Amanda, The Social Interaction Expert

I know this will be very surprising to all of you, but I occasionally* do stupid things. Normally I carry myself with great poise and dignity but yesterday was a different story. Yesterday I made myself look a fool to a complete and total stranger who is now my new coworker. I don’t want to say that I made the best first impression ever, but guys I did it. I freaking did it.

You see, I have a problem where I don’t pay attention to things that are happening around me very well. My mind tends to wander, and often when my mind is wandering, people try to talk to me. This never ends well for me. 100% of the time I respond inappropriately. For instance I once ordered simply the color ‘black’ at Chipotle thinking they were asking about beans, when in reality they wanted to know what kind of meat I wanted. Black is not the proper response to that question. I would never, ever want black meat. That’d be gross.

Luckily when I respond like an idiot people tend to stare at me in a manner that shows that I responded like an idiot. Then I’m given a chance to try again. If I was never given a Mulligan, I would quite literally have zero friends and would have eaten a lot of really weird food. Yesterday though, I found a way to top all the stupid things I’ve ever done. I’ve hit my stupid peak and I can only get better from this point on….I hope.

Unfortunately stupidity was just oozing out of my pores yesterday. It all started at 6 am.

I had recently purchased a new pair of jeans. I was a big fan of these jeans. I tried them on the dressing room of the local Old Navy and they fit like a gem, so naturally I bout them and wore them the next day without properly washing them first. This was stupid mistake number one. These jeans were a dark wash jean, which while give a slimming look, do not do good things to you if you have not washed them. Around 9 am I looked down at my hands and I was turning blue. Not sort of blue, but blue enough that it looked like the circulation in my hands was no more. To the regular eye, I no longer had blood flow into my phalanges. Not the case, my new pants had given me a serious case of Smurf hands.

As I sat in my classroom at nap time making sure no children disappear in their sleep and slowly dying of boredom, my mind began to wander. I was trying to figure out how to remove the blue from my skin. Obviously the most logical thought I had was, “hey, maybe if I wipe my palms on my pants it will come off.” Nope. This was clearly the worst decision I could have made. Wiping off the blue on the object that provided the blue is really just going to make the problem worse. And it did. My hands were even more blue. As I stared at my hands contemplating my next move, someone I had only ever seen in passing stopped next to my classroom and struck up conversation with me. I was not prepared for conversation so my mind was not prepared for listening. You might even say my listening ears were not on. This girl said something that I’m sure was in American english but what my unprepared ears heard was this,

“..mmeomm meomshiu jfioemdm….”

As I don’t speak Klingon I did the logical thing and responded with this incredibly polite phrase,


Stranger girl repeated herself. Unfortunately she was politely whispering since it was nap time so again I heard this,

“..mmeomm meomshiu jfioemdm….”

Not wanting to look like an idiot I decided to give a response this time. It was lunchtime so my brain decided she was asking about my lunch break. So I said,

“No. I already had my break.”

Based on the look I received I immediately knew she did not ask about that and my response was 100% incorrect. So she tried again,

“..mmeomm meomshiu jfioemdm….”

This time I was able to distinguish and name. A name that was not my name,

“..mmeomm meomshiu jfioemdm….Sally**?”

Sally was not my name so when someone is addressing you by not your name the response should obviously be,

“I don’t know.”

Again, based on the look, not a good answer.

“You don’t know who Sally is?”

Now, guys I know who Sally is. I know exactly who Sally is. And as it turns out, all this poor girl was trying to figure out was where Sally was currently located. After an incredibly long and awkward exchange, this stranger and I were on the same page. Unfortunately at this point the damage had been done. I had already burned the bridges of what could have become a wonderful friendship. But in an attempt to mend this never to exist relationship I directed her to Sally and she went on her way.

I assume she went on her way muttering something about the blue handed freak who doesn’t know her coworkers name and is 98% deaf. I know I would have, because let’s be real, I looked like a complete and total moron. I would definitely not be friends with me if I had participated in that interaction with me.

And she doesn’t even know that I managed to pocket dial someone with my iPhone just mere hours before. (btw: still not real sure how I did that, I don’t really want to talk about it, and I’ve been butthurt about it ever since) I’m sure that fact would only increase her opinion of me exponentially.

But really in retrospect, I’m actually pretty much the coolest and I’m really smooth and breezy and handled that situation like a charm. So you know, whatever, if you need any help with making new friends, call me. I’m really good at first impressions.



*And by occasionally I mean, all the time. Literally every single day.
**This name has been changed. Mostly because I wanted to do it.

Puzzle 307, You Have Ruined Me.

Remember back when you were 8 years old and the cool kid in your class at school would have a fantastic themed birthday party. Everyone in class would be handed a card with the Looney Tunes gang inviting you to a good old-fashioned b-day party. And even if you didn’t want to go to the party, you had to. It was the event of the year.

With gift-wrapped Barbie (or Hot Wheels cars depending on the sex of the birthday person) in hand you’d slowly make your way to their front door. Very hesitantly you’d ring the doorbell and be welcomed into a Looney Tunes heaven. Bugs, Daffy, Taz, the whole gang was there to welcome you. After 2 hours of Looney Tunes cake, ice cream, and pin the beak on Daffy Duck it would finally be time to go home. As you exited the party the birthday girl (or boy) would reluctantly hand you a goodie bag. You’d take it and maintain your composure and wait until you got to your car to rip that thing open and see what was inside. Themed pencils, erasers, a some candy was the norm, but sometimes, if you were lucky, there would be a slide puzzle in there.

8 little squares inside one large square, forming some kind of animal picture. You’d slide those little squares around until the original image was indistinguishable and then you’d set forth on your journey to put that picture back together. Hours would be spent sliding square to the right and then back to left, up and down and every which way you could. For a week that would be your obsession. You were determined to get that picture back and to no avail, you were unsuccessful. Each and every day you would strain your fingers to solve this puzzle until eventually you either popped out the pieces and put them back in the right order, or just got angry and threw the darn thing away. I was convinced that those puzzles were of the devil. Until I found the grown-up version of slide puzzles.

Several months ago I downloaded a free game on my phone. A harmless little game called Unblock Me. The goal is to shift brown block around and clear a path for the red block to escape through a hole in the wall. It started out easy enough. 3 or 4 moves and I was done and onto the next level. I breezed through the beginner levels and made it to intermediate. Then I got to puzzle #307.

This in itself is depressing because that means I’ve successfully played at least 306 puzzles. That’s way too many puzzles for a 23 year old to have played. (Realistically, I should be out socializing and whatnot) But this puzzle 307 has been sent to ruin my life. For the past 3 weeks I have attempted to win. Every spare second I have, I slide those stupid brown block around. I move them in every possible direction, only to have them return to the exact space in which they started.

I cannot beat this puzzle. Every time I decide to quit, it sucks me back in. I don’t know what to do. It consumes me. I see puzzle 307 in my sleep. It’s become my obsession. Even now, as I write this, I’m thinking up a new game plan to win. And it’s not going to happen. I don’t know why I keep trying.

I haven’t seen the sun in weeks because I’m constantly trying to outsmart this app. It has become my foe and I have to defeat it. If it takes me another 3 months so be it, I will succeed. Puzzle 307….YOU WILL NOT DEFEAT ME!

But seriously guys, I need help. Either help on solving the puzzle or mental help in the form of an intervention. I’ll accept either at this point.

Smartphones: A Love Story

English: iphone Deutsch: iphone

Image via Wikipedia

To my iPhone:

I know many people love you and your neat abilities to do lots of things at once. You make phone calls. I can Wikipedia on you.  When I have a question I can just use you to look it up immediately. But I think I might hate you. I know what you’re thinking, “Who hates phones? They help people stay in contact with loved ones who are far distances away. You can talk to them like they’re right next to you even when they’re 3 trillion miles away. And why did you title this blog ‘a love story’ if you hate me? You’re such a weirdo.” Well first of all iPhone, those are very valid reason for your existence and I appreciate the work you do for me. But there are three main reasons for this hatred of you.

Reason #1: People Call Me
I enjoy talking to people mostly. Ok, no that’s a lie. I don’t really enjoy talking to people. I do, but I don’t. It really just depends on the setting. (also I tend to be really indecisive) To me talking on the phone is like being stuck in an empty room with another person. We’re both there, we both know the other one is there and someone (who is not me) decides a conversation needs to happen. I’m perfectly content with the awkward silence but noooo, we need to talk to each other. So then we participate in that tragic event know as small talk. I hate small talk as much as I hate phones. “Oh, how are you? blah blah blah it’s cold outside, what’s new?” So stupid. (ask my opinion on the Jersey Shore and I’ll talk for hours, that’s no small talk) And I’m just really terrible at small talk. Ask me any question, I respond with one word. It’s my little cross to bear. So let’s take my incredible lack of small talk skills and add the lack of visual cues, then you have a phone call with me. I’m almost positive that every conversation I have on the phone, the person on the other side is rolling their eyes and mocking me. I don’t have a logical reason for thinking this. Perhaps it’s paranoia. (it could also be because I may, or may not be guilty of phone mocking a time or two) But because I can’t see a person’s face on the phone I just know they’re mocking my every word.

Reason #2: People Text Me
Now I would much rather text someone than talk to them on the phone but there is way too much pressure involved in it. Someone texts me pictures of their new baby I respond “OH SO CUTE!!!!!!!!” with too many exclamation points, I’m a creeper, too few exclamation points, I hate their baby. If I respond too quickly to a message I seem desperate and lonely, if I wait too long I’m a jerk. If I write ‘lol’ at the wrong time, we’re no longer friends because I laughed at the fact that your grandma died. So. Much. Pressure. And to top it all off, my sarcasm is not read through texts at all. I’m sure I’ve probably offended people a time or two because of my sarcastic responses. So I’ve taken to throwing a ‘ha’ at the end of sarcasm. But that makes me feel conceited, because then I’m laughing at myself. And I tend to get too wordy on messages. No one wants to read a novel when all they ask is ‘what’s up’. But if I respond with ‘not much. you?’ then I seem disinterested. Do you see what I mean? What is proper texting etiquette? Are there classes for this? Can I learn the proper way to text without pitting out a t-shirt because I’m worrying about responding properly? Seriously. I can’t handle the pressure. Many different times I have rewritten a message at least 12 times because I tend to over-think things, therefore I’m convinced everything I say is over-thought by the person who receives it….I might need counseling.

Reason #3: I No Longer Have Time-Management Skills
Since the conception of the smartphone, I can play games everywhere I go. This doesn’t seem like a bad thing, but it is. All those past times when I’ve had to utilize the skill of ‘patience’ are no more. Now if I have to wait somewhere, I just pull out my phone and play some Angry Birds. Next thing you know I’ve been sitting at the dentist for 3 hours. It only felt like 15 and now I’ve completely missed them calling my name and my teeth will be dirty for another week. Smartphones have also increased the amount of time I spend in the bathroom. I swear I spend hours in there now playing Words With Friends. I go in when the sun is up and come out to darkness. I’m out of control. I can’t stop running from those darn demon monkeys until I’ve beaten my high-score on Temple Run. Heaven forbid my phone dies when I’m out somewhere. I don’t know what to do with myself anymore if I have to wait. There’s a good chance I might just have a panic attack if I have to wait for a table at a restaurant and I can’t play Doodle Jump. It’s eating away my life!

All that being said I still love you.  If someone tries to take you away, I will hit them. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I hate everything about you, but I don’t ever want to be away from you. It’s like you’re my child. You’re annoying, loud, and you follow me everywhere I go. But I still love you, in spite of all your flaws. I never want you to leave me.

But seriously. Don’t ring. I don’t want to talk on you. Ever.