“Awkward!”: A Piece of Fiction Inspired by an Awkward Fact

awkward

 

We froze, staring at each other.  Him standing, me sitting.

A brief first encounter but not one I’d easily forget.

My gut and clenched jaw conveyed to me that I was being an inconvenience to him.

His face was incredibly stern, lifeless, what counselors would call “having a flat affect”.  I wasn’t intimidated, though I certainly should have been.

A sneaky grin, coated with sarcasm, curved onto my face as I innocently answered his first question, while shaking my head, “Oh no, the picture I took of you…it’s for Facebook. You know…to teach my friends a lesson, while learning mine.”

His initial silence spoke volumes as he handed me a thin piece of paper, “If you wanted my number all you had to do was ask for it?”

Without saying a word I crumpled it up and shoved it into my overly stuffed purse.

Hoping I would never see him again, I watched as he walked away.

Arrogantly, he stopped and waited for me to leave first. Determination kept me there but I finally gave in just wanting to be as far away from him as possible.

It took me a few minutes to be sure he was no longer near me before I felt safe.

Even though I couldn’t stand him, when he was out of my sight, he was anything but out of my mind.  For the remainder of the night, he was all I thought about, as I committed the structure of his face to memory.

Immediately, his stolen image was texted to my closest friends and of course, my status updated with it too.

What was he thinking stopping me like that? He knew it wouldn’t make me happy.

Sleep was the only remedy for moving
past our uncomfortable encounter.

The night seemed much shorter than it really was.  The vibrating buzz next to my head gradually brought me out of my coma-like sleep, my thumb putting my phone on snooze.

Ten minutes pointlessly felt like ten seconds, “Ugh!” I had to get up.

An oscillating fan blew my bedroom window curtain to the side, “Just like I thought…cold, dark and drizzling.”

There was always comfort when it actually rained, like visible drops of rain, but when it drizzled, it felt like I missed something big and only caught it’s miserable end.

I scratched my kittens head with the corner of my phone as he rubbed up against mine, “Time for me to go again, Fluffernutter.”

Having a mind of its own, my thumb sneakily slid to the photos app to reveal his picture once more,  “Like I really need to see that!?” Moving past last night wasn’t going to be easy.

An early breakfast certainly wasn’t going to happen, so rather than dwell on it, I darted out the door, covering my head with my hood, to shield me from the obnoxious “rain”.

Fourteen hours had passed since our cold encounter, but who was counting?

I was.

It took some concentration but as soon as I convinced myself that he no longer mattered and that I never had to see him again, there he was, insidiously behind me, like he totally knew I was going to be right there at that exact moment.

Did he know where I lived? Was he following me? Was I safe?

Pulling my cap as low on my forehead as I could, I held it’s brim looking down, ostrich style,  hoping he wouldn’t notice me, even though I knew he did and rolled down my window before he asked me to.

Extending my arm out to him, holding exactly what I knew he wanted from me, I shook my head slowly back and forth, still looking down, in shame.

He reached over, taking what he came for, “I clocked you in at forty-five miles per hour this time, Miss.”

Flushed with reddening cheeks I didn’t look up, “I am so so sorry.”

“Where are you headed, Miss?”

I continued to talk to my lap, “School.”

Three of his fingers wiggled in my periphery, “Well, I’m not going to write you up this time but three’s a charm.”

“Thank you.  You have no idea, I am so so sorry.”

He wished me well, “Be safe out there”, and like a champion, strutted away.

By this point I knew the routine and pulled out first.  The heat of his stare followed me from behind all the way to my next turn.

While coasting away, slowly, I beat myself up, not for getting pulled over twice in less than twenty-four hours but for not asking him to take a “selfie” with me.  You know, to continue teaching my friends a lesson as I continued to learn mine.  Lord knows that after being forced to go thirty miles per hour, I certainly had enough time to think about it.

 

 

 

To Thine Own Self(ie) be True

Lincoln Selfie

 

“Trust your self(ie). Create the kind of self(ie) that you will be happy to live with all of your life. Make the most of yourself(ie) by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” – My edited social networking version of a Golda Meir quote.

Selfies. Selfies. Selfies.
There I said it. Selfies.

First and foremost, I am capital G.U.I.L.T.Y. of the dreaded “Selfie”. Secondly, there are several words in life that I despise and “Selfie” is one of them. (Might I add that the word “Selfie” does not come up as an error in autocorrect and to be honest I’m not so sure how I feel about that.)

