When Coral Met Harrison

10 May

There are no such thing as awkward moments. I rationally explained to my friends one long Shabbos afternoon, It’s all in your head. If you don’t treat a seemingly “awkward” moment  as such, it will not be awkward.

It made perfect sense to me. Awkwardness is as real as the Tooth Fairy and Teletubbies; it’s imaginary. If we simply convince ourselves that it is not a big deal to wave at someone you don’t really know or run into that person you broke up with a few months ago, then all will be well and the Awkward Moment will cease to exist.

I believed this for a very long time…and then I met Harrison.

Note: Said person’s name has been changed in order to protect his identity. His name is not Harrison nor does he resemble Harrison Ford, so if you think you look like Harrison Ford and are afraid I am talking about you, fear not, for I am not. I merely chose a name I know no one in my circle has.

Harrison and I are both consistent participants in a popular USBG (Unofficial Shidduch Breeding Ground) organization. I can confidently say that I am friendly with just about everyone in our USBG. I’m a nice, sociable person, the other participants are nice, sociable people, so although I don’t see most of them very often, we are still able to converse comfortably. I enjoy genial camaraderie with everyone.

Except Harrison.

I’m not sure how this all started. We were introduced to each other and exchanged the usual “hi, nice to meet you” as all acquaintences do. Something happened after that. Something embarrassing happened to me and he was was there to witness it. It doesn’t really matter what embarrassing mishap I encountered, but for the sake of our story, we’ll say I blundered over a folding chair and fell flat on my pretty (bli ayin hara, poo poo poo) face. I was under the impression that no one saw this because no one was around at the time, but just as I was about to thank G-d for saving me from an audience’s bewildered reaction, I noticed one person was in the vicinity, and though he didn’t say anything about it, I had a sneeking suspicion that my embarrassing secret was not my own.

But I wasn’t about to start believing in the Awkward Moment. No way! He didn’t say anything, nor did I so therefore, accodrind to logic, it was as if it never happened. We didn’t speak to each other any more on that first USBG event.  This didn’t bother me, as I was new to the  chevra, and expected that it would take another event or two for everyone to loosen up and just be themselves. That’s why when I saw him at the next event, I had no qualms with approaching him to chap a schmooze. He seemed to be a friendly guy so, why not?

It took about 30 seconds for things to get awkward. No I reassured myself, This is not going to be awakrd. Another 30 seconds go by, and then another, and then I realize I have no choice but to surrender. Our conversation had been hijacked by Awkwardness, and I had no choice but to walk away in shame and in defeat.

Even I, CoralCap, had to admit, Akward Moments do exist.

I looked back and wondered, what could it have possibily been? Did he think I was a freak because of that emabarrassing mishap? Were my conversational skills below par? I admit, sometimes I get nervous and unsure of what to say, but in this case, I wasn’t that nervous. Could it be that he liked me? Nah, I know “I-like-you” nerves when I see them. It’s just something you can sense. The signs are the same: He laughs a little too eagerly  and nervously smiles; the eyebrows raise in accordance with the level of excitment and the affirmative nod of the head is just a little more stiff than usual…the only difference is the vibe. Some people know how to read them and some people are far too oblivious to know what’s being said beyond verbal communication. I like to think that I am an astute reader of non-verbal communication, however, ask my friends and they will tell you I can be more oblivious than the Frogger frog trying to get across an interstate highway. I admit, I have been oblivious in certain situations, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve outgrown a lot of my oblivion. I don’t think I’ll get rid of all of it, since that will subtract from my easy-going, amiable nature, but the point is, I could tell this guy thought wasn’t comfortableo, so, I made sure not to start a conversation with him again.

The months fly by. Event passes after event and we don’t really interact. I was a little bothered by it at first, but before long I made my closer friends in the chevra and stuck with them. Harrison and I just didn’t end up in the same grouping. Everyone in our USBG is friendly with one another, but everyone has their acquaintence type friends and their closer friends. Ours didn’t overlap. Each event brought new participants and new people to meet , so I soon forgot that embarrassing mishap from that very first event. Harrison and I exchanged the “hello how are you’s” as appropriate and maybe a little elaboration on occasion, but there was always a tinge of awkwardness present.  And it didn’t stop at conversation. The sinister shadow of Awakwardness seemed to have captured our very right of free will. You know the awkward wave, when you are not sure if they are  looking at  you or not? I’m pretty sure Harrison and I have taken that to a level no other human beings have experienced before. I just don’t get it. I was the queen of Not Awkward, and now…Harrison.

