The Complete Guide To Running Into People

We’ve all been there: that awkward moment when you run into someone you know, and aren’t sure whether to stop and say hi.

Your good manners tell you to make small talk, but all you really want to do is run the other way.

This happened to me just the other day. I was walking with my friend when I spotted a guy I knew from university. He was running, presumably with his girlfriend, which I thought meant I was off the hook. I know from experience that it’s virtually impossible to carry on a conversation while running-  just ask those Amnesty International kids that try to engage my panting, tomato-face.

But man, was I mistaken. Homeboy acted like seeing me was the highlight of his freaking day (let’s be honest- it probably was). He waved enthusiastically, and attempted to engage me while jogging on the spot. I didn’t really feel like catching him up on the past 8 years of my life, but then again, I didn’t want to be rude. So I slowed down into a sort of backwards half-walk, and after about 20 seconds, gesticulated that I needed to run. I even made the universal “let’s grab a drink soon!” sign.

Like a bad date, the entire experience left me feeling overstimulated, yet also unfulfilled. It occurred to me then that what the world really needs are a set of universal guidelines for situations like these. Maybe, dare I say, a FLOWCHART?

Say no more!

flowchart

The flowchart I’ve created relies on a number of foundational principles which inform each decision to engage in conversation. These include:

  1. Sexual History (do you know this person in the biblical sense?)
  2. Closeness of Relationship (“How tight are y’all?”)
  3. Location of the Interaction (“Is there time to flee?”)
  4. The likelihood this person will tell others and make you look bad if you ignore them (“Is this person a snitch?”)

Based on your answers to these questions, there are five potential outcomes:

  1. “Don’t even stress” – go on your merry way, no need to acknowledge this person whatsoever
  2.  “Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That” – Make a U-turn and run the other way. NOW.
  3. “Holla At Your Girl” – engage this person in conversation unless you are a complete a$$hole.
  4. “Smile, Wave, and Keep On Walking” – nuff said.
  5. “Say hi, then make up an excuse to leave”

This last one  is the most complicated. While it may sound easy, making up an excuse on the spot can often be difficult and rife with potential awkwardness.

Never fear- there’s an app for that!

Fake Conver  is a free app that allows you to receive fake calls to your iPhone with the quick touch of a button. You can also choose from a library of excuses in advance- just answer your phone and repeat what the recording says.

Genius.

iPhone Screenshot 1

Or if avoiding people all together is more your style, there’s also Cloak, the self-described “anti-social network” that uses the GPS on your Instagram, Foursquare, Facebook, and Twitter feeds to show you where all your friends are on the map  so you can avoid them completely.

iPhone Screenshot 1

 

And, if all else fails, there’s always this face:

Question of the Day: What is your strategy for running into people?

Advertisements
Featured post

Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls by David Sedaris

What do a 10 lb box of condoms, a taxidermy owl and a life-size model of a human throat all have in common?

…………….No, not that, you filthy animals. 

owls1

Well, maybe that. But also this: They are all the subject of hilarious essays in David Sedaris’ new book, Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls.

startedfrom13

In this, his 7th collection of autobiographical essays and short stories, America’s greatest humorist (IMHO) takes us on a journey from a suburban Costco, to his childhood in Raleigh, North Carolina, to feeding Kookaburas in the Australian bush- all with the cunning wit and sharp observations of a perpetual outsider.

owls2 A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of seeing Sedaris do a reading of this book here in Toronto. It was a bit of a surreal experience for me, because having read all of his books, I sort of felt like I knew him already. I could tell you intimate details about his family, his childhood, even about his days as a meth-addicted starving artist. I had the urge to blurt out “How’s Amy?” (his famous sister) at one point, but then I remembered that I don’t actually know her at all, and wisely refrained.   

Although I do think we could be besties.. don't you?
Although I do think we would be besties if given the chance.

He spoke for over an hour, reading several pieces from the book, as well as sharing anecdotes from his tour thus far. He was witty, sharp, and incredibly gracious and welcoming of his fans – except for the fact that he had a very strict no picture policy. Luckily, I am a master sweet-talker who no man (even a gay one) can say no to, so I was able to superimpose my head onto some random man’s body convince him to take this one with me:

owls5

I think it’s a framer.

