Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Awkward Encounters

1. Most of us have learned long ago that relationships will, at some point, be weird. I've had a couple encounters over the last few years that have left a lasting impression, if not permanent damage.

During any given shopping trip in our small town it is RARE to make it out of the store without seeing at least one person you know, if not my usual barrage of fans. A couple weeks ago I was walking past the check out lanes and saw a lady I "kind of" knew. We exchanged hellos and she took a step towards me. She was obviously moving in for a hug. Not wanting to be "out hugged" I stepped forward and embraced her first, all the while trying to figure out when we reached hugging status.

Once I released her we exchanged pleasantries and she continued on her previous trajectory, reaching for some aisle-end impulse item. Like a point guard going for the hoop, she had been trying to reach her item all along before I stepped in and hugged her.

I kicked myself all the way home for taking the relationship to the next level. To make it even more awkward I had a Facebook friend request waiting for me from her when I got home.

2. The other encounter occurred when some friends and I were crashing a wedding reception in Vienna, Austria. We started dancing with the locals and mimicking their moves until everyone on the dance floor was in a big circle.

I wound up positioned between two Austrian women, their hands on my shoulders. As the song sped up, so did the dancing. The lady on my right had been "enjoying" the evening and the associated beverages. As the dancing sped up her hand got lower and lower on my back. Not knowing any Austrian and fearful I wouldn't have a story to tell, her hand eventually came to rest inside my quick dry travel underwear on my bare butt.

I just kept dancing and smiling and looking forward to bringing my travel partners "into the loop."

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