Wednesday, 15 January 2014

How to age with grace: The Holly Gruszecki way.

In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation. I am not a crook! I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. Dream Police! I dreamed a dream in time gone by. Any dream will do. I'm just a dreammmmmmer....and it was only just a dream. 

....That started out as an epic introduction to a new post, you know using snippets of famous speeches and opening lines from books, but then it quickly divulged into the ravings of a lunatic. Also, who knew there were so many songs about dreams that I could think of that quickly...

Awkward intro behind us...It has been so painfully long since a post was made in the name of awkward stories that I bet you all thought I stopped having them! That was supremely wishful thinking on your part my friends. 

As I get older (I turn 23 next week) part of me keeps thinking that I will grow out of this "awkward stage." But I have recently come to realize that you can't realllllly consider something a stage if it's been happening since you were a wee babe. 20 solid years I've been the glorious awkward being you see in front of you now (You can't actually see me in front of you because you're reading this off of a computer screen and I can't be everywhere at once, that's just ridiculous...why would you even suggest something so ridiculous guys, grow up.) I've grown close to my awkward ways and to part from them would be sweet sorrow.  They've been my companions these 20 years. (EPPPIC PRIDE AND PREJUDICE REFERENCE BESIDE AN EPIC BILL SHAKES REFERENCE, HOW AM I SUCH A GENIUS?)

I've decided as my gift to you this birthday season that I want to give you a sampling of some of my finer awkward moments. No particular theme to this post...just good old fashioned stories in the raw. They range from "Aww isn't that sweet, look at the awkward girl that thinks she's people", to "Holly, who let you back in the house?" So get your hooded reading blanket ready folks, it's about to get awkward up in here.

Story 1:

Have you guys ever believed with all your heart that you know someone...Like really know them? And then you realize you actually have never met them, but you've been told about them and you've seen them around so you believe you know them? That's what this story is all about. 

When I was in grade 9 or 10 my dear friend Emily (Poor Emily...when your best friend is as awkward as hers is you're bound to burned in the crossfire at some point.) had taken the liberty of describing one of the new teachers at our high school to me. He was her social teacher at the time and as new teachers at our high school were few and far between he, of course, became the topic of much speculation. I hadn't had the luxury of having him as a teacher yet (don't worry my time would come the following 3 years) and I was excited about him. I thought he was smart, funny, handsome in the teacher way...basically the whole new teacher package. OR as became a running joke at our school later on, he was "220 pounds of twisted steel and sex appeal." (In hindsight my high school was maybe a little strange...but I loved our weird little cohort, so whatever.) But anyways, Emily thought he was a good teacher and I trusted her opinion...and then took it a step further and thought he was the greatest teacher ever in the world, ever. 

