Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Pregnant Pause...

I actually dig an uncomfortable, awkward silence among people. I don't know why. There just seems to be so much more energy in the air, with a particularly singular emotion shared by all (or most, at least). It's something I've only come to realize about myself over the last couple of years. Maybe it makes me a freak. I tend to think it falls in line with the Pisces part of me that likes harmony among people.

I think my recent favorite Moment of Awkward Silence was during a show store preparation earlier this year. We were discussing how to arrange displays, and one person in our group made a wisecrack that could have been construed both racist and sexist, and then proceeded to laugh about it. I think it was mostly his being overly-tired: we were all running 16 hour workdays, and he was getting tickled. Meanwhile, we all managed to busy ourselves with something else for a few seconds until he composed himself. I turned away so as not to laugh. Not because the crack was particularly funny, but because I enjoyed the moment of quiet shock we were all sharing.

Anyway, I was the unintended cause of a moment of awkward silence.

We are preparing another Show Store. This time, for the holidays. This one isn't nearly as stressful, since the showstore is in my home town, and we actually have sufficient hands to prepare the beast.

Late in the day, I made the acquaintance of a customer. It was an older lady, though I can't put the age any closer to the bullseye than 45-75. She was short. And she was mentally handicapped.

And very personable.

We talked for a minute, after she said Hi to me. I did not catch her name, but she will be having pizza for supper tonight. We also agreed that it rained quite a bit today.

At this point, a couple of co-workers wandered up, and my new friend commented "I like your hair!"

I keep my hair fairly closely cropped. I do this for a couple of reasons. It's easier to take care of, on mornings when I have to get up at 4:55. And, my genes have made it so that I am balding somewhat, a fact that I share a tentative peace with, that is, until I catch a security camera shot of the top of my head, or I start liking somebody enough to ask them out. And? I am naturally curly-headed. So, if I let my hair grow out, I am afraid it leaves my coiffure somewhere in the neighborhood of Larry Fine, though not quite in the Bozo the Clown range....


"I like your hair."

"Well," I answered, smiling, "I like yours, too!"

Then came the pause.

Did I mention that my friend's hair was as closely cropped as mine, if not more closely? We were Brother and Sister in Buzzcut.

I want to say that, because it was the only thing running through my mind at that moment. Her face fell for a moment, and I started to think of any way how I could explain making a mentally handicapped lady cry in the middle of the grocery store.

The pregnant pause gave birth after an eternal moment's gestation. Luckily, after careful consideration, my new friend found my comment uproariously funny.


Just oof.

We all get a turn in the chute, and today was mine...


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