I was going to start this post with an apology for the recent scarcity in posts. Then I realized that I give you posts, and you give me nothing, and decided not to apologize. Plus, I've been mad busy recently-- August/September to a tutoring company is like the first half of April to a tax accountant.
Anyway. This weekend I was in Boston, visiting home, joined by the girlfriend. You'd think that the meat of the awkward times would have taken place in the interactions of my girlfriend with my family and friends. But you'd be incorrect. After all, what would an awkward interaction be without me involved?
On Thursday, I saw my mother's friend and proceeded to give her a hug. This seems fine. This would have been fine. Except she went for the handshake. What followed was a hideously awkward 3 seconds, whereby she jolted her arm from handshake position around my shoulder, and we hugged miserably, both wishing we were 32,ooo miles away from each other.
That night I reconnected with a guy from high school, but since we weren't that good friends by any means, I went for the handshake. I was horrified to see his arms extend in the hug stance, and jolted my arm at wretched lightspeed up to go for the hug. At that point the unimaginable happened-- while my arm was repositioning, he changed to the handshake position.
I panicked and lunged at him, and hugged him ferociously, pinning his handshake arm to my chest. I wanted to snort a ground-up suicide pill-- if the initial mismatch of greetings is a 9 out of 10 awkward, the double mismatch/lunging panic hug is a 76.
Then the next day I went to visit the grandparents. I gave my grandmother a hug-- we were in agreement. The grandfather, though, is a tricky one. But I had learned from my mistakes-- when we were still 5 feet apart I opened my arms mightily to send a clear hug signal. He still went for the handshake. I ended up giving him a slanted, one-armed hug.
For the remainder of the weekend, I made my intentions clear with at least a 10 yard buffer still intact. At one point, a friend and I who both share the same handshake/hug fear sent a text message prior to our first meeting of the weekend. He said, "I'm going for the high-five hug." Of course, I misread him and thought he was going for an intentional handshake hug mid-interaction switch (a smart move-- if it's intentional it puts a ceiling on how awkward it can be), but he was referring to the classic pound/one-arm-hug that guys do when they want to hug but not really. So I went for the switch, and his eyes lit up in horror-- "what the hell are you doing??" He had sent a text for the sole purpose of avoiding what had transpired.
It seems I always find a way.