So my class had been invited to watch a final performance that one of the Drama classes was having on the stage. Obviously our teacher leapt at the idea, because 45 whole minutes of not having to listen to your french immersion class poorly conjugate verbs sounds like heaven to me. So we went down to the stage and piled in beside the other class that was already there in the audience. To my GREAT joy, the teacher of said other class was none other then new social teacher (I am reluctant to say his name in case he ever stumbles upon this blog and reads it and finds out how much of a huge creep I am.) To say I became overjoyed is an understatement. I was elbowing peers and pointing to him and being just an all around Luna Lovegood about it. We sat down for the performance on the floor of the stage and Mr. New teacher happened to be sitting in front of me. (Happened or strategically planned by me?) We watched the first tableau without incident. It wasn't until the second tableau, or as I like to refer to it "the horror of horrors" that my awkwardness uncontrollably spewed out of me like the stomach contents of someone who has just eaten their first solid food since getting a general anaesthetic.  This particular tableau we were watching was about Pirates, and as such, the drama students had fake swords as part of their props.  At one point at the end of their tableau the lights went down and when they came back up the pirates had taken centre stage and were pointing their fake swords at the people in the front row. It was funny, so everyone laughed and Mr. NewTeacher being the laugh riot that he was grabbed a girl seated next to him and shoved her forward shouting "Every man for himself" as he pretended to recoil in fear. 
UGHHHH I'm cringing inwardly as a type this... because the next thing I'm going to say is so horrifically embarrassing. 
So after he says this the class was in stitches and I leaned forward slowly and shouted at him "WAY TO SACRIFICE THE BEARERS OF FRUIT FIRST MR.NEWTEACHER...haha amirite Mr.NewTeacher?" As if I am expecting him to be like "Gnarly joke, Holly, you are my favourite of all the students I don't know, high-five!" Instead, no one laughed (except for a few of my friends who did it more-so of the "why do you do stuff like this" vein then the "WOW YOU ARE SO FUNNY!" vein). He slowly turned around to look at me, gazed at me in confusion and then chuckled uncomfortably before silently turning back around to face the stage.  At this point I face palmed SO hard, I still, to this day, have the imprint of my face on my hand. THE BEARERS OF FRUIT? THIS was to be my grand introduction? This was to be my fate? What kind of ninth grader thinks "oh, he made a mildly funny joke about sacrificing a girl, I should make a joke now too and I should whip out a really awkward, and slightly biblical, way of saying girl and then shout it at this man I don't know" Bearers of fruit...ugggh. So we all sat in relative silence while the rest of the tableaus were performed until the bell rang, at which point I ran out of the class and straight to the bus where I had to rehash the entirety of this horrific event to Emily. I remember her reaction vividly. She looked mildly sympathetic, but awe. She said " DON'T know him! Why would you say that to him, why would you say that to anyone? You can't pretend that you know all of the people I know just because I've told you about them! We've talked about this!" She's not wrong...I still do this. If you tell me about a person once I automatically pretend to be friends with them. It makes for some realllly awkward introductions farther on down the road.  But anyways...Don't fret too hard chums, the next year Mr. NewTeacher was my grade 10 social teacher and we got along famously. Just goes to show that you don't always need a cool opening line, you can just shout something weird at someone and they might like you anyway. (Please don't take this advice)

Story 2.

Our second story is relatively close to present day. I want to tell a story that happened recently to prove that I haven't lost my touch. As many of you are aware, I now have a big kid job as a Registered Nurse. I work on a pretty great unit at a gloriously fancy brand new hospital. It's great. But it's not free of awkward moments. I had kind of hoped that my professional life would be more or less normal...but that has proved to be a pipe dream so far. 

At the new hospital we have incredibly fancy new med rooms that are bookended by very fancy frosted plate-glass sliding doors. For those of you that don't work in a hospital, in order to get into the med room you have to scan you staff ID card before the doors slide open for you to go in. (Much like the door to the bridge in Star even makes a similar sound, much to my delight). From the inside of the room you simply have to wave your hand in front of a sensor and the door will open for you to get out.  So I had scanned myself into the med room to get some something for one of my patients. Inside the room there were a couple of service workers restocking our IV supplies. I smiled at them and went about my business. I retrieved my patient's medication and started to walk towards the door to leave. I put my hand in front of the sensor expecting the door to automatically open. I should just mention here, that occasionally there is a lag between you waving your hand and the door opening. This was one of those occasions. About a second went by before the door started to slide open but at this point I was already confidently mid step because ALL DOORS SHOULD OPEN TO ME. What should have been an empty doorway was just  a suuuuuper heavy plate glass door mid open cycle. I walked so hard into that it shook, and you could hear a definite clunk as my face and every other part of me made contact with this solid mass. I cried out in agony. The service workers were up instantly to try to help me. One of them grabbed my arm and said "Oh my gosh are you okay, that looked terrible." I just nervously giggled and then said "oh yeah I'm fine, b...b...barely felt it" and then ran out of there as quick as I could trying to nurse my bruised ego.  I tried to shake off the embarrassment and was thankful that only 2 people had to witness it. Thinking that I could put that moment behind me, I went into my patient's room at the end of the hall a minute later and she looked at me sympathetically and said "Are you okay, I heard you walk into that door from here! Sounded like it really hurt" To which I said..."Ohh...haha know what they say about those doors..." She just kind of politely nodded. And I died of shame. Then my patient in the room next door said something similar like "Wow did someone drop a tray of bowling balls or something..." before winking at me and saying "Just kidding I know it was obviously you that walked into a door" Just goes to show...that even people that have just met me are expecting great and awkward things out of me. It's nice to have a legacy I guess...

