Year in and year out, we go through the motions whenever another festivity rolls around, obliging us to dust off the pleasantries while toting a clean slate. And every year as we grow older and older and the possibility of receiving green packets dwindles down to an all-time low, without fail there will always be one person who grumbles in a corner on Facebook about how Eid doesn’t feel the same anymore.
While the rest of us keep a lid on it, fearing the wrath of the more enthusiastic celebrators and righteous advocates ready to unleash their unwanted opinions via keyboards at a moment’s notice, there are times when the urge to show our empathy and click “like” on that person’s status becomes too much to override. Besides, if you’re a Grinch like me, whether it’s Eid, Lunar New Year or Christmas, you enter the season with fingers crossed behind your back, feverishly hoping and praying that any socially awkward situations will be kept to a limit.
Here are all the things we dread as socially awkward beings trying our best to seem alive during the festive season:
1.The instinct to run and board the first plane out of Dodge
If you’ve somehow inherited your awkward behavioural habits via genetics, there’s a chance that you’ve spent at least one or more of your festive holidays abroad with your family. Even as a grownup, the thought of opening up your cozy confines to the public and battling supermarket crowds when stocking up on as much pineapple tarts that love and money can buy is still pretty overwhelming. During these moments, the only comfort that will calm you down is the idea that a classy getaway on an island resort, sipping watermelon juice by the pool is only a plane ride away should you give up the fight at any point. (Although, the more worn out you become, you’ll find that eventually even the thought of just hiding out in a rundown shack by the beach with only Red Bulls and street fried rice to accompany you feels like a treat).
2. So. Many. Kisses.
It started out as one between loving couples. Then it became two between amiable acquaintances. Then, while we were busy throwing around affectionate salutations, it somehow evolved into three. For those who love their personal space, getting up close and personal with someone unfamiliar is already a challenge that takes years to master in itself. Throw awkward into the mix and air kissing becomes yet another obstacle often resulting in you: a)resembling a squashed fly, face angled to the left, lips puckered for the third kiss that never comes. Or b) Stopping at two when you realize that you’ve left the other person hanging, and suddenly jumping in for the third one while stopping short of accidentally planting a big old smooch on their lips. AWKWARD.
3. Receiving green packets
For those of us still legible to receive these enveloped blessings, this age-old dilemma is one that we all secretly battle on the inside. You see the host of the house making her way down the aisle, handing out green packets like it’s pay day. She’s still three people away so do you:
a) Engage in conversation with the person beside you, creating the perfect diversion so you can act casually surprised when she finally makes her way over?
b) Stare at her with a creepy smile on your face like the thirsty beast that you are?
c) Just focus intently on the nasi lemak on your plate while trying to block out all surrounding activity? Or…
d) None of the above because nothing’s going to change the fact that you’re still going want to crawl into a ball and roll away after the whole ordeal is over.
4. Humans. Humans everywhere!
It’s been almost an hour, you’re reasonably convinced that you’ve made your mark and that it’s finally acceptable to take your leave. But suddenly, the door seems miles away with hundred of relatives standing in between you and your freedom. Hyperventilating on the inside, you wish you’d come prepared with a brief résumé of what you’re doing at the moment, where you’re working/studying and your relationship status as a quick escape from the inquisitive gazes of aunties and other concerned relatives.
However, at the end of the day, worrying whether your shoes are going to be stolen and low-key trying to hide them behind some potted plant, wondering how to dodge unsolicited sermons from well-meaning family members, and trying to keep it cool when a grubby kid tries to salaam you after picking his nose, all cease to matter when you take a look at the bigger picture of what Eid Al-Fitr is really supposed to mean.
What are some socially awkward situations that you’ve encountered during a festive season?