I left work right around 5pm. As I was heading down the sidewalk towards the train station, I didn’t realize that a [fairly new] co-worker was walking alongside me. So when we slowed to cross, I loudly said, “Hello!” Startled, he turned to look at me and proceeded to walk face first into a woman coming the other direction. I apologized profusely, totally my fault, and then we crossed the street together.
“Do you take the T?” We said at the exact same time, followed by a synchronized, “Yes.”
“Where do you live?” We awkwardly said again at the exact same time, followed by a pause as neither of us knew whether to answer. I chose to answer first and in the process, I sidestepped some man that was coming at me pretty fast… this caused my co-worker to try to follow my steps, because we were in a conversation, and we both ran into the man.
Somehow we made it alive into the train station and we made small talk until the train came (thankfully less than a minute). I hopped on and he had to wait for his train. Whew, end of awkward interactions, right? Wrong.
Once on the train, I was standing slightly behind and to the left of some man. I was holding onto a pole and he was not, as he seemed to think he could lean back against the window and be balanced just fine. Except the train took a corner very sharp and the man went flying backwards, directly into my arms. Then, because we were still speeding around a bend, he couldn’t get his footing and I awkwardly cradled a fully grown man in my arms until he could stand again.
It was now his turn to apologize profusely and I did that quintessential awkward person thing when interacting with strangers where I smile too wide and laugh and talk too loudly: “Totally fine, I’m fine! I’ve done that exact thing before.” We then stood in awkward silence for the next two stops, but out of the corner of my eye I noticed him to start to quietly laugh uncontrollably to himself.
Finally, we reached my stop. I made to step around him as the train was slowing, and he again began to apologize. I aggressively-kindly told him, “Seriously, it’s okay. Like I said, I’ve done —-” and then the train came to an abrupt stop and I was thrown forward against the doors.
I could not get off that train any faster. And I avoided looking at it as I walked down the platform, afraid we’d make eye contact through the speeding window, and raced to the safety of my home where I did not have to interact with strangers.
All of this took about 5 minutes, but it felt like eternity.
Welcome to awkward life.