Saturday, December 17, 2011

The Awkward Moment When You Have To See Long-Lost Family Members

              Today, I had the pleasure of spending an entire day at my aunt’s house in California for a family reunion. The weather was nice and the beach twenty steps outside the backyard looked enticing. In other words, it was a perfect day in the making.
                Except for the family part of the reunion.
                After not living in/visiting California for a while now, seeing family was just kind of… uncomfortable to be honest. I mean, what in the world are you supposed to talk about? You always end up talking about two things: school and relationships (as the above picture describes quite precisely). Conversations usually go something like this:
                “So, Sarah, how’s school?”
                “It’s not bad. Can’t complain that much.”
                “Are you doing well?”
                “Are you in clubs?”
                “Yes, orchestra and After School All-Stars to name a few.”
                “That’s good. Are you studying for your SATs or ACTs now?”
                “So. Boyfriend?”
                “That’s okay.”
                “Is it bad that I don’t have one?”
                “ ‘Course not…”
                “Alright then. Um… erm… I think I hear my mom calling. It was nice talking with you Auntie…”

                Yes, I am a socially awkward person. It’s okay. Luckily, family cannot judge you because they realize that if they judge you, they’re basically judging themselves since you’re part of their bloodline and let’s be honest, they came before you, so who’s to blame? I’m not really sure if that sentence made sense; partly because it was an extreme run on. My English teacher that ignores me would tack off five points with a smile.
                Maybe I should work on some social skills before I attend the next family reunion; talk to a mirror for five minutes, then have some already prepared answers for the questions I know will be coming so people won’t be disappointed. Sure, I’m stretching the truth a bit, but it makes conversations with family less awkward, I don’t think anyone will be complaining. Maybe conversations will go like this:
                “So, Sarah, how’s school?”
                “Fantastic! I’m on the honor roll and a perfect 5.0 GPA!”
                “Wow! That’s impressive! Are you in clubs?”
                “Yes, I am the captain of the math team and I am the first chair in my orchestra!” (both of these are complete lies)
                “Not bad. Studying for your ACT/SAT?”
                “Of course I am- I take classes every Saturday and will be taking the ACT in January.” (um, have I mentioned that I have no intentions of studying that hard for these tests?)
                “Do you have a boyfriend?”
                “Obviously. He’s 6 foot 3, smart, athletic, and super nice, don’t you approve?” (well isn’t this a joke…)
                “Of course I do!”

That conversation will never happen… but let’s get over it.
Family reunions will always be awkward.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Awkward Moment When You Stare At Someone While Daydreaming

I love orchestra. Who doesn’t like playing instruments that damage your back and twist your left arm around awkward instruments that are shaped like, well, you get the point. Today, we had a test, yes, a test in an elective that’s supposed to be a blow-off class. Every year, the band and orchestra and choir collaborate together to piece together the song “White Christmas,” and every year, the band and the choir take up the stage, and the orchestra is forced to play on the wings of the stage, having the song memorize. And today, the conductor was testing all of the orchestra players to see if they had memorized their parts.
           As one could probably predict, I did not memorize the piece. The reason for this is half because I expected my doctor’s appointment to end much later than it did (I had been pulled out of school and hadn’t expected to get back until the class after orchestra) and half because the last time I picked up my violin to practice, one of the strings snapped in my face and it wasn’t a pleasant experience.
            The conductor said that we could have twenty minutes to rehearse before he tested us, and many of the students resorted to practicing like good Asians should (sorry, but about 90% of the orchestra is Asian). However, I really didn’t want to crack open the violin case that sat at my feet, so I propped my feet up on the case, leaned back , and thought about my health test that I was to take tomorrow that was on STDs.
            Of course, while I was thinking about this, I didn’t really think about where I was looking, because sometimes when I daydream, my eyes are open, but I’m not really seeing what’s in front of me.
            Oh, the poor cello player who probably thought I was mad at him.
            When I finally snapped back into reality, the kid who I was subconsciously staring at gave a wounded look, like he was afraid of me. Luckily, he wasn’t shy and came up to me and asked what I was so upset about, because apparently, I had been glaring at him and I hadn’t even noticed it.
            I’m real passionate about that health test tomorrow, that’s why I was glaring. I was in full concentration mode.
            Just kidding. Studying for health class is like pulling out teeth. It’s painful and to get it done, someone would probably have to put me on some kind of drug for me to go through with it (Note: I am not advocating for taking drugs while studying).
            I guess I’m lucky that people in the orchestra aren’t really shy with each other and are able to go up to each other and ask why they were glaring at them. Sadly, I am not as lucky to have those kinds of people in the other classes in which I daydream about random things (such as pancakes, like the guy in the picture). So, I’m sure that about half my social studies class thinks that I’m mad at them since I’m always daydreaming in that class.
            Perhaps one day someone will tell me every time I stare at someone, because that would be very helpful, and would perhaps avoid that awkward moment when the person you are staring at and you both lock eyes.
            Well, that’s all I shall write tonight.
            By the way. I passed the orchestra test. Standing in the back and being short has its advantages.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Awkward Moment When Your Yearbook Drops On Your Head

