire, slapped on the most convincing smile I could muster and mentally rehearsed the answer I would give to anyone who asked what I was “currently doing with my life.”

Being jobless and single is what I was doing with it.

I either got to hear about how my fellow graduates were loving their new jobs/houses/dogs or about how those who had yet to graduate were enjoying their summers of doing nothing and it being socially acceptable. I, on the other hand, got to talk about my failed job interviews, but it was “okay because I have others lined up and I’m waiting to hear back from one that I think went really well.”

Oh how naive I was three months ago.

In all honesty, I did enjoy the weddings I attended despite being at a low point in my life. True, running into my slightly more successful peers was a crotch shot to the ego, but the festivities themselves were fun distractions from the unpleasant realities of post-grad life.

Plus, free cake.

Eternally Awkward,

Jace

 

The Great Engagement Blitz of 2014-15

When you go to a private Christian university, you prepare yourself for the inevitability of people you know getting engaged and eventually tying the knot. There are the go-getters who get engaged freshman year and either actually get married or call it off last minute because of the obvious fact that they’re 18 year old babies who really just need to tackle the commitment of college before they can take on the lifelong commitment of marriage.

Sophomore year might yield some more engagements, but junior and senior year are when people develop ‘Ring Fever’ and take Beyoncé’s advice by “putting a ring on it” because “they like it.” Before you know it, everyone is posting the obligatory Instagram/Facebook pic. where the girl not-so-subtly shows off her new bling by conveniently placing her left hand on the chest of her brand new fiancé declaring in all caps: “WE’RE ENGAGED!!!!!!!!!!” The guy usually posts something that says, “She said yes!” to which I respond, “Well, duh.”

I was in my final year of college this past year and I thought I had endured the worst of it junior year.

“I bet there won’t be too many engagements this year.” – Famous last words spoken by yours truly before the Great Engagement Blitz of 2014-15.

I was dead wrong to say the least. Engagement post after engagement post filled my timeline, until I almost wondered if I could survive the onslaught of ring pictures and girls feigning surprise that “he actually proposed!” Luckily, the ice that surrounds my heart is thick enough to withstand such things.

Now, I’m not going to lie and say that I wasn’t happy for most of these engagements. Many of them were my close friends and I was/am very happy for them, but is it too much to ask to come home from a long day of classes/skipping classes and have my timeline devoid of anything wedding related? It became such a common occurrence that I became so jaded, I couldn’t even fake excitement anymore.

My life became something like this:

Friend: “Did you hear that Terry and Amanda got engaged Friday night?”

Me: “Who?”

Acquaintance: “I saw their post on Instagram!!! Can you believe he paddled them to the middle of the lake and had a trained swan deliver the ring to her as fireworks spelled out ‘Will you marry me’ in the sky?”

Me: “Who even has the time for that?”

Friend: “Classic Terry.”

Me: “Again, who?”

Frenemy: “Did you also see that Andy proposed to Anne?”

Me: “Please tell me that’s a joke.”

Acquaintance: “No! That’s so awesome! I was wondering when he was going to ask her. She had been putting the pressure on him for a while.”

Me: “Kind of a red flag if you ask me.”

Friend: “I heard that Chandler proposed to Monica after she initially proposed to him in her apartment!”

Me: “Okay, that is literally the plot of a Friends episode!”

Frenemy: “Good for them!”

Acquaintance: “I totally saw that coming!”

Me: “Yes, that’s because it happened in the year 2000.”

Frenemy: “Can you guys keep a secret? I’m proposing to Lindsey next Saturday night.”

Me: “Excuse me while I go get a comically large Hershey bar to eat by myself.”

Fortunately, I made it through The Great Engagement Blitz. Unfortunately, that led to the Summer of Weddings, but that’s a post for next week.

Eternally Awkward,

Jace

What year is it?

Has it really been over two years since I posted on this blog? Wow, time sure does fly when you’re sitting alone in your apartment binge watching The Walking Dead and all 10 season of Friends. But I’m back and still just as sweaty and red-faced as ever!

“What’s taken place since your last post?” you might be wondering. I don’t know who I’m exactly referring to since there’s a solid chance this blog has zero followers now, but I’ll pretend like someone’s still interested because I’m delusional like that. Well, I’ve graduated college with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English/Writing, so you know, I have quite the future ahead of me. I aged two more years, which has ceased to be fun since since I turned 21. The most important thing that’s happened to me is I became an uncle to the sweetest little ginger baby girl.

I am in no way ready to be a father, but I was born to be an uncle. It fits my lazy, sloth-like personality to a T; I show up and play the role of the fun uncle until a tantrum is thrown or a stink bomb is dropped in her diaper. When that happens, it’s time for the fun uncle to say his goodbyes and let the professionals  do their parental duties. It really is the best gig in the world. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure being a parent is rewarding, but that is a lot of responsibility and money from what I’ve heard.

Aside from those few things I mentioned, not a great deal has happened in my life. The same can be said about the Kardashians, but when they do nothing they make millions of dollars off of it, whereas I am labelled a couch potato. That’s just one of the many thoughts I’ve had while I lie awake in the middle of the night contemplating life.

Apparently today is National Writing Day, so I took this opportunity to begin writing again. I hope to keep up with this blog and post in more frequent intervals of once a week instead of every two years. If people decide to read and follow my blog, that’s great! However, I’m not here to gain a bunch of followers; I really just want to improve on my writing and the only way to do that is to write! At least that’s what every English teacher I ever had has told me, not to mention the author of Bird by Bird, Anne Lamott.

I know I’ve said nothing has really happened in the past two years, but that doesn’t mean I don’t have some stories to tell! 😉

Eternally Awkward,

Jace

Inappropriate Laughter

laugh

We’ve all been in a similar situation: You’re in class and someone is giving their presentation, or you’re at church and it’s the middle of a prayer, or you’re even at a funeral and suddenly you’re filled with the terrible urge to laugh. Why of all times do you think of Buster from Arrested Development screaming “I’m a monster!” or that inside joke you and your friend only find funny? This is literally the worst possible time to laugh and yet you’re about to lose it right in front of the girl who is reading a poem based on a very serious time in her life.

If you’re like me you’ll try anything to keep from laughing. You’ll do things like pulling out leg hairs, or pinching your inner thigh until you break skin. Unfortunately, none of these tactics seem to work and you break out in a fit of laughter. It’s not just a small laugh either, but uncontrollable body convulsions. Something about stifling a laugh causes you to lose control of all other muscles in your body and the actual ability to laugh silently. Of course you can never laugh like this when the situation calls for it, but when it’s completely inappropriate to be laughing, you find yourself doing just that.

I can’t count the number of times this has happened to me. I remember one time I was in church and for some reason my mom and I found the sermon really funny and we eventually had to excuse ourselves because we could not get it together. Another time I was sitting on the front row and this girl got on stage to perform a song and let’s just say she should keep her day job (too harsh?). After it was over I just hoped she thought I was hysterically crying because her performance was so moving. I find myself usually laughing in class because the people I’m sitting by begin to laugh as well. It’s basically a chain reaction and once it starts, there’s no stopping it. You’ll finally stop laughing, but then you’ll hear your friend laugh and then it starts all over.

So what have we learned from all of this? I’m not really sure, but I do know that because of this I’ll probably end up laughing in my next class for no reason. I’ll just look at it as my workout for the day.

Eternally Awkward,

Jace