Story 3

My final story involves a broken down car. When I was living with my brother and sister-in-law I drove an old green ford explorer and was getting frequent flyer miles with my AMA card. I had them on speed dial at one point because of how frequently I needed to be towed, boosted, etc.  I remember one particular day I was driving home from school via a shortcut in Sundance (pro tip: this is actually only a shortcut if you already are in Sundance which I was not, so I'm not sure why I did this) when suddenly I noticed a family driving beside me frantically trying to get my attention. They were all banging on the windows and pointing and shouting and looking terrified. I finally made out the phrase "YOUR CAR IS ON FIRE" from one of the kids in the backseat. I couldn't see fire or smoke anywhere but I pulled over just to be safe. (At which point the family drove off...which kind of seems not okay now that I think about it...what if I had needed help?...dicks) Once I had pulled over on a side street in Sundance, I suddenly noticed thick black smoke billowing from under the hood. So I jumped out and opened the hood and immediately called my Grandfather who was always on call for car related disasters.  He said he would be right there and I stood there on the street patiently waiting. I realized about 5 minutes into my wait that I had to pee SUPREMELY badly. Like...cross your legs, hope no one mentions Niagara falls, emergency type of pee. And I wasn't close enough to any stores to walk there gracefully without wetting myself. My grandpa had just showed up and I told him about my predicament. He offered to lend me his van so I could drive somewhere to pee...but that idea seemed ludicrous to me so I told him I could hold it (I REALLY COULDN'T) After about another 5 minutes I made a decision. I had spotted a woman, maybe 60 or so years old, talking on her phone on the bench outside her house, watching all the broken down car shenanigans going on. She was my target. She was to be my salvation.  So I marched towards her and I heard her say worriedly to whoever was on the other end of the phone call "She's...she's walking towards me now...She's almost here, I have to go, bye" (Talk about your dramatics, lady) And she hung up.  She looked at me startled at first until I explained my predicament. Her confusion and apprehension slowly turned to motherly affection when she realized I was just a desperate 20 year old looking for a safe place to pee. She said "OH OF COURSE dear...please just go right in, it's the first door on the right" So I did what she had instructed and opened the front door of her house only to be greeted by her handsome 25 year old son wearing nothing but a towel around his waist. I looked shocked. He looked shocked. We both looked shocked together. I said..."UHHHHHH....." To which this total stranger wrapped in a towel replied "Sooooooooooo.....hooow was your day?" 


What? First of all, what a supremely welcoming stranger. Second of all, your second question wasn't "Who are you and why are you in my house" it was "How was your day?" Colour me confused! If that gentlemen ever reads this I want him to rethink his greetings to could be intruders in his home. So anyways, I responded with "Fine thanks, and yourself?" To which he responded "Not bad thanks" Then I said "I just need your bathroom" He pointed to it and said "Okay, well, see ya." Then he retreated downstairs and I ran to the bathroom (which was covered in blue pads which I later found out was because they had an incontinent dog...). I quickly left the house, thanked the kind (slash insane) lady who had now been joined by her recently now fully dressed son, and ran to my grandpa to tell him the story. (The lady and her son watched the car repairs from their front lawn for the next 20 or so minutes). It was one of the more absurd encounters of my life...Basically I'm telling you this story to demonstrate that sometimes awkwardness happens TO me and not because of me. 

Well, there you have it, another year older and another year more awkward. Thanks to the old friends who stuck by me through all of the awkward moments. Thanks to the new friends that didn't judge and ridicule me when they surely witnessed their first of many experiences of my awkwardness. And here's to the new friends that hopefully recognize to get out of the way when they see me coming because something dreadfully awkward is about to happen. After all...a stranger is just a friend you haven't accidentally groped, spilled beer on, or shouted strange things at.

Dream a little dream of me.

Xoxo, Gossip Girl 

Psych it's Holly......