Sunday, June 03, 2012

the rhythm of awkward

    Fidgeting in my place on the floor, I checked the time repeatedly. The event was only running for an hour and a half, and some speakers in the circle shared beyond being short and sweet. I was in an impatient mood; my day hadn't been going well. Though I tried to suppress my restlessness (as it is rude and rather disrespectful), I honestly didn't care if I was thought to be in a bad mood or not in a socially accepted mood in public. It was one of those days.

Then I wondered the appropriateness of exiting the room. How should I get out as smoothly as I can? Even if I waited till the end of her experience-sharing to leave, it would be glaringly obvious. We were seated in an informal circle of about 20 people within the confines of a room; therefore, no chance of edging away slowly without being noticed. Plus, should I inform the person who invited me? That would be the polite thing to do, isn't it? She was the MC and seated just 5 people away. Though to get to her, I would have to cross in front of those 5 people.

I imagined how awkward it would make things. Then hour was almost up and the MCs are so near in heaving a sigh of a job well done. How would a person leaving the room affect them? I was reluctant to break their rhythm, like a child who presses a key on a piano where the pianist is in the middle of a piece. He had no business in that interruption, and same goes to me if I could help it.... but what if you do? If the moment the current speaker ends her speech, I stand up as discreetly as I can (breaking the circle), quietly grab my shoes and make my way out of there with the squeaky door.

    For a while after, I entertained the thought of what is awkwardness. Is it coined for people who made other people break their rhythm? Because it's not a nice feeling. Or automated actions of a waitress in a restaurant. Most people come in, sit at a table, have a look at the menu, order, eat, pay up and leave. Sure, there are some people who throw their flow off their tracks; fussy and demanding customers. But that's expected. It's still within the clockwork. What happens if a patron comes in breaking the unwritten flow of things? Instead of sitting down and ordering their food, they do so over the dessert counter. At their table, they decline the menu. When waiter brings the food, he finds that the patron is crying. Would that make him uncomfortable? Because there had been a breach of silent rhythm rules and certain emotions, like sex, ought to be behind doors. Not in public.

Back into the room, 2 speakers have gone by since, and the final speaker drones on with flowery words. I thought for a bit. Was it worth the effort to risk jarring the mundane flow of the room, making people feel awkward and uncomfortable? Nah, I decided. I'm too weary for that now. Then I relaxed my escape-eager limbs and soothed my impatience in that it will be over soon.

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