I suck at being recognized. Some actors are really good at it. Sally Field is masterful. She is sweet, calm and gracious.
I am not masterful.
It's not that I'm annoyed by people - it's just that I get really nervous because I want to be what they expect of me. I want, for one mere moment of my life, to be cool. Instead, my neck turns bright red and I knock over a water-glass and say something inappropriate because that's what happens when I'm uncomfortable. And when the attention is on me, I'm inevitably uncomfortable.
Then, I end up feeling like I've failed yet again. People walk away and I imagine them saying "Well, that was...awkward."
Sometimes, my awkwardness is only enhanced by the situation.
I used to take these spin classes. If you have ever been in a spin class, you know it is not an attractive time. You sweat, grimace and curse the apparently genital-free person who invented bicycle seats. It’s downright masochistic that they put mirrors in there.
One day, I was working really hard and climbing the imaginary hill. The spin instructor was looking at me, so much that I checked my sports bra just to make sure everything was still in its proper place. She squinted at me with her head cocked to the side. I hoped that maybe she just had sweat in her eyes.
Then, she hoped off her bike, mid-spin and ran to the stereo. She proceeded to shuffle through her songs. She came up with what she wanted, and blasted it. It was Jump Around, the song to which I danced ineptly in Mrs. Doubtfire.
She stared at me, searching for some spark of acknowledgement. I kept my head down and attempted to pedal fast enough that my bike could fly off its stationary bar and slam through the wall and into the parking lot where I could make my getaway.
She yelled to me over the music “HEY! DO YOU LIKE THIS SONG? DOES IT MAKE YOU WANT TO DANCE?” I smiled. Because when I don’t know what to say, I smile. It's like a reflex. Whereas other people wittily retort, I smile and freeze like a wax museum version of myself.
When that song ended, she hopped off again and played another song, Gettin’ Jiggy wit It.
Because it was sung by Will Smith.
Who I worked with on Independence Day.
Yeah, it was something of a stretch, but apparently she begged to differ. She looked to me, raised her eyebrows and nodded, pointing at me with both index fingers all while getting jiggy herself.
“YEAH! RIGHT?” she yelled at me.
"Oh." I said. "Ha."
Which was all I could think of to say.
She seemed to be some sort of musical stalker. I glanced around the room. Did any of the other 30 spinners see what was going on? Thankfully, everyone else seemed more concerned about how much their own asses were burning to notice that I had my own personal soundtrack playing.
There was nothing else to do but keep my head down and cycle faster. And hope she didn't have a cell phone camera. After class, I got my foot stuck in the pedal and fell off my bike because I was trying rush out without being noticed. Guess how that turned out?
So, if we run into each other out in the world, just be forewarned: I am no Sally Field. I will likely trip over something and swear in front of your children.
And I am probably going to be sweating.
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