You know how some people just seem to be magnets for awkward, uncomfortable situations? Sure, everyone has the occasional odd encounter, but these people just seem to live lives that are full of awkward event after awkward event. It’s not because they’re doing anything wrong, it’s just the way the world works.
It’s fun to have someone like that in your life, right? To hear about those situations, laugh and cringe at their tales while secretly thinking to yourself how glad you are that you’re not the awkward one?
Must be nice.
Based on some of the stories that I’ve shared here on The Wily Hound (here and here, for instance. Oh, and here), it should come as no surprise that I am one of those people. As a matter of fact, so are my siblings. And Justin too, to an extent (although sometimes he toes the line between awkward and just straight up unlucky – remember this?). Between the four of us, we pretty much have an endless supply of cringe-worthy stories. I won’t list them all here because I suspect that when you tell them all back-to-back, they stop being funny and start getting sad and worrisome.
As a result, I’ll just stick to my most recent awkward encounter. I mentioned in Monday’s post that I have been experiencing some shin pain after I run. There is a store near my place of work that specializes in running gear so I decided to swing by during my lunch break and pick their brains a little bit. I’ve been to one of these stores before and they really seem to know their stuff; they get your running history, they watch you walk and run and analyze your gait and then they can recommend a running shoe that will offer you the proper amount of support to help prevent injuries. Pretty sweet. It’s a nice alternative to blindly buying shoes based on what color they are, which is what I had been doing.
I went in and explained my symptoms to one of the employees. He listened intently and offered some possible explanations for my shin pain. He had me walk around the store and told me that the way that my foot was landing is probably the reason that my muscles are strained, which leads to the pain that I’ve been experiencing. I have been in the market for some new kicks anyways so I asked for a suggestion for a more supportive shoe. He brought out a few pairs for me to try on and suggested that I run around in them to test them out. I chuckled to myself, thinking about how silly I would look running around a running store in my work clothes, but figured I would give it a shot rather than just buying sneakers only to find out later that I don’t actually like running in them.
I sat down to put the sneakers on and by the time I was done he was already at the front door of the store, holding it open and looking at me expectantly. He must have seen my wide-eyed look of horror because he smiled kindly and the following conversation ensued:
Store Employee: It’s okay, I won’t make you run too far. Just to that tree at the end of the block.
Me: Oh, well I was actually thinking that I was just going to run around the store.
SE: No, that’s okay, you can run outside. We trust you not to run away with the sneakers! Hahaha!
Me: Ha. Thanks. But I’m wearing my work clothes, I wasn’t really expecting to run…
SE: Don’t worry, it’s not too far! Just to that tree. Go ahead.
Me: Hmm. Well not to sound vain, but I work just around the corner and I might be a little embarrassed if I saw anyone from my work while I was out there. Running. In my work clothes. I think I’ll run inside.
SE: But I need to see you run outside to get an idea of how you run in your natural environment so that…
At this point, people in the store were starting to stare.
Me: Right. Fine, outside it is. Here we go.
SE: Oh, and roll up your pants to your knees so that I can see your feet when you run.
Me: Oh, of course.
So that’s how I ended up running down one of the busiest streets in town at lunchtime, slacks rolled up to the knee and argyle sweater shining like a beacon, while the sales team from my floor headed to the sandwich place across the street. One guy who was walking towards me looked startled and peered behind me to see what I was running from, only to realize that it was nothing. I just appeared to be running for the sake of running. Not a mugging, not a fire, just out for a lunchtime jog. If I hadn’t made myself a promise whilst jogging up that street to never, ever roll up the legs of my slacks again for any reason, I would post a picture here because let me tell you – that is one flattering look.
So yeah, that was my day. Not even a particularly awkward one, just a run-of-the-mill Wednesday.
I hope it made your day less awkward.