I’ve been flying the freak flag high since the moment I stepped off a plane in the U.S., a week ago.
I keep having these supremely awkward interactions with people. Its as if my brain now has only two speeds in which to work; either "slowly processing words” or “Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee,we’re speaking ENGLISH!!!” And the real problem is that I never really know which mode I’m in. So I’ve had people casually ask me how I'm doing only to get a blank, confused stare in response because my brain is all seized up, nervously searching out the appropriate reply. And I’ve had the opposite extreme occur, where someone says the simplest thing, requiring only a slight acknowledgement, but instead they get barraged with a torrential outpouring of words and information they never wanted.
Like when this happened the other day as I was leaving Starbucks:
This guy said, “You have pretty hair.”
And instead of saying “thank you” like a normal person, I said: “Doyoureallythinkso?! Because I haven’t had it cut in like a year and I was just about to make an appointment with my stylist downtown because I think it’s gotten way too long but the air is dry here and I think that makes it look better than normal cause I live where it’s like so humid that it doesn’t normally look like this, ya know?, so I was thinking it’s definitely time for a change and maybe even a different color which I’ve never done before but I’m for sure getting it cut because it’s been soooo long…. Except for my bangs. I do those myself.”
And as I was demonstrating how I cut my own bangs with my fingers in the shape of fake scissors, my brain said to my mouth, “SHUT YOUR TRAP, YOU FREAK SHOW!!!”
Then I abruptly turned around and walked out the door.
I’m extra disturbed by this trend. It’s like my missionaryishness is increasing. And now it has gotten to the point that I can’t even deal in my hometown.
I get the whole “third culture” thing. I do. I understand that just by the nature of our work, we’re going to experience changes and we’re going to have to adjust when we come back to the states and there will always be some part of us that doesn’t feel at home anywhere and blah, blah, blah.... But, for real? The church already has enough socially irrelevant spaztards out there, dropping awkward bombs in the name of Jesus as a personal vocation. And I really, really, really don’t want to add to their ranks.
I can live with the fact that my clothes are out of style…. I hate it, but I can live with it. I can totally get by without Starbucks and Poptarts and Chick-fil-A – these things are not deal breakers for me. But. This social ineptitude is making me very uncomfortable. And I don’t know what to do about it. And I don’t know if there’s anything I can do about it. All I know is that when I say “Let’s get Taco Bell!” and “taco bell” comes out “tah-co vell” cause I said it with a Spanish accent, I sound like a real douche.
And missionaries shouldn’t be douchey. You know… ideally.
Dropped an awkward bomb lately? or had one dropped on you? ...It sucks, doesn't it?!