One great thing about the holidays is all of the wonderful conversations you are able to have with family, friends and new acquaintances.
One not-so-great thing about the holidays, though, is all of the awkward interactions you have every year. Here are just a few of mine from the last week.
The first occurred when I was waiting to meet some friends at a restaurant for a holiday get-together. I arrived first and the waitress told me that I could choose a table. From about 10 feet away, she then asked if it was just me for lunch.
“No, there are two more coming,” I said, and I held up two fingers. Then I paused for a moment and got her attention again and said confidently, “So that’s three total.”
“Oh yeah, I got that,” she said.
“Oh, right,” I replied and suddenly realized that I had sounded as if I was not sure if she could add 1 plus 2 properly.
I had originally been concerned that by holding up two fingers, maybe she hadn’t heard me from across the room and she might have been confused about how many people were in my party. I couldn’t really explain that, though, and instead just tried to be extra nice (and likely sounded extra dumb) the rest of the time we were at lunch.
The next evening, I was finishing up some Christmas shopping at a very busy store and had returned my grocery cart inside the store when I had another odd interaction.
I had gone in through the entrance door you are supposed to use (even though my family members disagree), put my cart back, and then headed toward the exit door.
Some people were coming in the exit door, so I waited politely for them to enter (while I had a conversation in my head about proper doors) and then I headed out the door.
Or at least I tried to head out the door because all of a sudden, wham! I ran into something and was stopped in my tracks.
I looked up and noticed that I had walked directly into the sliding door that had closed in front of me and knocked it off of its track.
“How did that happen” I thought to myself. “I hope no one else saw it.”
As I looked around, though, I noticed that everyone around me had seen it, and they were all stopped and looking at me, even the scofflaws who had entered through the exit door.
“I ran into the door,” I said stupidly as I looked at the now somewhat crooked door. I had no other explanation to give the crowd around me.
I slowly pieced together that the door had opened for the people entering from the outside, and since I was coming from the side, I had not stepped on the item in the floor that triggers the door, so it had actually started to close as I was walking into it.
I couldn’t explain this to anyone, of course, so I tried and failed to put the door back on correctly, and then got the attention of one of the greeters.
“I accidentally walked into the door and I think I broke it,” I said to her sheepishly. The woman was very nice about it and walked with me to fix the door.
“That happens about twice a week,” she said to me with a smile. “Thanks for letting us know about it.”
I had never seen it happen before, but I was relieved that she was kind about it and that she didn’t make me pay for the door. I guess they let broken doors slide.
The third instance came when my son, Ben, and I drove through a fast food restaurant with the only goal of getting a to-go sack that we could put a Christmas present in. He thought it would be funny to put his cousin’s gift in a fast food bag for wrapping, so we went through the first drive-thru we came to.
That drive-thru was a Captain D’s restaurant. We weren’t hungry at all, so I was hoping to order some cookies or something else we could eat later.
When we got to the menu board, though, we noticed that they sell a sea-gull stuffed animal called a “D-Gull.” I had never heard of this before, but decided to purchase it so that we could get a sack and also see what a D-Gull is.
“Hi there, I’ll just have a D-Gull,” I said to the drive-thru board and wondered if I sounded crazy.
“Why would anyone buy a D-Gull?” I said to my son after we pulled up and waited.
“I guess we just did,” he said. “I bet they are in there right now on the phone to the corporate office telling them that someone came through the line and only ordered D-Gull.”
“They’re probably talking about us,” I said. “Check out the two people in the drive thru who are only buying a D-Gull.”
It’s fun to say “D-Gull,” so we kept talking about D-Gulls for several more minutes. And when we finally got to the window and paid, the very nice woman gave me a D-Gull and no bag.
So, I handed the D-Gull to my son, and then got the attention of the woman again and asked for bag.
“Oh certainly,” she said, “I understand.”
“Ok,” I said, more confused than before about D-Gulls.
What did that mean? What did she understand? Did she think I was embarrassed about buying a D-Gull? Do D-Gulls somehow become more valued as collector’s items if I keep them in the original Captain D’s bag? Do I not want to be seen carrying a D-Gull around town?
I’ll never know, but my son and I soon drove away with a fine D-Gull that is much larger than you think it would be, and it made a great present.
It was such a good present, in fact, that I wish I would have gotten the woman’s attention one more time and said to her, “I think I’ll buy two more D-Gulls. So that’s a total of three D-Gulls.”