Photo Credit to

              On Thursday, I came home from school extremely exhausted. I had just had a math test first thing that morning, and then right after, I took a Comparative Global Issues Test (which I probably got a C on, if I’m lucky). I was tired and was looking forward to a nice nap. I opened the door to my house, walked to my room, and…
            Tripped over something and landed on my face. I groaned and stood back up, only to fall again by slipping on a sock that I had left strewn on my floor in my rush to get to school that morning. I threw a mini temper tantrum before realizing that the closet space that I call a room was beginning to look more like a garbage dump than a living area. So, I got to work and began cleaning the place, completely forgetting that I was exhausted. I put a load of clothes in the washer, put books on the bookshelf, folded laundry that was supposed to be folded weeks ago but ended up under my bed, and cleaned up my dresser, which was cluttered with hair products and eye contact solution.
            Next, I started clearing out my actual closet, and to my surprise (although I really shouldn’t have been surprised), a book fell on my head, and then a whole bunch of books started raining down on me. After cursing everything around me, I took a look at the books that had tried to kill me.
            Middle School yearbooks.
            Ah, yes, the pain of taking pictures in the middle of your awkward stage. That acne that you thought was under control? It shows back up only on the day of pictures. The flyaway hair you paid extra to stay in place at the salon? Yup, it’s there too, only on the day that you need the perfect picture. Spaghetti sauce on your new shirt? Classic. Patchy eyes because you forgot you had pictures and stayed up late watching TV? They’re there.
            How embarrassing. It kind of makes you wonder years from now when your classmates pull out these random books (or if the books fall on their heads and they decide to open them) if they will look at your picture and go, “Oh hey, I remember her. Gosh, what’s wrong with her shirt? And that hair? Oh my Lord.” Hopefully people have more tact, though, and will go, “Oh, I don’t really remember her, but I’m sure she was somewhat normal.”
            Well, it’s a good thing I was exhausted and didn’t check any other pictures from my embarrassing past, or else I’d probably try to white out all my old photos. The second I finished looking at one of the photos, I got tired and fell asleep.
On the floor of my room.
Guess I just went back to where I started.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Awkward Moment When Your Stomach Growls

When I’m not deriving mother functions, attempting not to touch asymptotes on graphs, and not telling people to Fog Gof in my Algebra 2 class (okay, please excuse the math humor here), I am often thinking about food. I think it’s probably because I have math first thing in the morning, which is, just to my luck, when I am about as alert as when I am sleeping.
The chances of me eating breakfast is very small. I have a carpool I need to think about, homework to finish, and sometimes I wake up at 7 in the morning. Chances are, all 3 of those are going on that day, and I get out of the house at around 7:15, pick up my carpool, and step into my math class just as the bell rings.
My teacher tries to mix up the seating each math class by having the SmartBoard mix our seating chart around, but I always end up sitting next to the same couple kids. Not that I’m complaining, but a lot of my friends are in that class, and I’m always on the other side of the room that they’re on. My luck is wonderful.
Anyways, usually around 8, the pains of not eating since the last night will start to show.
The worst part is, my stomach growls so loudly sometimes that the little freshman next to me stares at me like I’m some sort of circus act. Which, I mean, I’m sure my face looks like it that early in the morning.
But it’s even better when the class is silent while taking a quiz and then my stomach growls.
What’s even better though?
When several people’s stomachs growl in, like, the same minute.
They’re all the same.

