“Run Forrest, Run!”

13 Jun

There are many things in life that I simply cannot do. In no particular order, they are: Throw a Frisbee. Catch a Frisbee. See a mouse without crying. Swim for more than two minutes. Spend time with cats. Walk up a sledding hill without sweating my balls off. Listen to songs by the Click Five without feeling embarrassed to be part of the human race. Pay attention to a Red Sox game without a sports sundae in hand. Pay attention to a chess game without a sports sundae in hand. Read or write roman numerals. (I swear I missed that day in third grade. I often find myself writing squiggles and smiley faces in the hope they’ll pass for “IV” or “II”.)  And last but not least, engage in confrontation.

Confrontation is to me as an encounter with Amanda Bynes is to a five-year-old: scary, disturbing, and often involving weird blonde wigs and marijuana-smoking devices being thrown out of tall buildings. The things I have done to avoid confrontation – with everyone from strangers, to friends, to my weird neighbor who wears cowboy boots and a bathrobe to walk his cat  – are actually ridiculous. Let’s start with last summer. I was driving with my grandfather – an activity that requires faith, good karma, and complete control of all bodily functions – when some jackass (or maybe his name was “bullshitter”… I can’t remember) cut in front of him and stole the parking spot he’d been waiting to claim. My grandfather beeped the horn, and the jackass/bullshitter kicked open his door and started charging toward our vehicle. So, I did what any normal, composed, and responsible adult would do; I squealed, “every man for himself!”, opened the door, and leapt away from the scene like a gazelle on crack. When my grandfather found me an entire hour later, he was unscathed; I, however, was a mile away from the parking lot, in a café, eating ice cream.

When faced with potentially awkward and/or uncomfortable situations, I feel like a scared 15 year old who just learned Santa Claus isn’t real. (I will neither confirm nor deny the fact that I was 15when I learned the “truth” about Santa…nor will I confirm nor deny the fact that I actually believe Santa isn’t real.) I can’t really explain what comes over me when I’m faced with confrontation, but I can say that the phenomenon feels something like a cross between appendicitis and multiple personality disorder. I really wish I was one of those people who could tell someone off with just a look, but I’m not. I once tried to give a rude woman in Starbucks the stink-eye, but instead of sending her into an irreversible state of apoplexy as I had planned, I ended up smiling at her and offering her the LAST of the green straws. (Green straws are like standard currency at the Concord Starbucks – in fact, I’m pretty sure they are exchangeable for cash at Cumby’s.) Basically, in order to give someone an evil glare, I have to connect my eyebrow to my hairline with a piece of tape and hope that it stays put. The process is uncomfortable, time-consuming, and expensive – adequate tape is just ridiculously over-priced these days. So, instead of my makeshift stink eye, I save time and money by acting like Mother Theresa to every rude person I encounter.

Another one of my favorite responses to confrontation is something I like to call the “thumbs up.” This approach is actually brilliant because it requires minimal involvement in an awkward situation and maximum pay-off. Plus, when paired with the Electric Slide and a good pair of sneakers, it provides a getaway maneuver similar to those of Tarzan and Robin Hood. Take this real-life scenario: I was taking my dog for a walk around the neighborhood when she decided she was too tired to walk and proceeded to sit down on the sidewalk. Suddenly, I heard an angry voice coming from somewhere in the distance. After ruling out the possibility of a talking squirrel, I realized it was my elderly neighbor yelling at me about my dog “pooing” on her lawn, which she was not doing. (She had already relieved herself in the middle of the street. She’s classy that way.) I hate the word “poo,” or any word in the “poo” family, thus I knew immediately that this conversation would lead to no good. After racking my brain for any and all maneuvers that might appease an old lady, I decided to stick my thumb in the air, grab my dog, and run away Forrest Gump style. That is when I learned that a good old fashioned “thumbs up” always trumps maturity and a sincere apology. Mastering the thumbs up requires adrenaline, fast thinking, and years of spastic tendencies that can only be attributed to a minor case of Tourette’s. If diplomats and world leaders just stuck their thumbs in the air more often, I’m pretty sure we’d have world peace by now. What, is that not how it works?

If you take away anything from this post, know this: when faced with fight or flight, don’t be afraid to sprout wings and fly away. Squealing and making weird hand gestures are great ways to slip under the radar of jackasses and poo police. Confrontation also serves as a great training tool when it comes to sports like cross country running; if you pretend you’re being chased by an angry Starbucks customer, you WILL run faster… And being able to run quickly is a definite necessity if you’re planning on using either of my aforementioned confrontation responses. So next time I give you a thumbs up, just know that it’s not because you’re doing a good job, or because I am trying to look all cute and quirky; it’s because I am afraid of you and will most likely take off running.



One Response to ““Run Forrest, Run!””

  1. dhonour June 24, 2013 at 9:09 pm #

    I will be wary of any thumbs up I receive. Warning taken. Stopped by to say thanks for choosing to follow Wine and Cheese (Doodles), hope to see you around. Enjoying your blog!

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