Tuesday, January 26, 2010

FHE: Encouraging Awkwardness Since 1963. Part Two.

So that last post couldn't sum up all the wackiness of my second trip to Family Home Evening in the new ward.

(As a caveat, I actually find the new ward fairly pleasant.  Most of the people are really nice and the activities have been above-average.  But with a new ward comes new weirdoes -- weirdoes you haven't yet learned to avoid.  This results in an above-average rate of awkward encounters at the outset of any new ward adventure.)

So here's a rundown of my evening, prior to the Boob Incident.

Weirdo Numero Uno: I got stuck in a conversation with a girl who refused to make eye contact.  She wasn't staring at her feet, or something normal for a shy person.  She was deliberately staring at a spot 45 degrees higher than my right shoulder.  I kept turning around, trying to figure out what she was looking at.  There was nothing there.

Weirdo Numero Dos: Another girl, who for the record is my age, told me about how much she loved school and living at home.  She would literally like to go to school forever, getting bachelor degree after bachelor degree.  I must have looked puzzled, because she abruptly changed the conversation.

"So you live by yourself?"


"And you have a job?"

Sure do.

"How do you like that?  Being by yourself, being independent?  Is it all it's cracked up to be, or is it really hard?"

I stared at her, trying to determine what she meant by that.  "Um, it's good," I said slowly -- when what I wanted to say was, "Isn't it kind of irrelevant?  I can't keep living with my parents and I can't keep going to school.  Not because I actually can't, but because I would lose self-respect if I did.  Who cares whether it's all it's cracked up to be, or whether it's hard?"

She kept probing.  "Like, what is the worst part of being alone?"

I tried to think of something.  "Um, when there's something wrong with my car, I can't go ask my dad or guy friends for help?"*

She did not seem to be satisfied with that answer, so I made up an excuse about going to get a second helping of chili.

Weirdo Numero Tres: This was the worst kind of weirdo.  At first, I didn't realize he was a weirdo.  It actually took me about two minutes, at which point I was stuck.  I just wish people would let their freak flags fly, so I would know from the outset how to navigate social situations.

This fella was apparently very interested in the fact that I will be (pending approval of the Texas Supreme Court) a lawyer soon.  And when I say he was "interested," I mean in the sense that he wanted to judge me and my chosen profession, not "interested" in the sense of being actually interested.

First, he wanted me to know that he was too moral to be a lawyer.  "I just don't think I could take a position that I disagreed with," he said loftily.

I tried to indulge him, just for the sake of my own entertainment.  "Well, most of the time, there isn't really a right or wrong answer," I said honestly.

He shook his head.  Not in a I don't agree sort of way.  More like a No you're wrong sort of way.   "My brother is a lawyer with the Blah Blah Blah, and he has to take positions all the time that I would consider immoral."

Still, I tried to point out the obvious.  "Well, in our system, someone always has to take both sides.  It's how we preserve our Constitutional liberties."

This semi-argument lasted a few more seconds, during which WN3 informed me that but for his moral reservations, he could have gotten into an Ivy League law school.

Not just any law school.

Not just a school in the T-14.

Ivy League specifically.

Then he veered off into the gray area of potential racism.  "So how do you like living with all the Asians downtown?"

I blinked.  "Pardon me?"**

"You live in a high rise downtown, right?  Asians love high rises."

I am pretty proud of the fact that I maintained a straight face.  "I have not noticed an inordinate number of Asians in my building, no."

He shook his head, once again asserting his intellectual superiority.  "I learned that on my mission.  Asians love living up high.  Americans like things spread out."

"Really," I said, at this point no longer even trying not to laugh.  "That is a sociological observation right there."

The best part is, WN3 teaches high school World Civ.

* I realize I am indulging gender-stereotypes with this comment, but the fact is, of all my female friends and relatives, only Amy knows anything about cars, and I've already asked her too many random car questions to justify any more.  So yes, in my case, the most frustrating thing of living in Austin literally is that now that my dash lights don't turn on anymore when my headlights are on, I can't run to my pops or guy friends for advice.  And every Saturday has been spent organizing and unpacking, so I haven't had a chance to talk to my friendly Toyota dealership, either.  Guh.

** In addition to being kind of concerned about the implications of WHY someone would ask me "how I liked living around Asians," I just have to point out that Austin does not have a particularly high population of Asian people.  From what I can tell, the percentages are about the same as they were in Salt Lake.  There are more Hispanics and African-Americans, fewer Polynesians, but basically the exact same proportion of Asians.


  1. This is your best blog post to date. "Asians love living up high" is almost as EPIC as "Tigers love pepper, they hate Cinnamon"

  2. Well, gracias :) I was a pretty big fan of this weirdo and his thoughts. Not a big enough fan that I'll ever want to talk to him again, but a fan for ten minutes.

  3. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACK. I can't decide who I like better, WN2 or WN3. Both fantastic on several levels.

    Long ago, I returned from an internship in DC and got stuck at a church activity talking with WN2's clone who, at the mention of internships, told me she had loved being a nanny for the past EIGHT YEARS bc it was "an internship for motherhood."

    Eight. Years.

  4. Oh jeez. I don't think I could do anything for eight years, much less work in the last form of indentured servitude acceptable in America.

    "Internship for motherhood." That's fantastic. I hope she decided to become a surrogate mother next, really take that training to a higher level.