Anywhoo- back to the review.

Longtime fans of Sedaris might find Let’s Explore Diabetes With Owls a bit of a departure from his earlier works. Whereas Naked and Dress Your Family In Corduroy and Denim focused primarily on his childhood and coming of age tales; this collection delves more into his current, adult life and day-to-day encounters. If you’re open to it, this can be a refreshing change. We learn a lot more about his relationship with his partner Hugh in this collection, as well as receive an unexpected glimpse into his writing process with an essay on the diary he has kept since 1977. He also shares hilarious, cutting observations of the people in line with him at the Airport and Starbucks that are laugh-out-loud funny, and make you wish he was your best friend in real life.

owls7

Throughout it all, you get a sense of what makes him tick; a behind the scenes look at the grown-up David Sedaris. 

Interspersed throughout the book are several pieces of short fiction, which Sedaris explains were written to be recited by teenagers at forensics competitions. Some are comic monologues; others are biting satires of right-wing ideals. I have to admit, these pieces were not my favourite. I found them too far afield from his regular style, and a bit too political for my liking.

That being said, overall, I still thought this book was great- perfect for a plane ride, a Friday night in, or a weekend at the cottage.  I would highly recommend it to anyone who wants a good laugh, and has felt like an outsider once or twice in their life.

On that note, the winner of my David Sedaris book giveaway IS: (drumroll please, assistant:)

owls6

Ross!  E-mail me at thecamellife@gmail.com with your address to claim your prize!

(And just to be clear, anyone else is free to e-mail me at that address too. You know, if you wanna like, talk about the new season of Arrested Development, or who Desiree should pick on The Bachelorette. Whatever really. I’m basically just very lonely. )

Question of the Day: Who, in your opinion, is the funniest writer? 

Review: The Last Girlfriend on Earth by Simon Rich

Simon Rich is a pretty impressive dude. At 28, he’s already held the position of editor-in-chief of the Harvard Lampoon, been the second youngest writer ever hired on Saturday Night Live, had countless short stories published in The New Yorker, and penned five books.

simon

Yeah. You’re not alone if you’re feeling REALLY inadequate right now.

lifebad

The Last Girlfriend on Earth is Rich’s latest collection of short stories. Each one is about love and relationships- but with a twist:

lastgirlfriend

From  a story written from the perspective of a condom in a young boy’s wallet, to Dog Missed Connections, to a little girl’s imaginary goat who wants to become “more than just friends”, each story is delightfully charming, quirky, and undeniably hilarious.

I first discovered Simon Rich, and this book through an interview he did on The New Yorker Out Loud podcast. He read an excerpt from one of his short stories, and talked a lot about writing- particularly his time at SNL I thought he sounded funny, and since I’m a die-hard SNL fan (how awesome was JT this past weekend by the way?)

vegan4 vegan3 vegan2

I obviously had to go out and buy this book… and I’m really glad I did.

It was the very definition of short (took me 2-3 hours to read total) and sweet. Besides just making me LOL, the best part for me was that each story read like an SNL skit. I found myself picturing how each one would be played out on-screen, and which SNL cast members would portray each character. I’d love to see the story about a blind date with an actual troll turned into a Lonely Island digital short, for example:

lonelyisland2

And I'll never go back... to my not having sex ways of the past
And I’ll never go back…  to my not having sex ways of the past

Given what he has done so far, I don’t think it will be long until Simon Rich is a household name. I can see him having his own TV show- sort of like the Mindy Project, but about Jewish New Yorkers and relationships. (Ok so that’s basically Seinfeld. Or Friends. But you catch my drift

I thought this book was fantastic, and you should definitely buy it if you enjoy Saturday Night Live, Woody Allen, The New Yorker, The Simpsons, Futurama, Dude Where’s My Car (for the sex aliens) or if you just straight up love to laugh.

I give it: 4.5 Intellectual Dachshunds

5dasch

Question of the Day: Do you like short story collections or novels better?

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