More Social Torture

Boyleing Points

Someone, a long time ago, asked a question about me that has never been accurately answered. She asked her friend, “Is Kevin Boyle socially awkward or socially inept?” Is he rude or just a rube? Both?

If there is a correct answer it would be D, all of the above.

 About a year ago, I wrote about how I hated getting hugged. And Rockaway being Rockaway, that meant I had to endure about a thousand hugs over the next two weeks.  At about hug number 970, I started getting used to it. I tried once or twice to out-hug, to hang on longer than the other person, but I couldn’t do it. Still, I made some progress with this way-too-intimate greeting. I took the hugs, fake smile in place.

I have a friend (or two, even) who are big with the mob kiss. Yelling, “Stop! don’t kiss me!” does not stop them. They only laugh when I look annoyed and tell them I’m not freakin’ Tony Soprano.

I learned my lesson from the hugging column because if men are gonna start kissing me,  it'll be tough because I’m away, on vacation in a witness relocation location. If I get kissed out here (I can’t say where) it might be by an actual mobster. 

Anyway, I was reminded about the awkwardness of hugs when I saw a friend dutifully picking up dog doody last week. In fact, it happened a couple of times with different people and I had the same reaction. Am I supposed to say hi? Or just cruise past and give them their privacy? Should I not say hello at all? Messed up, having these thoughts, ain’t i?

I mean, they’re picking up crap and they really don’t want to be asked, how you doing? Right? I’m afraid if I ask, how you doing? They might give me a real answer. I’m picking up crap, how do you think I’m doing?

Or instead of how you doing, what am I supposed to say, “good job?”

I overthink stupid stuff all the time and I write about because some of you do the same thing. You’re not sure of the protocol and I’m here to say you are not alone.  And I’m open to advice. If there’s a way to handle these encounters, lemme know.

I saw another friend justifiably barking at someone in the Post Office. In my book, that is not the time to say hello. It’s not the time to even have eye contact. It is the time to hide behind someone or something and not be seen at all. If you have eye contact, you’ll be forced into empathy. You’ll have to get mad at the Post Office or waiter or ticket writer or whoever, too.

You know what I mean, right? I don’t know if I’m supposed to say hello or become a life coach. Awkward. (Or inept).

It never ends. You’re at a gym or office and someone you know pretty well comes out of the bathroom. Normally, you might shake hands with this person. But not then. Maybe this is how the fist bump came about?

I’ll be on vacation, way out west, where no one will hug me. Though I’m already stressing about if I’m supposed to say hello when their horse….oh, forget it.

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