Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Long Walk

The following happened to me the other day. It’s happened to me before, and I always cringe when it does. Has this ever happened to any of you guys?

I was at an off-site meeting with a group of people that I had just met for the first time, and therefore didn’t know very well.

This may come as a shock to you all, but I am a VERY shy and introverted person. Really. I can’t handle meeting new people.

When I am around people that I don’t know, I have a completely bat-shit panic attack, but I keep it all on the inside. I compensate for it outwardly by being exceptionally outgoing, loud, and smartass-y, but inside I’m completely freaking out.

So anyway, after this meeting, I was walking out of this building with a bunch of people that I didn’t really know, and as I was walking, I was making small talk with one of them.

We continued to chat as we walked out the main doors, where we stood for a minute, finished up our conversation, and said our goodbyes.

Keep in mind, the ONLY thing going through my mind during this time is “I REALLY don’t want to talk to this person anymore! I just want to get to the nice, quiet, hermity solitude of my car so I can get the hell out of here!”

So, we said our final goodbyes, and I started to walk away, assuming for SOME reason that this guy was going to walk off in the opposite direction to wherever the fuck HE goes to hide from other people, when what does he completely surprise me by up and doing?

He starts walking in the same direction as me!

Apparently, we were parked in the SAME parking lot!

So, NOW what the Hell do I do? I already said “goodbye” to this guy, but here we are, walking side by side down the street, NOT talking to each other like two complete jackasses.

Should I strike up a new conversation?

Should I just accept that my life is done interacting with this person, and just pretend he no longer exists and ignore him?

Should I drop back behind him, and just kick him really hard in the balls and then run like Hell?

I was completely freaking out. The silence was completely fucking deafening.

Finally, after walking TWO complete blocks next to this person in complete silence, I finally broke down, and said…

“So, what the Hell do you want to talk about now?”

And that seemed to break the ice a bit. I did what I ALWAYS do, and made some jokes (like if he was trying to stalk me, he was doing a pretty piss-poor job of it so far), until I was able to dive into my car and speed away like a bat out of Hell.

I don’t know why things like that freak the shit out of me, but they sure do.

What the Hell is wrong with me?

P.S. I’m pretty sure that that dude is NOT stalking me. He got into his own car and never looked back, even when I lifted my shirt and flashed him some boob. Bummer.


Unknown said...

I wanted to say thanks for stopping by MY place...and now I can tell you I have sooo been in that same place...LOL...

Nej said...

I'm the worst conversationalist ever. EVER!! Small talk should be listed as my worst fear. :-)

I compensate for my shyness by being...well, really really quiet. My first impression to people is probably "what a bitch!" I don't know what to say, so I say nothing. I sit back, and get to know the people first.

Although, in your situation, I probably would have laughed...and asked if they were following me. Something really lame like that. :-)

Tamara said...

Yes! This happens to me all the time. It's almost as awkward as when someone you're not expecting to do the whole cheek-kiss thing does the whole cheek-kiss thing and you end up getting smooched in the ear. Although I'm guessing that happens more to us chicks ;-)

Slyde said...

dawn: im glad to know im not alone!

nej: its funny you should mention that, because im the same way. I ALWAYS hate people first before i get to know 'em...

Tamara: HEY! thats sexist! I can get my ear kissed as much as any girl! Harumph!

Heff said...

I feel your pain. "hermity solitude" is my middle name.

Mrs. Hall said...


Here's the thing. Along with need for things to be even (or was it touching things with the left hand?) it appears, like most of your engineer bretheren, there is a certain amount of social anxiety or difficulty interacting with others.

But either way, it is all rooted in anxiety. You deal with this anxiety by being loud, being a smart alec and fleeing.

Or you do what you did with touching things with the left hand (or was it the right) YOU CHALLENGED YOURSELF and dammit Slyde YOU WON!

So, let me propose this.


~Thought's By Dena~/ JDs Gift Shack said...

Just wanted to say thanks for stopping by my blog...once I got to yours and started reading I couldnt crack me up....oh and by the way I hate moments like this...I love my solitude...makes me feel all fuzzy inside!!!! hehe

vixen kitten said...

I wish I could relate, but you are talking to the girl who can't go to the piggly wiggly without having a converastion with every cashier about how their *fill in the blank here with mama, babies, dog etc* are.

When I worked in a high rise for 11 years I knew the janitors life stories. People just talk to me, and I guess I learned to ask the right questions back.

Believe it or not....I use to be shy! :)

I hope you are having a beautiful day.


Mrs. Hall said...


Next time, acknowledge the growing tension, and breathe, breathe breathe, resist the urge to drown it out by being loud and class clowny. That is not taking care of the anxiety, in fact that is just making it grow. So, take charge!




say to yourself, "I'm ok, it's ok" and breathe and repeat.