Sometimes I wonder if G-d is saying, pay attention to this one. Put some effort into getting to know him. Then I wonder if I’m going crazy. He does always make the effort to say hi, goodbye or at least one of the two, but like all the people at our USBG, he’s a nice, sociable person. So I guess I will muster up the courage to talk to him next time I see him…or I’ll just ask a friend to find out if I’m overthinking things. After all, they are the ones who planted the Awkward Moment seed in my head in the first place.

Do you have any Harrison/Harrisonetta’s in your life?


9 Responses to “When Coral Met Harrison”

  1. SternGrad May 11, 2010 at 9:08 am #

    I also believe that most of the time awkward moments are completely in your head and you can choose how awkward any given moment will be, but most people don’t agree. Like you found out, there are just some moments that are just awkward. It sounds like in this case the awkwardness is entirely Harrison’s fault, since you tried your best to overcome the awkwardness. I have plenty of awkward moments, but luckily I don’t have any Harrisons!

    • coralcap May 11, 2010 at 9:40 pm #

      You brought up an interesting point. Yes, some moments are awkward but overall it’s just in our heads. If we didn’t make a big deal out of how awkward things can be, then it wouldn’t be a big deal in the first place. I used to be a lot shyer when I first met Harrison, so maybe that added to his awkwardness. What happens when two shy people try to have a conversation? By nature I am shy, but as i have matured, I have overcome it more and more. So, speaking as someone who was once terribly shy, I know that making conversation with an outgoing, gregarious person is less intimidating than a quieter person. I think it’s because they do most of the talking in the beginning, which gives the quieter person time to warm up. Anyway, maybe Harrison is shy. I don’t know.

  2. feivelbenmishael May 17, 2010 at 1:07 am #

    What is an Unofficial Shidduch Breeding Ground organisation? NCSY? lol.

    In most awkward moments I suspect that I am one who makes it awkward. I am pretty outgoing but for some reasons there are certain situations where I get really shy and freeze and don’t know what to do, and if no one rescues me I have to say something stupid.

  3. coralcap May 17, 2010 at 3:57 pm #

    NCSY can be considered a USBG. I’ve been meaning to write a post on what exactly a USBG is, but I’ve been crazy busy lately so I have a list of topics waiting in my drafts that are just waiting to be published.

    It’s interesting that you say you are the one to make it awkward; not many people will fess up to that. What kind of situations make you shy? I get that way too. Overall I’m a friendly, approachable person (not sure that I could truly describe myself as “outgoing”), but when I am around someone who I am intimidated by for whatever reason, I can get quiet and unsure of what to say.

  4. feivelbenmishael May 17, 2010 at 7:10 pm #

    If I am introduced into a situation where there are a lot of people I don’t know, especially if any of the people are girls. This seems to happen most frequently when I to a baal habos for Shabbos. I’m never sure what to do, or where to stand, or who to talk to, so I make a beeline for the nearest bookshelf of sefarim, and if there is a study… even better.
    I don’t think I make situations awkward for other people. I am just the main culprit in making things awkward for myself.

    • feivelbenmishael May 17, 2010 at 7:12 pm #

      I’m speaking about the whole situation where everyone shows up for the meal but its not set up yet so everyone is just sort of sitting around for awhile. Ive been to balabatim where this stage can last for more than a half hour.

  5. coralcap May 18, 2010 at 1:24 pm #

    Yeah it can definitely be hard to just “be yourself” when you’re in a room full of people you don’t know. I usually just try to make conversation b/c I know I will only row more self-conscious if I stay quiet (b/c if I’m quiet it means I’ve over analyzing everything). I know exactly what you mean by not making it awkward for other people rather just yourself. Other people don’t really care if we make the effort to talk to them, but it feels awkward to be off to the side, not socializing. bH I haven’t had that circumstance lately. Maybe I just like people more than I used to 🙂


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