FROM AWKWARD SILENCES
“It’s only awkward if you let it be.” ― Silvia Donahue
Do you ever go to sit down at a table and there’s complete and utter, bottomless silence. No one is speaking and twenty seven seconds later, there’s still no one speaking. You start to think maybe it’s you. It must beyou. They probably wanted to have a conversation without you, but now you’re there—your thighs are sweating themselves onto the pleather chair and you’ve already begun unraveling your turkey sandwich and shoving puffy Cheetos into your mouth. There’s really no turning back now, because the only thing more uncomfortable than the ring of orange fuzz around the rims of your lips would be for you to try to tip toe away from this circle of shh.
Perhaps it’s because you smell. You did go a bit wild this morning with the Victoria’s Secret Coco Loco body spray, now didn’t you?
Enough is enough—you just can’t take it anymore. Even your carrots are starting to shvitz. So you say something, anything, really.
My god, this sandwich is divine.
So, how about them Heat? Really racking up the ol’ baskets.
And so you resort to the one topic that rarely lets you down—the weather. But after a short sequence of back and forth banter about how it’s so miserably humid and everyone’s electric bills are about to be as expensive as Lindsay Lohan’s lawyer fees, you find yourself back in square one.
It’s time for a story:
This morning I stepped in a puddle and lost a shoe. Can you believe that? Before I knew it, I was on 26th street and my shoe, on 27th. I had to crawl through traffic and swinging umbrellas to reclaim my left size 9.
And they’ll start to look at you in such an overdramatic dazzling disappointing way. So you stop. One guy packs up his roast beef sub like he’s seen better days and a guy across the room lets out an indebted chunk of laughter. You are forever grateful, to him.
You wonder if you weren’t here, what things would be like. I bet everyone would be roaring and kicking back their head in sheer giggles. I bet Joe from accounting would be telling some amusing story and everyone would instantaneously add in their remarks like they were commenting on a Google doc. But you’re here, now, and for some reason everyone is silent.
You wonder if anyone sitting here feels like you do. How they can simultaneously swallow their tomato mozzarella sandwich and the silence all at once. They are pro’s at this—maybe one day you will be too.
Or maybe you won’t.