I am awkward in social settings.
The line at my favorite downtown Starbucks was unusually long. At 8:24 each Monday and Friday morning the line has four people in it and usually goes no farther than where the Rice Krispy type treats are in the display case. Today, however, I was late. The line placed me with my back against the door behind ten people; the 8:24 crowd was in the front placing orders for their usual morning vices and were followed by a large family from out of town. The family was causing a minor scene with its teenage daughter ordering something complicated and acting loudly embarrassed as her father was confused about what to call a medium. Following the family was a short guy dressed in sharp jeans, a black t-shirt, and a black flat brimmed snap-back hat. He kept darting from the line to his seat and back and the young woman directly in front of me politely was holding his place which lead me to assume that they were together.
While the Dad was stumbling over his order and the teenager was looking embarrassed and annoyed, the short guy mumbled something about a chocolate croissant to the young woman. She responded with a noncommittal answer of, “I’ve had it before and it’s pretty good.” When it was his turn to order he looked at her and asked if she wanted a chocolate croissant, she looked very confused and said no. He leaned back and asked me the same. I quickly shook my head and became engrossed in digging quarters out of my wallet. He still told the Barista that he wanted two croissants.
After paying and going back to his seat, the young woman laughed and said, “I thought he was asking if they were good or not, not if I wanted one! That was so awkward!” Apparently they weren’t together. I responded with an awkward laugh and a “No!” Why that is what I chose to respond with, I don’t know, it didn’t even make sense with what she was saying. Luckily it was her turn to order so any chance of more social fumbling was avoided.
When it was finally my turn to order, I was already five minutes late for work and flustered by the croissant situation, so I hastily picked something that I hadn’t tried before that cost me an arm and a leg. At the serving dias a Barista called out “two chocolate croissants!” For fear of interacting with the short guy again I became engrossed in playing Kim Kardashian Hollywood, the new and highly addictive game on my phone that caused me to use up 75% of my cell phone data allotment for the month in just a week and a half.
This guy would just not get the message and came up to me with the little pink paper bag that one of the croissants was in. He dangled it in my face and asked, “Are you sure you don’t want one?” Annoyed, I looked up from the “high profile appearance at Panino” that I was playing in my game and said, “I’m allergic to wheat, sorry.” Something about being allergic to one of the most widely used ingredients in our country, makes people uncomfortable. While not intending to make another awkward moment, I unfortunately did. He scrunched up his face in a confused way and walked back to his seat. In hindsight, he probably thought I had just made something up to make him leave me alone, which in his defense I kind of did, but his confusion really made me want to say, “No! I really am allergic to that croissant, it is made of flour, which I can’t eat because flour is gluten and I have a gluten sensitivity!” I refrained.
Finally my iced mocha was ready and I could leave the Starbucks. In a hurry to get in my car and speed down main street I somehow became entangled in my skirt. Since I was parked on a hill my car door swing shut and closed half of my body in the car while I was trying to juggle my oversize handbag and my coffee in one hand. Subsequently I spilled the drink all over my car seat, blotted it with the towel I keep in my car (thank you Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy) and was a grand total of fifteen minutes late into work.