Nowadays, my interactions with “other people” (besides Onyx and my husband, basically) are pretty limited and mostly consist of greeting clerks at the grocery store and saying “good morning” to random neighbors when walking Onyx. As an introvert who sometimes verges towards misanthropy, I’m pretty okay with this. But then, on the rare events when I do go out and speak with people, sometimes I’m blessed with the most random, awkward, or just plain weird conversations to make me want to go out more just to increase the chances of them happening more often.
Because, if nothing else, I get a good story out of it.
Here’s a sample of some of those recent interactions.
I’m at a bar with Husband. We’re sitting on the sidewalk patio, and he goes in to order some food and another round of drinks. I pull out my phone to occupy myself for five minutes.
Another guy approaches and asks if he can sit at the open space at our table (it’s a picnic table that can seat 4-6 comfortably).
“Yeah, go ahead,” I say, briefly glancing up from my phone.
“Whatcha looking at?”
I look up, feigning (sort of) the shame you’re supposed to feel when you get caught absorbed in your phone and not connecting with the “real world.” “Oh, just checking Facebook.”
“Oh, Facebook.” He makes this little sound, like pfft.
Then he delivers what’s probably a well-practiced rant about how terrible it is that so many people would rather be checking social media all the time than engaging in the world around them.
Now, generally, I agree with this point. When I’m in a group, I usually try to avoid looking at my phone unless I’m settling an argument about some random fact. But I was (momentarily) alone and had already sized this guy up as “fucking pretentious hipster” so I wasn’t inclined to agree with him out loud.
“I don’t know, a lot of times what’s on my phone is way more interesting than whatever’s going on around me,” I say. I’m probably a little too proud of myself for saying this. Normally, my conversation style with strangers verges towards “so nice I’m practically a doormat.”
As is the way of fucking pretentious hipsters, he continues to try to both convince me he’s right and make me feel bad for not living my life the way he thinks I should. I stand firm on my stance without really engaging. I’ve fallen into this trap before, but this time I’m sober, and can think a little more clearly.
Eventually he abandons this line of “conversation” and asks me what I’m getting to eat. The grilled cheese sandwich, I tell him.
“What? Grilled cheese? There’s, like, no nutritional value in that whatsoever.”
Let me point out, here, that this bar we’re at is super hipster (so I wasn’t that surprised I had gotten caught in this conversation) and literally everything on the menu is local, organic, farm-to-table, seasonal, and every other foodie buzzword. The grilled cheese was served on some special artisan bread with organic, artisan cheese flavored with unicorn farts or something to make it cost $12. It was also the only thing on the menu where I actually recognized every ingredient.
“…Maybe that’s not what I’m going for.”
He starts telling me everything else on the menu I could’ve gotten that’s healthier. By now, I’m so pissed that I’m just staring blankly, nodding slowly with pursed lips to show I’m really not interested in talking to him anymore. But he doesn’t get the hint and keeps annoying me until my husband finally returns with my beer. Shortly after that, the guy’s friends show up and they find another table. I now have more fodder for strongly disliking hipsters.
You Have a Blog?
A friend of my husband’s has come to town for a bit. He asks how my work is going and at some point in my answer I mention this blog.
“Oh, you have a blog? What’s it about?”
“Um, uh, kinda…whatever I feel like writing about? Like, it’s something that’s just a creative output where I can write whatever I want instead of stuff for clients. I don’t know, running…and…other stuff.”
It was the most awkward, worst ever blog “elevator pitch” anyone’s ever given, ever. I really don’t go out of my way to talk about this with my “real life” friends and I’m totally fine if they never read this. It’s already weird enough knowing my parents and brother and second grade teacher do.
About a month ago, a friend had an extra ticket to a craft beer tasting thing downtown. We went, we sipped some beers (and ate really amazing meatball subs), we chatted. At one point, we were talking, minding our own business, when two guys walked up to us.
They asked us if they could “test” something. They’re not weird, they insisted, but they do this thing where they go to bars and stuff and watch people talking and try to figure out what they’re like. And they’d done that to us and wanted to see if they were right.
My friend and I exchange a look and shrug. “Go for it.”
They thought we were sorority sisters, that my friend was single (wrong), lived downtown (wrong), and had dragged me out tonight (she invited me but there was no convincing or dragging required). I, according to them, lived in Ocean Beach with my boyfriend who was kind of a loser, but who I’d been with for a long time so I was kinda settling with him. (I assume they thought this because I was wearing a brewery trucker hat to cover up my unwashed hair.) Again, wrong on every possible count.
We were most offended by the fact that they thought we had been in a sorority.