And know you are a worthwhile guy, fully able to contribute to small talk, and enjoying others. Even stranger others. Because life is fun Slyde.

You can make it funner every day.


ok mrs. hall out!

Slyde said...

mrs Hall: thats very interesting.. i never tied my social anxiety with my OCD (and it was making things even.. the left hand thing must be from some OTHER wackjob you know)..

dena: thanks! love your blog by the way!

vixen: see? you are the kinda chick i need to hang out with more, to show me that talking to strangers will not end with me imploding..

Slyde said...

heff: I figured you for the hermity type too.. im in good company!

Big Pissy said...

Wanted to say "thanks" for stopping by my blog. :)

As for being'm the opposite of shy. I can talk to any one anywhere and usually do. :)

Slyde said...

pissy: Im jealous :)

Mrs. Hall said...

Crazy is my business remember? :)

Well, I can say, that people who have certain a certain type of intelligence (engineers) are pre-disposed towards OCD/social anxiety and trouble relating to the general populace.

Have you ever heard of the term "Asperger's Syndrome"? It is the extreme example this type of combination (engineer type smart/have ocd/social anxiety).

Now think about your former classmates.

Co sin! Co sin! RAH RAH RAH!!

Any of them twitchy, gesticulate a lot with their hands? Could they spend 16+ hours working logic puzzles or board games that require strategy? Any of them have trouble looking people in the eye, do a slight rocking motion when sitting still, having trouble understanding others because others DON'T think logically? Very rigid and depend a lot on rules/rituals in life? I can guarantee you a good 65% of your class mates fit this type of profile to one degree or another. The others flunked out.

I am not saying by any means you have Asperger's, I am just saying, these traits of super smart engineer/ anxiety ocd traits go together like pb and j. And again, it there is a spectrum to this combination.


Now, you, you have achieved a marriage, a kid. You have challenged yourself with the evenness. You have control over your anxiety :) So challenge yourself further! small talk. learn to enjoy others. Everything is skill to be learned.

again, life is fun. you can make it funner every day.

Mrs. Hall said...

o and btw. when Mr. Hall read the school song from your post

he got all flush and excited and started telling me all about the meaning of the lyrics

saying it was 'the fun kind of math'

so yeah, engineers can catch the best babes because of who they are


i am the diva said...

just reading this made me all anxious and twitchy... i feel your pain, baby

Slyde said...

holly: lol! you just made me spit out my water (which was weird because i'm not drinking water right now).

I'm sure someone will chime in here (ahem), but i know all about "Asperger's Syndrome". My game group actually took an online test a while back identifing how bad we each had it.

as for playing boardgames for 16+ hours straight, i refuse to answer that on the grounds that it very fucking definitely will incriminate me.

Slyde said...

diva: thanks, sister! p.s. im still at work, so i still cant see your video.. darn.

Dr Zibbs said...

And then you both went into the same hotel room.

Could this be? Perhaps a mistake?

And when you thought he was reaching to put his key into the hotel room next to yours, the two of you put your keys into the same slot.

There was awkward laughter.

Then, he pulled off his lifelike looking mask.

"Earl you asshole!!"

Then the two of you went to IKEA to pick out furniture you would use in the fort you've been talking about building.

The end?

Sass said...

I personally would have gone with the kick him in the balls option.

I think that always takes care of deafening, awkward silences the best.

Candy's daily Dandy said...

Funny, the boob thing always works for me.....

sybil law said...

I think you and I are freakishly alike! Even the boob flash! :)

(Which of course means you are perfectly normal and actually, quite extraordinary, right?!)

Mrs. Hall said...

What exactly made you do a spit take sans water?



Ali said...

I HAVE to meet you now! I'm totally going to take advantage of your inner freak-out situation and fuck with your head :)
Ooooh, I can't wait!

Ali said...

P.S. I'm not shy, in the least.

Evil Twin's Wife said...

Very awkward, but I am a nervous bert and just keep talking and talking and talking when I feel most uncomfortable. I'm sure I could have kept the convo going all the way to our cars, but not without heart pounding palpitations (thank goodness for Ativan).

Chris H said...

I am totally gob-smacked to think of you as shy! It just does not add up to the smart arse guy I am coming to know!
Making conversation with complete stangers is not new to you mate.. I think we all have a hard time with that.
Sounds like you did OK ... though you probably didn't need to flash ya man boobs (as if you did!) lol

mo.stoneskin said...

Man that kind of thing freaks me out too. I hate it. It's like if you say goodbye to everyone at a party, leave, then realise you forgot your coat and need to go back in. I hate that and would rather sacrifice my coat than to be seen as the guy who has forgotten it!

Janine / Being Brazen said...

I have had that happen to me was very awkward

Dr Zibbs said...

You've been mentioned on TBY.

Unknown said...

