“The existence of other people is essentially awkward.”
― Lionel Shriver, Checker and the Derailleurs
There is nothing more awkward than misunderstanding a situation and having to deal with the fall out afterwards, when your brain doesn’t catch up with the moment until you are well and truly knee-deep in misunderstandings. It often happens around the microwave at work during the busy lunch period (“Are you feeling OK? You sound sick.” “Are you saying I look rough? My boyfriend dumped me” Oooooooouuuch.) or when making polite conversation on a conference call while waiting for all attendees to dial in, but the most awkward one is when you accidentally overhear people talking really loudly and can’t help but laugh at their conversation. It happens a lot on public transport when you either overhear a really inappropriate chat or someone misunderstands the conversation you are having. I can assure you, this happens to me, Awkward Annie, at all times.
On Saturday I went for a lonesome jolly around London (one of my favourite pastimes) and hopped on the bus as my little legs were weary, to take me home. I sat behind two twenty something boys who were whinging about their girlfriends and the lack of fun in their lives. My ears pricked up. I’m nosy, and was hoping to uncover some sort of weird fetish that would provide me with a story for my friends at a later date. None of that, but it didn’t take a psychologist to work out what the problem with this guy and his girlfriend was.
“I just don’t get it. She literally doesn’t want any physical contact with me anymore. We’ve only been together three years!” Poor him, I thought, that doesn’t sound nice.
“Ah mate” his friend replied “Does that mean you haven’t had sex since dinosaur roamed the earth?” Good line..
“Nah not really. She doesn’t like the fact I play Xbox in bed, and also she thinks it’s bad that I thought the clitoris was a Greek God till about two years ago”.
I snorted. I couldn’t help it, my iPhone battery had died (again) and I had nothing else to do but listen in! They turned around and scowled at me like I had mugged their grannies, and then I made it worse. Of course I did. “Sorry, but it WAS funny”. I know, I’m going to hell without a get out of jail free card, but if you are sensitive about this kind of chat then please, for the love of Christ, don’t talk about it on a busy bus.
And then, this morning, when getting the Tube into work, he and I were laughing at the fact he never gets angry over anything, except the amount of people in the tube station. I get annoyed at a lot, but funnily enough the amount of people at the Tube isn’t something that bothers me. The way i see it is everyone needs to get to work one way or another, and sometimes you get a bonus cuddle with a hottie if the tube is full. Or a tramp, which in all honesty, is the more likely one to happen to me.
So I was laughing at the rage of the happy kid and how he turns from this smily character in pretty much the image order above, and said, not in a loud voice; “Try not to assault anyone on the platform today, Hulk. It’s not the done thing.” I didn’t realise however that a woman was actively listening to our conversation, and as he got off the tube at his stop she visibly shrunk against the side of the train to let him pass, like the rage was catching and she had a low immune system. She then proceeded to try to catch my eye for the rest of the journey, and scowl when she did, and I swear she stuck her foot out when I got up to get off the tube. To give this some background, he isn’t exactly rocking the Rocky look, smiles at everyone and when we were out one Friday night, after walking past a homeless girl, he doubled back and gave her a tenner because it was cold.
You know what though? Life would be far less amusing and easy to get through without an awkward situation or two.
Have you ever overheard something really funny when you probably shouldn’t have been listening?
** I would never actually say this. This was another overheard bus conversation, but this time, amongst teenagers, a breed I don’t understand and a language I am not fluent in.