Saturday, March 10, 2018

10/31: The Awkward Shuffle

I like to think of myself as a fairly coordinated person. I dance, I don't trip over my own feet too often, and I am very good at balancing several different bags in my arms every morning as I make my way from my car into the middle school where I work.

But today, I was a Not once, not twice, but three separate times, I fell victim to The Awkward Shuffle (AS).

You probably have experienced The Awkward Shuffle. It happens when two people are walking towards each other and, instead of one person smoothly going right while the other goes left, both people go the same way at the same time. Cue The AS. Usually both people try to correct, which starts Round 2 of the Shuffle...and so it goes, until both people break into awkward laughter, apologize, and finally scoot past each other. If it happens in the Midwest, it's usually followed by the proverbial "ope" that we tend to say when faced with such a dilemma.

Usually, I try to avoid these scenarios by trying to intuit the other person's intentions. It's not exactly a science: a slight lean to one side, a shift in body weight, a darting of the eyes. But it usually works and we sail past each other with ease. Today, though, while zipping through Dierbergs (a local grocery store here in St. Louis), my sensors were decidedly off.

A near cart collision next to the deli. An awkward apology next to the crackers. A full-on reversal next to the checkout line, due to the unfortunate location of a display of wine (a product placement that almost actually worked on me...I was stressed enough to be thinking about a glass at that point).

I managed to escape the grocery store without hip checking, cutting off or running into anyone else, but I couldn't help but wonder what caused my sudden lapse into clumsiness. Planetary alignment? Weather changes?

Whatever the cause, I have decided it's best to spend the rest of my day inside. After all, a fourth Awkward Shuffle might do me in.


  1. Do you ever wonder if possibly the person you’re doing the AS with could be a kindred spirit since your brains are working the same way at the same time? Ponder that!

  2. You were smart to keep to home the rest of the day. Three AS encounters in one small part of the day would've done anyone else in. Good for you for staying strong!