I think I should have two sections called “MLIA” because My Life is Awesome and it is also Awkward (note the capital “a”). Today’s awkward story is one from a few weeks ago and has some background to it…
As you probably know, I help organize a few co-ed church league softball teams every summer. Mostly friends and friends of friends. I love it. My goal is to always get at least 4 teams on Sundays to play and to not be the organizer of all 4 teams if possible. So last summer I emailed the leaders of a nearby young adults group to let them know about the league and see if they wanted to either have their own team, or put people into the mix with us. I only heard from the organizer, who apparently loves softball and wanted to play, but alas was traveling most of the summer. So he came for one of our practices and then wasn’t able to commit for the rest of the season. Like the nice person I am, when he came to the practice, I knew who he was, so I introduced myself and the team and we practiced. No big deal right?
Fast forward to my next interaction with this character who we will just call Charlie Brown. There are some regional young adult gatherings that include drinking beer and listening to a talk on something theological. Even though most Thursdays I am tempted to skip because I’m fried, I have made a point to go. I may not be meeting lots of new people, but it’s good to go, see people I don’t see often, hear a great talk, drink a beer. I’ve made a point to stay afterward and visit with people too and haven’t rushed out of there once!! True, I do sit with people I know or at least kind of know. I think everyone comes into those things, looking for a seat with someone comfortable.
Anyway, back to my awkward story, at the first such event, Charlie Brown (one of the leaders) approaches me. “Hi Aunt something.” I smiled and shook his hand, “Hi. It’s .” Charlie Brown proceeded to mention softball (our one point of connection) and we made awkward small talk for a few minutes. A month later, same event, repeat same interaction. “Hey, it’s Aunt or something. How are you?” Again, “It’s . Good and you?” We repeated some awkward small talk, softball came up again (our only connection point). I said something about the great speaker that night, and went on to talk to some other people I know.
The third month comes, I sit at a table with a few friends. I’ve sat with them before. Some other people I know came and sat at the next table. Great! This particular night, I’m even more fried than usual. Lots of work drama on my mind, not enough sleep, but I had still made the effort to go. Since I’d gotten there early, I got a table right near the front and took one of the seats along the wall. The talk was great and afterward I was talking to the ladies I sat with, the table behind me- more people I knew- and was thinking about how long to stay since I was fried. Charlie Brown approaches me again. “Hey, Aunt something, right?” Really? We’ve met three months in a row, we can’t remember a simple name? “Hi.” CB: “So I have to ask, I’ve noticed that you always come and sit with the same young ladies and here you are just sitting against the wall (Note: I was talking to people at the table next to me when I was interrupted for this awkward exchange). And you probably leave early too. What’s up with that?” I stared. Awkwardly. What? What is this guy even asking me? He’s waiting for an answer. What? I stammered something awkward “I supposed it’s because I’m an introvert and large crowds intimidate me?” CB: “Oh, you’re not so introverted you can’t run a whole softball league though?!” Suddenly I just feel attacked and called out for being … what? Here I am. Making the effort. Visiting with lots of different people. What the heck??
In his defense, Charlie Brown probably didn’t mean to make it sound like this at all. But seriously? You’re accusing me of sitting with people I know? I think everyone does that! I made some comment about him probably being an extrovert and we concluded that awkward round of discussion when someone else I knew came over to talk to me. Whew.
So there you have it. I am an awkward introvert apparently. Not so introverted I can’t organize a softball league, but introverted enough I don’t go around introducing myself to every stranger in the room. And I feel okay about that.
And this week is another such event. This introvert needs to have some sassy responses pre-recorded for our next round of awkward… stay tuned. And I think I need this t-shirt: