15. Dance awkwardly with a stranger.


You’re walking down the sidewalk, happy and jaunty because you just got a new haircut. You look fabulous! You went to the post office and bought some stamps whose proceeds benefit a nature fund. You’re an environmentalist! Your puppy also did his business on the paper this morning instead of spraying you with feces as usual. Good for him, and you!

So you’re walking around with your head held high today. Nothing can bring you down. Other people bustle by, their lives infinitely sadder than yours. Woe is them, you think. They’re not privileged enough to adorn their mail with endangered pandas. You stare at them all with no small amount of pity, and a maybe a little scorn.

Which is why it’s so surprising, alert and pompous as you are, that one guy in particular is going to be giving you some trouble. You see him coming towards you from a block away, also jauntily walking down the street, and wearing a bowler hat for some reason. You expect to be able to sidle past this anonymous person as well, perhaps with a nod of the head or a little “Quite a fetching hat, good sir.”

But now he’s getting closer and closer, and neither of you are deviating from the path that you’re on, which just so happens to be the very same one. Surely one of you will step to the side when the time comes, right? There is no earthly reason for two people on a wide sidewalk with plenty of room on either side to meet at the exact same spot, forming an impasse that will take several solid seconds to disentangle.

But happen it does, against all laws of physics. You walk right up to each other, as if refusing to believe that the other exists. And so begins the dance. One of you feigns left, but the other does too. He darts right, but you’re with him every step of the way, helpless embroiled in a game of invisible basketball that no one asked to play. A lifetime of failed coordination is being overcome at this very moment, exactly when you don’t need it. Were the director of a Russian ballet to saunter by, they’d hire you both on the spot.

You attempt the awkward pleasantries to save face, such as “Oops,” and “Excuse me,” and the mortifying yet classic “Care to dance?” You do not yell “PICK A SIDE!” as you wish to, but instead just offer a sheepish smile, rip yourself away from the debacle, and continue on your way down the sidewalk, your face a brilliant and seemingly permanent shade of crimson. Under extreme circumstances, you may be forced to throw yourself into traffic or jump into the nearest open manhole. All options are preferable to continuing this impromptu Festival of Ineptitude.

So if you want to suck, dance awkwardly with a stranger. You’ve nothing to lose, except boatloads of dignity.



  1. […] here to get well authored instructions on how to suck at nearly everything you do. Discover how to dance with a stranger or pound your head into your nightstand all with such perfection others will swear you’ve […]

  2. […] interviewee interrupts his speech to let the anchor man finish talking, or even better described in this uncomfortable dance situation.) The concept was brilliant, the presentation was engaging, and the guy really knows his stuff. As […]

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