One of our 2 new podcasts, None the Wiser, explores a single topic each episode,
and talks with locals about their encounters with this theme.
Episode 2 is titled “Awkwardness.” A segment of this episode will share your answers
to the two questions below. You can leave a name or be completely anonymous.
Dial 1-888-217-1650 to leave your message.
“What’s the Most awkward Thing You Have to Do on a Regular Basis?”
(For example: Are you a hairdresser who has to make small talk for the duration of an 8 hour shift? Tell us about it.)
“What’s Your Most Awkward Trait?”
(Are you the person with the nose bleed on every flight? Are you an inappropriate laugher? Tell us a story about your most awkward trait.)
If you missed Episode 1: Intimacy, click here.
Im my time I’ve (sort-of) met three famous people, each time was pretty awkward, and each one involved autographs.
1. Gordon Jump, aka Arthur Carlson from WKRP, aka the Maytag repairman. Early 90s. He came to my town doing a tour of Maytag stores, signing autographs. I was pretty young, around 11 or 12, and I wanted to meet him because I loved WKRP and had never seen anyone from TV in person before. I watched TV a LOT, so I was pretty excited. I go and line up, everyone is asking him about working with Loni Anderson, and he has the same answer every time, “that depends, how well can you fantasize?” and everyone would giggle. I get to him with my Maytag poster, I don’t have any conversation material because everyone else is already talking about the show, and I’m too young to appreciate Maytag products. So I get my poster signed, and as I’m walking away I turn back and say “I love you on the show” but he doesn’t hear me and he’s talking to someone else, he notices me and says, kind of annoyed “what?!” so I repeat it, and just dead silence, about 5 seconds or so which felt like forever. My face was burning and I took off.
2. Michael Moore, filmmaker. 2000 (ish). I was living in Halifax and scored tickets to a screening of Bowling for Columbine, a Halifax company produced the movie so it headlined the film festival, and Moore was there to introduce it and do a Q&A, which was pretty cool. After the event, everyone is piling out and he’s in the lobby chatting. A lot of people are crowded around him, but the way the crowd was flowing, I passed right by him. I didn’t realize a lot of people were giving him tickets to sign, when I got to him I tried to shake his hand, he asked if I wanted anything signed, I said no, and tried to say I liked the movie, but stammered, so he shook his head a little and went to the next person.
3 – Brent Butt (Corner Gas). Early 2000s. Also in Halifax, an old friend of my fathers is a stand up comedian, and he was the opening act for Brent Butt’s tour at the time, so we got free tickets and went backstage after the show to hang out when they came to the city, there were quite a few people back there. Brent was there milling around chatting, a publicity person was going around asking if anyone wanted headshots to get signed, I said no thanks, he was right behind me, he tapped me and said, completely deadpan like he was offended “you don’t want a photo of me . . . can I ask why?” so I froze, he gave it a few seconds before smiling and shaking my hand laughing, and clinking my beer with his. Easy to tell why that one is my favourite.
Once upon a time, in the land before cellphones, I was housesitting a place for the summer. Most of the home owners friends were aware of the summer sublet situation, and if they weren’t, I would usually get a “Hi….is Susan there?” This not-really-a-big-deal-as-long-as-they-ask-for-her-by-name phone complication, coupled with my inability to recognize voices, set me up for my most awkward conversation. I’m all about the quick reveal. I always say, “Hey, this is _______” even when I am calling my best friends and they have repeatedly told me, “yes, I know”. But this summer, this subletting situation summer, I received a call from someone with radically different phone politics. It’s started off alright. We were both agreeable humans. Politely interested in how our respective lives were going. For a good 2 or 3 minutes I thought I just had to wait it out to determine which of my friends was calling. Then the realization. I did not know this lady. She lived on a farm (yes, I pleasantly inquired about the health of her animals), I don’t know farm people. Fuck. Another few minutes went by. The bullshit just keep going. Back and forth we passed pleasantly, “hmmms” of agreement, “oh you don’t say”s. It was torture. It felt like the final exam for the secret service. And the problem was, we were both pretty good at it. Finally, thank the lord, she released us. After almost ten minutes of pleasantries and cold sweat, she pulled the plug. She called bullshit. “You don’t know who this is, do you?” I think I might have laughed. Politely.
I was working at the Sprout and I poured a pint of 1892 for a customer. The beer wasn’t giving much foam on the top. As I delivered it I said “sorry, this beer isn’t giving very good head tonight” …the customer looked me in the eyes and started laughing. I turned bright red and walked away.
The first conversation my boyfriend and I had in the lunch line 13 years ago:
Me: What are you getting?
Me: Thats the gear!!
Him: The gear..? ..
hah! He’s the awkward one there. Soup is totally the gear.