As is the social custom, I’ve just spent a large amount of time with family members over the holidays. This year, a large portion of that time was spent feeling awkward and out of place. I think I’ve reached that stage where I’m in a social no man’s land. I’m not old enough for the older adults to talk to and I’m just past the age cutoff to participate in the conversation with my niece and nephew and their significant others. On Thanksgiving, it isn’t a big deal because there’s plenty of football to watch. There’s no gridiron action on Christmas though. Instead, there’s the continuous looping broadcast of A Christmas Story. I love that movie, but I’d rather get whacked in the nuts with a soup ladle than pretend I’m interested in watching it for the eighth time in a row.
I can remember numerous times in the past when I would try to add to conversations only to have my comments hang in the silence for a moment and fall to the ground unacknowledged. Few things make me feel like I have DUMBASS tattooed on my forehead more than that does, so I’ve learned the value of just sitting back and listening. I’ve embraced my role as the perpetual audience member, moving through the gathering and using nonverbal responses and body language to encourage the conversations to continue. Even in no man’s land, I try to do my part to make sure everyone around me has a good time.
My enjoyment of people-watching keeps me entertained. That and a steady supply of alcohol.
I don’t know if you experience this, but there are several stores in my area with names that people constantly get wrong. Here are a few:
- “Barnes & Nobles” instead of Barnes & Noble
- “JCPenneys” instead of JCPenney
- Putting “The” in front of names like “The Walmart” or “The Taco Bell”
- These aren’t exactly one-of-a-kind outlets. There’s one of these located every 350 feet. I don’t know which one you mean. You might as well tell me “that place with walls and a parking lot”.
- “The Dollar Store”instead of Dollar General or The Dollar Tree
- You could be talking about either place, and they’re usually on opposite ends of town. If I’m meeting you there and you just say “The Dollar Store”, I’m going to make you wait a while just on principle.
- Pronunciation: “KRIS-chul” instead of Krystal (like “crystal” except with a K)
- This often gets a “The” in front of it too.
- Krystal is similar to White Castle in case you have those in your area.
- You can count on getting an intense craving for some Krystal burgers a handful of times a year. Although they do taste great, the ensuing gastric distress will remind you why you don’t eat them more often.