Staving off the awkward!

Here’s something that happens:

INT. CLASSROOM- DAY

KIANA sits alone in a corner, giving off STRONG ANTI-SOCIAL VIBES. Her face is expressionless as she eats silently from a large bag of grapes. 

Enter VIRTUAL STRANGER. Though they can see that Kiana is trying very hard to look respectfully indifferent of her surroundings, they decide to engage her in conversation.

VIRTUAL STRANGER

(Pleasantly)

Hey there!

KIANA

Okay, hi.

***

This part is actually OK with me. Usually, when people try to  engage me in conversation, I try to be as nice as possible, so as to avoid hurting their feelings. After all, being nice is the coolest! Everyone should try it.

The problem is, while I’m hoping my face says something like, “I will politely chat with you for a bit about trivial matters!” every random person I meet seems to think it says, “Please tell me your life story!!!1!1!”

That’s where things start to get tricky.

***

There is a PREGNANT PAUSE as both parties stare expectantly at each other. The Virtual Stranger smiles widely as she settles into what she believes is amiable silence. Kiana begins to panic.

KIANA

(Internally)

Why is this happening who are you why are you sitting next to me I DON’T KNOW YOU!!!

(Speaking)

So, um, are you ready for the test next week?

VIRTUAL STRANGER

Oh! I completely forgot about that! What is it on, again?

Kiana lets out a sigh of relief, happy to finally be free of the awkward silence’s evil clutches. 

KIANA

It’s on chapter nine. You know, managing communication styles. Like when we talked about how some people feel the need to dominate conversations and-

VIRTUAL STRANGER  

(interrupting loudly and enthusiastically)

Oh, that’s totally my mother!

KIANA

(whispers)

Huh?

VIRTUAL STRANGER

Yeah, we have a terrible relationship. She’s always looked down on me, you know? Really, it all started when my parents got divorced after she discovered that my dad was sleeping with her own sister. That’s when everything fell apart for us.

(Wild cackling)

Kiana attempts to laugh as well, but makes a painful noise instead.

KIANA

Yarf!

Virtual stranger goes on like this for about fifteen minutes, barely pausing to take a breath. Kiana sits through it all, smiling encouragingly and nodding in all the right places. Internally, however, Kiana imagines a LARGE METAPHORICAL BOULDER representing feelings of discomfort and social anxiety rolling down a mountain side and plowing directly into her, crushing her whole.

***

Even this part is a little okay with me. Though it makes me thoroughly uncomfortable to have discussions based on traumatic childhood memories with casual acquaintances, I am willing to humor them. After all, the fact that they feel the need to spill their guts to me is proof that they don’t have many people in their lives to talk to. I’m okay with being their person for a little while.

But then, as with most things in my life, it gets weird.

***

VIRTUAL STRANGER

*Political opinions that are kind of offensive and definitely different than my own*

KIANA

Oh.

VIRTUAL STRANGER

*Something vaguely racist*

KIANA

Um.

VIRTUAL STRANGER

*Something about gay people*

KIANA

(whispers)

I think I’m going to die.

VIRTUAL STRANGER

Did you say something?

KIANA

(Hurriedly)

No, no! Um, what were you saying about Obama again?

***

Around this time, I’m thinking that this person needs to either stop being awful or shut their stupid talking face RIGHT NOW. 

But they don’t get less awful.

And they won’t stop talking.

And that is when I know it’s time to take drastic measures.

***

VIRTUAL STRANGER

(Talking so excitedly, spittle is flying forth from her lips)

Words words words!

Kiana silently gets up and turns her back to her verbal oppressor. She then walks with great dignity and purpose out of the door.

VIRTUAL STRANGER. 

(tagging along)

I AM SAYING MORE WORDS THAT YOU DON’T WANT TO HEAR

Kiana continues her purposeful walk until she reaches a window. She then turns towards her chatty new enemy.

KIANA

(snarls)

SIC SEMPER TYRANNIS!

With one great leap, Kiana hurls herself out of the window. Above, in the hallway, Virtual Stranger is still talking to no one in particular, but though her voice echoes throughout the corridors, Kiana is finally free. 

I like to think that we all have a little john Wilkes Booth inside of us. (source)

I like to think that we all have a little john Wilkes Booth inside of us. (source)

***

Desperate times, am I right?

Kiana.

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