I put on a good facade and pretend like I hate awkward situations and uncomfortable exchanges, but here’s a dirty little secret: I love them.
I love observing human interaction in general (psych and sociology classes in college were like brain candy) and I especially love surprise “out of the norm” situations. Witnessing a very public fight between lovers, running into an ex-boyfriend who hasn’t spoken to you in 10 years, or peeing your pants on stage in front of 1,000 audience members (true story, happened to me. Wasn’t funny at the time, FYI), all of these are horribly wonderful. There is something about awkward encounters that are miserable, yet they get my adrenaline going and I can’t get enough of them. I know, it sounds slightly sociopathic, but surely I can’t be the only one who feels this way.
The truth is, I get bored by normalcy and people very easily. I’m not saying I’m the world’s most interesting person and other people are simply not fascinating enough to hold my attention (not by any stretch of the imagination– I can be very vanilla), I’ve just always had a tendency to prefer the different folks in life, the ones who when we end a conversation, I think to myself, “what the f*$# just happened?” I love it. I love their abstract perspectives, their complex emotions, and interesting mannerisms. So in some ways, I think I subconsciously strive to be the type of person who is polite, kind, and respectful, but also leaves people with a healthy dose of “something isn’t quite right in her head.” Is that so wrong?
For example, when I was getting a sonogram of my massive, baseball-sized ovarian cyst a few years ago, I smiled sweetly and asked the ultrasound tech, “is it a boy or a girl?” Isaac shot me a sideways smile and we both fully enjoyed the woman’s horrified look. She started fumbling with the papers in my chart and rechecking the ultrasound image, trying to see if she had the wrong patient. “Ummm, errrr, uhhhh, it’s not….this isn’t….ummm, what did the doctor tell you exactly?” I can never hold a straight face for very long and eventually assured her I was kidding. I knew I was pregnant with a baby-sized cyst, not a cyst-sized baby. She didn’t find it as funny as I did.
I’m also one of those friends who likes to humiliate her friends in public. Once while at the laundromat with my friend Dani, I yelled across the room, “if you would stop wetting the bed we could stop making trips to the laundromat every weekend to wash your comforter!” She was humiliated, and yes I know I was a major jerk. But it was also hilarious in that jam packed laundromat. Sorry, Dani.
I have been thinking about this obsession with awkwardness all day as I am preparing for my sleep study taking place tonight. I’ve been daydreaming about how it will go, what the results will be, and how in the world I’m going to fall asleep with hundreds of wires glued to face, scalp, and extremities. I also had a vivid daydream which left me snickering to myself while chowing down on a burrito at lunch. I was thinking about how funny it would be to wear some really sexy, inappropriate lingerie to my appointment tonight. When the techs came in to start hooking me up to machines, I’d take my robe off and be like, “is this okay to wear?” Their eyes would bulge, their faces would turn crimson red (as would mine because I often make even myself blush), and they would stammer and say it’s fine while averting their eyes and trying to leave the room as soon as possible.
It’s not some sick fantasy I have to reveal myself to people and it’s not about trying to be the center of attention, because that’s not really my personality. It’s more about making people laugh. I love making people laugh, and if I have to do it at my own expense, then so be it. I like to watch people squirm, make them uncomfortable (not in a malicious way, I never do anything terrible). Give them a story to tell around the dinner table. It breaks up the same, unvaried routine of life that so many of us get into by working 9-5 jobs. While I may dream about my creepy lingerie/sleep study fantasy, don’t worry. I’m not actually going to do it. Just a fun scene to act out in my head.
I’ll be back with sleep study results when they’re in!