I'm shy and freaked out at first too when I meet new people. But I have found, over the years, most people are. I start by just saying, "Hi, so what company are you with? Where is that? How many customers do you have?" And people LOVE when you ask them things about themselves. It losens them right up and I actually love to hear about other people's company.

So, you wouldn't even know if I stalked you. I could walk right up, bump in to you and say, "Hey, what's up?" or "Watch it fucker!" Or scream really loud "Don't grab my boob again you pervert!" Would that losen you up? LOL

terri said...

I have a similar personality. When it comes to expressing myself on the blog, words fly from my fingertips. But when I need them to come out of my mouth, I struggle and panic. And I rely on jokes to cover up the panic too.

Ookami Snow said...

I would have looked for a place around me the looked the least bit exciting and dove into the store for a minute until he was gone.

something like:
*Noticing deluxe cheese grater store*
Then say to him:
"Oh, look, I need to stop by this store, I have been wanting to get a new cheese grater since I wore out the old one... see ya."
Then mill around the store long enough to make it look like you actually were interested.

Verdant Earl said...

You should have kicked him in the nuts and ran screaming to your car. That would learn him.

It's funny, I have noticed that you are a little different around folks you don't know. You tend not to look at them directly either. Which is weird because you are very confident around those how know you.

I used to hate meeting new people, but now I just roll with it and enjoy it even. I don't know when it changed, but now I am very comfortable entering a situation with folks I don't know.

(See? I don't always have to be an asshole with the comments. Just most of the time)

WendyB said...

Sounds like you handled it rather fabulously/amusingly!

Suburbia Steph said...

I would've acted like I forgot something and had to go back in the building....

diane said...

I don't think I would have looked back either, you probably scared him out of his wits with the stalker small talk.

If that should happen again, just laugh, not too loudly, and say "well, it looks like we're going in the same direction". This should break the ice, and small talk will ensue until you get to the safety of your car.

Thanks for your comment. I found your blog through TBY, who is obviously controlling us all.

Real Live Lesbian said...

I am painfully shy and I despise making small talk....

but I hide like you behind the jokes and crap.

You never know....maybe HE was thinking the same damn thing!

Kimberly Wright said...

Omy, my heart was racing while reading this. Then I busted out laughing about kicking him in the balls and then running like hell. heeheee.

I hate that kind of awkwardness too.

Callie said...

Ewww - small talk with strangers. Nothing worse. Actually, there IS something worse - a shopping mall at Christmas. But other than that - yeah, totally been there.

I would have opened my cell phone and called anyone, just to make weirdo stranger not expect me to converse.

Michelle said...

Slyde if we ever met we would be sitting or standing or walking in silence!!!!

Just saying!!!

Unknown said...

Ohmigod, I'm the exact same.If we ever meet lets skip small talk and go straight to drinking.

Cocaine Princess said...

I'm terrible at small talk.

diane said...

Just popped in for another peek at your comments. I love zibbsy's ending to your story, which is further proof of his power over all of us.

Slyde said...

zibbs: thats EXACTLY how it happened... thats eerie!

sass: i agree. Ball kicking usually is a good ice breaker

candy: i dont doubt it.

sybill: EXTRA-extrodinary!

Holly: at this point, i dont remember anymore. i have a very short attention span.

ali: NOT shy? YOU? i'd never have guessed.

evil: i get that way too.. all chatty, but im dieing inside..

Slyde said...

chrish: yeah, no one beleives me when i tell them im a shy dude..

mo: absolutely! the party thing freaks me out too.

brazen: we agree!

zibs: you are the man! thx for that.

bina: so i CANT grab your boobs? i hate when you send me mixed signals like that...

terri: thats right... jokes and smart assed comments are our friends...

ookami: beleive it or not, that had occured to me.

earl: i'm not sure how to respond to you when your not calline me a dick.

Slyde said...

wendy: amusingly for me, anyway :)

suburbia: ANOTHER idea that had occured to me..

diane: tyb is the thread that controlls the universe...

reallive: you behind behind crap? ewwwwwwwwwwwwwww

beautifulwreck: most of us do, it seems..

callie: lol.. i actually considered doing a "fake cell phone call"

michelle: but with you it would be COMFORTABLE silence..

Slyde said...

meghan: drinking, then sex, right?

cocaine: YOU? i find that VERY hard to believe..

diane: yes, zibbsy gave me a good chuckle with that one too.

Elise said...

It's always awkward when that happens... I always feel less awkward than the other person though. There was this one guy who just stopped walking and turned red. Poor guy. xx

Kylee said...

Hahahah. That's happened to me before. It's really shitty when the dude was just trying to hit on me, I let him down easy, and then we end up walking together. Sticky situation, for sure.

Slyde said...

elise: its just a bad situation all around...

kye: ouch! getting rejected and then doing the long walk? cold....