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Awkward Moment When Your Little Sister Asks For An iPhone for Christmas

Photo Credits to
             On Monday, my mom passed out pieces of paper to my sisters and me at the dinner table and asked us to write a letter to Santa. My seventh-grade sister and I rolled our eyes casually and wrote the letter halfheartedly, you know, the usual, “Hi Santa, I’ve been good. Now hand over the gifts and maybe I’ll put out of cookies on the 24th.” But, my second-grade sister made sure to write her letter very slowly, thinking about what she really wanted and probably giving examples of when she had done something worthy of a gift (sharing her toys, not slapping her older sisters, etc). After she had finished writing, my mom collected all of our letters and put them on top of the fridge so no one could reach it. Being the bad daughter that I am, I still went to get them when she left the kitchen. I decided to read the seventh grader’s letter first. She asked for soccer equipment, which isn’t exactly surprising since I think that the girl lives and breathes soccer.
         But then, I read the second grader’s letter.

                Dear Santa, I have been very good lately. I shared my dolls with my friend yesterday and helped my mom clean up the cichen (kitchen, for those of you who don’t read 2nd grader language). For Christmas, I want an iPhone because Mrs. L. has one, and it has fun games on it. I like the one where you jump on blocks.
            Sincerely, Kathryn

                I spent a good amount of time staring at this letter. I hadn’t even asked for an iPhone, and I’m the one with the broken phone! This made me think about how fast kids are becoming addicted to technology. Kathryn already had her own notebook laptop January of her first grade year (her class made their own blogs, so this is why she needed one, or so she claimed), and even my baby brother, Matthew, had one of those new vTech-baby laptops. Let me tell you, when I was in first grade, I used to write things longhand, and when I was a baby, I played with Winnie-the-Pooh stuffed animals. And I wished for a stationary set in second grade, not a new phone.
                Kids these days are kind of getting ridiculous.
                But you know what would be more ridiculous?
                If Kathryn actually got the iPhone.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

The Awkward Moment When The Teacher Calls On Everyone EXCEPT You

Note: Names have been changed for privacy reasons

         “Circle up,” my teacher, Ms. Brown, says. It’s the usual routine- getting 26 desks to form a perfect circle in the windowless cell that I call my English classroom. The 26 of us grumble about having to move our lazy butts into formation, but we do it nonetheless, because, well, that’s just what honor students do—they do things that they don’t want to do simply to please adults (it’s kind of like taking the honors class to please their parents).
         Ms. Brown asks a prompt question to get the gears in our small heads turning, and I raise my hand quickly, but someone beats me to do it, and he is called on.
          It’s okay, I think to myself, I’ll just keep raising my hand and then I’ll share my idea.
          5 minutes pass, the Ms. Brown hasn’t called on me yet. I jot my idea down on a sheet of paper because I have the memory capacity of a goldfish and pray that she will call on me.
          10 minutes pass, and my arm is crying, begging me to put it down, because blood is no longer circulating to my fingers.
          “Jonny, what do you think about this?” Ms. Brown asks a boy who sits in the corner. He shrugs nonchalantly, says something to get her to accept that he doesn’t know the answer, and goes back to sleep.
          The same girl who has been picked on about four times now raises her hand.
          “Nina, you may talk.”
          Alright, so at this point, it has been 15 minutes and I think that everyone in this class has said my ideas, which I am writing on my paper, but then I have to cross them off. Please pick on me!
          Finally, after 20 minutes have passed, I hear my name.
          “Sarah, anything to add?”
          “No, sorry,” I say simply and call it a day. My arm is dead and I give up. All of my comments have been said in some shape, way or form by the girl who gets called on at least 4 times a day.
          After class, I ask Ms. Brown how I can boost my participation in her class. Her answer?
          Raise your hand.
          And I take that. Because I’m an honor student, and I do stuff because it makes you happy, Ms. Brown.
          Just one request. Please call on me next time.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Awkward Moment When A White Van Follows You

Photo Creds to:

A couple of days ago, I had the pleasure of walking home alone after school. I had just finished my duties at the high school Halloween party, and watched as small children came and went in their costumes. I saw princesses, ghosts, donkeys, you name it—kids are getting pretty clever these days. 
Anyways, I turned on my street and suddenly heard tires behind me. Normally, I would simply step aside and allow the car to pass, expecting to see an Acura or some other common North Shore minivan. However, this time, nothing passed. In fact, no matter how far off the road I went, this car wouldn’t pass. So, I slowly turned around, and of course, staring right back at me was a white van, and I could see an arm sticking out of the drivers’ seat, holding a cigarette, which “fell” casually to the curbside. I shrieked and sprinted to the closest car. I probably looked ridiculous as my backpack hit my back, but I didn’t care. I hid behind the car and had a mini heart attack as I searched for my phone so I could speed dial my mother in the case I got kidnapped (which, let’s be honest— calling her wouldn't make a difference—mothers never pick up their cell phones on the first call).
Now, here’s the embarrassing part. As the car slowly drove by, I heard, “Sarah… is that you…?” Turns out, the van belonged to my neighbor’s friend, and my neighbor was driving the van. I attempted to look cool by checking out the car I was hiding behind as if thinking Wow, what a nice Saturn Sedan we’ve got here… but obviously, I looked stupid no matter how I tried to cover my tracks.
I guess I could be considered extremely prejudice for assuming that the white van was owned by some kind of rapist, but I don’t care. If I see a white van, I’m running to check out the nearest sedan. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Awkward Moment When You're In An Elevator And A Stranger Walks In

 A couple of months ago, I was taking a class at an office building. To get to the class, I had to enter a sleek revolving door, walk down a marble hallway, pass the ball of aluminum contemporary folks call “art,” and go up an elevator (that played some great saxophone music) seven floors.
      Out of that entire journey, the most hated part was not getting hit by the revolving door that spun too fast for my liking or slipping on the marble floor on rainy summer days. In fact, the worst part of that trip was the long anticipated elevator ride, wondering if someone would walk into my private cubicle attached to a couple of wires.
Why must elevator rides be so awkward?
Am I the only one who would rather be in a small, vertically moving box alone rather than being next to a complete stranger?
      Luckily, I am not, and there is actually a site that I found that has ideas on how to make elevator rides less awkward.


o    1
Say Hello. I'm not telling you to start up a full fledged conversation. Say "Hi"-at most "How are you?" Remember, when people ask you "how are you?" they really do not care about how you are! They are attempting to do the same thing you are-which is make this as quick and painless as possible. Speaking is better than not speaking.
o    2
Do not seem too interested in the other person in the elevator. This will come across as creepy, not flattering. A good way to tell whether or not you've done this is if you are the only person in the elevator and there are several other buttons still lit up. Conversely, if you are trapped in an elevator with a creepy person, abandon ship and take the next trip up/down.
o    3
Make eye contact but do not stare. If "hello" is too much for you, look at the person and smile. This can be replaced by a head-nod if you are male. You're making a conscious effort to say, "Yes, I realize there's another person in the elevator with me, but if I wanted to speak, I would have opened my mouth."
o    4
Be courteous: This includes no cell phone talk or bodily noises. At best, this is a 5 x 5 room. We can hear (and smell) everything you may do or say. Enough said.
o    5
Finally, say "Goodbye" or "Have a nice day." If you've greeted the person, you might as well get closure from the encounter. You'll feel immediate relief once you exit the elevator doors. Walk forward, and start to breath normally again!

       I completely agree. But then, there are also those unspoken rules about riding in an elevator, like you must stand facing the door, don’t make eye contact (that’s just creepy), keep your noises to yourself, and don’t speak unless you are asking what floor your new acquaintance would like to leave at. Which do you follow? Which are you allowed break?
      One day, I’m just going to break all the rules. Next time I enter an elevator I’m going to bring a batch of chocolate chip cookies, and for every person that enters, I’ll make eye contact, hand them a cookie, comment on the weather, and ask how the kids are doing.
     Okay, maybe I’m actually too awkward myself to do that, but I think that I shall enjoy my time being stuck with an utterly complete stranger, and revel in the ten seconds we spend together. I think that we shall converse about the weather.