Author | Photo Becca Lemire

I’m really awkward and I work in customer service

If you know me, you know that I have the tendency to behave rather oddly in social situations. If you don’t know me, you may be thinking to yourself, “Why did that strange girl just bolt in the opposite direction when I made eye contact with her?” The reason for this is that I’m awkward, and not just suspicious-of-eye-contact-awkward. It’s beyond that: I frequently avoid going into stores if I realize that I will be the only person in there, and I will leave a store if someone asks if they can help me. Some people think of this as a bad thing, but I don’t see myself correcting my behaviour any time soon; I mean, I really don’t want strangers to talk to me. So, with this in mind, I find it pretty hilarious that I work in customer (or, as we call it, “guest”) service. I work at a movie theatre, which literally requires me to speak to hundreds of people that I really, really wish I didn’t have to interact with.  

My awkwardness can put a pretty interesting touch on things, though. For example, I recently started running birthday parties at the theatre, a task that has me dealing with the most troubling demographic: children. Kids make me extremely uncomfortable, so trying to handle 12 of them, who are totally ripped on sugar, puts my nerves completely on edge. I don’t know why I feel this way about kids. I mean, they’re really just very short people, when you think about it. But I get particularly riled up when they talk to me; I freeze completely. Last week a little boy asked me why my name was Evan, because all of the Evans he knows are boys. Now, this is something that people have been asking me forever. I usually just reply that it’s a unisex name and then make a witty retort about Evan Rachel Wood, but this boy’s curious eyes and sticky face made me draw a blank. I can’t even remember what I said; it was probably a one-word answer with a fake laugh and smile on the end, which I’m sure caused the child in question to wonder about both my intelligence and my sanity.

The movie theatre is also a place where the masses go to blow off steam. And I mean “blow” in a quite literal sense: I kid you not, I have caught people in the washroom post-oral sex and have found…the leavings of this act on the floor. I’ve even caught people in full coitus—the most awkward “That Awkward Moment When…” of all. I had no idea how to stop them, so I simply said, “I’ll come back,” in my loudest voice before sprinting away. Smooth.

My job is not a glamorous one, but I enjoy it. My coworkers are fun, and they are always on hand to witness me tripping while looking a guest straight in the eyes (true story). The only way it could be better is if I wasn’t so damn awkward*.

*That, and if I never had to clean a dirty washroom again.

1 Comment

  1. nicoleelsasser
    January 12, 2013

    Here is why kids are the most terrifying demographic for socially awkward people: they have no filter so they are at liberty to publicly ask about your name, face, or weird body. Also they are not so much making fun as they are curious, in the most accusatory way, and so for this reason you are not supposed to be offended by it. I like to have the right to be offended when a person, regardless of height or age, asks me why I have “giant elf ears” and kindly suggests that maybe I shouldn’t wear ponytails. Thanks little guys, seriously!

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