I've been writing part two of the Plain White T's trip, but to be honest, it's dragging and I don't know how to end it, so I've decided to procrastinate (hooray!) and instead tell you a tale about my terrible, terrible social skills.
Just about every day, my co-workers and I walk to the local Starbucks for our afternoon break. We walk and talk and laugh and generally pay no attention to our surroundings, focused mostly on exchanging our money for calories and a feeling of superiority.
Yesterday, as I was about to enter the Starbucks, I heard somebody yell my name behind me. Confused, and probably deep in a discussion about something profound and theological (probably something in the realm "Dr. Horrible's Sing-A-Long Blog," the state of Taylor Swift's personal life, or the always-interesting debate over whether we'll have to go to the bathroom in heaven), I turned around and scanned the crowd of people behind me.
My group was all there, and then I saw her, a girl who looked very familiar, waving her arms at me.
"Mandy!" she shouted again and waved.
"Hey! How are you?" I shouted stiffly over the crowd of people at the patio tables as I realized that this was Leslie, my sister-in-law's roommate from college.
Leslie is by far one of the funniest, most fun people you could ever be around. I remember her telling stories when I was hanging out with her, my brother, and my (then future) sister-in-law in college, and we would all be laughing so hard that we were fighting for breath. She was studying to be a teacher, which was extremely fitting, because, as my brother always told her, she would fit right in with the middle-schoolers.
I glanced at the clog that had formed behind me at the Starbucks door, mostly made up of people from my own group, waiting for me to open the door so they could enter the coffee shop.
Jack and I have this pet peeve about being in people's way in public places. People who stop in the middle of crowded walkways drive us crazy, and the rule is that we stay out of people's way even if it's inconvenient or means splitting up when we're walking together.
I looked back and forth between Leslie and the door.
"I'll meet you in here," I mumbled and pointed at the door, assuming that she was coming inside as well.
With that, I ducked inside quickly and got out of the way of the door, standing uncomfortably close to somebody sitting in the big chair by the door. I faced the window, watching Leslie get closer as the crowd entered the building. All of the sudden, the crowd cleared and I saw a little dog emerge from behind the patio tables and chairs outside, and I realized that Leslie was attached to said dog via leash.
At that point she was past the door, still looking in at me, and all at once I realized that she wasn't coming inside at all. I waved at her awkwardly until she was out of sight, and in retrospect I'm not quite clear on why I didn't just step back outside to talk to her.
But in that moment, I was just like, "Welp, it's too late now. Guess I'll just have to settle for waving at her from this fortress of glass from which there is no escape!"
I felt bad about what had just happened, and I kept repeating "I thought she was coming inside!" to my friend Debbie, who had watched the whole awkward thing and already begun making fun of me for it.
Fast forward to this morning, when I got this e-mail from my brother - the subject line read "Mean!" and it simply said: "You blew off Leslie???" He included a link to a blog entry she wrote about the interaction, and I laughed and laughed when I read it. And, you know, felt terrible about it again.
I think she was right though, for her own sake - it was probably a good thing she didn't have to interact with me more than she did. There's no telling what I would have done next.