My favorite moments are awkward moments. If I can’t make a situation enjoyable, the best I can do is to make it awkward. Generally, there are thousands of pounds of pressure pushing me to ruin something or to make something weird. Every so often though, I’ll see what I need to do – to be awkward and to keep people sufficiently distant from me – and I won’t do it. What happens in that moment is nothing short of miraculous.
Somebody will have said something that I think is dumb or obnoxious and I can prove it. I open my mouth to respond, but then I stop. A door in my head opens and some tiny cosmic figure invites me to enter. There, he shows me the consequences of my actions. What it looks like differs form moment to moment, but usually it’s people looking uncomfortable or kind of dazed or pissed. That tiny cosmic figure watches as I see this and makes a face like, “What do you think? Is it worth it?” I meet his gaze maturely, unsmiling and say, “No, I guess it’s not.” And I leave.
Back in the moment, I’m happy. I look around at the conversation going on around me and I chuckle to myself. “They have no idea,” I think. “I could have ruined this moment for them, but I decided not to.” I smile. “You’re welcome,” I think.
Other times, he gives me the go ahead, but not just a little. The tiny cosmic figure only comes out in big moments, so when he’s encouraging me, he’s not just looking up from a paper and saying, “Sure. Go for it, I guess.” He’s running from deep in my mind all the way to the front, waving his arms and yelling, “Do it! Holy fuck! Do that shit! Come on!” So, invariably I do it. He has about a 50-50 success rate (depending how the little guy’s doing that week) but I always follow his advice when he shows up because he never tells me to lie.
If he did, I promise I would stop.