It wasn’t until recently that “Selfies” started to create quite a stir in the world of social networking. My Facebook newsfeed was littered with both comments by “Selfie Haters” and posts by “Selfie Players”. I saw “shares” of posts entitled things like ‘Top Ten Worst Selfies’, ‘Best Selfies of 2013’ and even ‘The Most Dangerous Places to Take a Selfie’.

Then one day, a private message from a friend, asking me not to be offended by the posts she wrote about hating “Selfies”, showed up in my inbox.

Next, on my newsfeed posts from people emphatically trashing people who take “Selfies” were woven between actual posts of “Selfies”.

And finally, discussions, compliments, insults, and in my opinion way too much time thinking about “Selfies”, started popping up everywhere.

That being said, my opinion of “Selfies” has been shelved in the back of my mind for quite sometime.

It wasn’t until a couple of days ago that the drama of opinions about “Selfies” actually made me think about taking the time to blog about them.

Essentially, a non-social networking friend of mine was stunned when the topic of “Selfies” came up. Said friend made a jab/joke about me taking a “Selfie” (or two…or three…) and the person he was with at the time had a difficult time grasping the fact that my friend had done that.

Though I wasn’t actually present during the conversation, it was my understanding that my friend was told that the joke about me taking selfies was a huge insult.

But in my world, I didn’t give a @&$^.

Self portraits have been made by civilizations since the earliest of times. For me, Self Portraiture started many moons ago, way back when, in the ancient world of the 90’s.

Repeatedly, throughout my years in Art School, I was assigned to make collages, take photographs, draw, paint, sculpt, write about, film, sketch, animate and create three-dimensional expressions of my external and internal self. Thinking about how I “looked” inside and out was a very basic and average subject when living a life studying the arts and the concept of “self” seemed even more important when obtaining a degree in Counseling. After all, if we don’t truly know ourselves and aren’t comfortable in our own skin, how on Earth can we know others.

Yes, one can argue that what I described above is art while snapshots from a smartphone is simply a snapshot of arrogance. But who are we to decide what is art and what isn’t?

Maybe the guy at the gym with his bulging biceps thinks his abs are canvas worthy. Maybe the tired mom, who has been taking care of five kids, finally had the time to get a haircut and some rest so she decided it would be a good day to snap a shot of herself before the bags under her eyes come back to haunt her. Maybe the person at a stop light had a really bad day and in that fleeting moment she finally felt good about herself because someone smiled at her before she got in her car and she wanted to capture that moment.

Perhaps the teenage girl in high school finally escaped a barrage of name calling, insults, verbal or physical abuse and sadly can only feel good about herself when her friends click a “like” button. The reasons behind a “Selfie” are endless.

For me, my personal self expression journey, via social media, started when I signed up for Facebook years ago, asking me for my name, location, movies I like, books I read, favorite quotes, interests, am I single, am I married, when was I born, where was I born, where am I now, who am I with, when did I graduate, where did I study, what did I study, do I have a job, am I still at this job, am I at a new job, what do I do at that job, how long have I been at that job, who am I friends with, who are they friends with and what’s on my mind? (To name a few).

And all of those questions were presented and answered way before a profile photo even came to my mind.

The way I see it, Facebook and all avenues of social networking are a form of self indulgent “Selfies” through and through.

When posting a link we assume people care. When we update our status we assume people care. When we talk about the successes of our families, their illnesses, births, deaths, graduations and pregnancies we assume that people care.

What’s the weather like where I am? Am I cold? Am I hot? Am I hungry, tired, having fun? Who’s with me? Did I have fun with you?

Here’s a photo of us having fun. Here’s a photo of you not. I’m at this store. I saw this movie. I liked it. I hated it. I passed a test. My kid scored in soccer. My daughter got married. I got divorced. I agree with this political view or maybe I don’t. I’m right, you’re wrong. The list of how social networking is all about us goes on and on…

So when my profile has my name on it and my profile knows more about me than I probably do, I see no harm in including a self portrait/snapshot to visually represent the me I currently am.

I mean you did just read that I was shivering in the cold, eating a turkey sub, while my sister was giving birth to triplets in room 405 at the hospital and since no one’s around I’d better document myself to go along with it. After all wouldn’t you rather see a picture of me than what’s currently digesting in my stomach and preparing to come out.

Agree with me or not, (feel free to post your opinion on Facebook in the off chance that someone actually cares) the way I see it, if someone else takes a picture of me and I post it online, it’s nothing but a “Selfie” taken a few feet away. All that matters to me is whether or not the person posting pictures of him or herself online treats others with genuine kindness and respect.

So “Selfie” away my friends because Lord knows that a great deal of people in this world care only about themselves anyway, whether they take pictures of themselves or not, probably because they are spending far too much time in front of a mirror.