Some people are naturally clumsy, often falling over, knocking things over, spilling things on themselves etc. I wouldn’t say I am one of those people but I would say I am a social clutz. By that I mean, I am not completely socially inept, I do have reasonable social skills, but I am forever putting my foot in it, saying the wrong thing, not thinking before I speak, and getting caught out staring at people or listening in to their conversations. I am also often caught laughing at my own jokes (when no one else does), nodding and smiling when I don’t understand what someone has said after asking for the third time, and apologising when someone bumps into me!
It is a constant embarrassment.
Often I accidentally blurt out something I don’t even believe in but a phrase I know well. For example, today I did something a little dumb and said to my highly intelligent, and blonde-haired colleague, ‘Oh I am just having a blonde moment, no offence’, instantly offending her when actually I don’t even believe that blondes are stupid and in fact, I would be so lost without her. The moment I actually THOUGHT about what I was saying was that split-second before I tacked on the ‘no offence’ part of the sentence, making it even more offensive to her!
The other thing I do is make jokes, usually quite dryly about a person, a situation or an event usually with my most commonly used tone of voice – sarcasm. Then I walk away, wonder if the person I said it to actually got what I meant and think of all the other ways they could have taken my joke and stress about having potentially offended them along the way. I end up over-analysing the situation until I’m so anxious that I become even more socially clumsy by then proceeding to go back up to the person, say something along the lines of ‘I hope you didn’t think I meant A when I in fact meant B’, and bringing up something that wasn’t even an issue for said person in the first place, and making a spectacular mess of it all when really I should have just left it alone.
I am also disastrously curious about the lives, thoughts, feelings and goings-on of others. Particularly strangers. But I am by no means a subtle person. I am often so caught up eavesdropping in the conversation happening on an adjacent table in a café/pub/restaurant that I find my head fully turned and me staring directly at those poor unsuspecting strangers. Hubby is often kindly pointing this out to me and saying something or kicking me under the table to make me stop. I am often so engaged my facial expression changes to the key of the conversation in question i.e. happy, I smile; funny, I laugh; sad, I frown etc. (This happens while I’m watching TV too).
Still on the subject of restaurants, another terrible habit of mine is talking REALLY loudly about something semi-private, or about someone (like something the waiter said for example) and swiftly landing myself in a situation where people can overhear me, thereby embarrassing my friends. I honestly cannot tell you the amount of times eyes (and heads) have rolled when I am out to dinner with mates and I am talking TOO loudly.*
The worst is my aforementioned tendency to playback every conversation I have throughout the day considering all of the possible ways someone has taken something I’ve said, and all of the possible meanings of things other people have said to me and worrying about how I could have done it differently. I usually repeat the conversations so earnestly in my head that I unknowingly say them out loud (while I’m cycling or on the bus home) and the social clumsiness is highlighted when I look sideways and realise people can hear me talking to myself like a crazy person.
All in all, it is really difficult being inside my head sometimes. I’d like to think it was as glamorous as being a little like Bridget Jones, or like Miranda from Sex and the City, who still manage to have glamorous successful lives at the end of the movie/show but really at the end of the day I am just a social clutz who’s world more closely resembles that of socially awkward penguin. Forever clawing my way through life trying to get through each day without saying something stupid.
* Alcohol is often involved in these particular situations.