This morning, my laptop seemed to be broken. As well as studying, I had an important email to send, so I went to college to ask for help from IT Support.
Searching the college for the IT Support room, I asked some men in a room downstairs for directions. They had some balloons over their desk partitions. The balloons were creatively added to with paper post-it notes to look like animals. I was particularly impressed by one which resembled a chicken. In a moment of impulsive enthusiasm I told them “I love your balloons, they’re awesome!”.
They said, “That’s not how to talk to us”.
It has been said that Social Awkwardness is the Curse of Genius. Well, in my case, it isn’t.
In better circumstances of mental energy, ideally the rest of the conversation should have been along the lines of, haha, you’re a funny guy. Did you make the balloon animals yourself? It’s upstairs? Thank you very much.
I was feeling stressed out already, with a lot of deadlines and a gubbed computer on my mind. I wasn’t sure whether to laugh if it was a joke because he was smiling. And also, I wasn’t sure if it was funny enough to laugh at. It took me a long, blank staring moment to think about this.
In which time, he was starting to look reproachful and said, “Did you get it?”
I wasn’t sure if the joke was what I thought it might be, and how it might work since he was male, and therefore not in possession of any possible metaphorical balloons. Also, since he was possibly a lecturer/ figure of authority was it actually appropriate for me to laugh at his balloon joke? At the same time I still wondering if I found it that funny, and whether I could manage to do a convincing laugh to put his mind at rest that it was indeed a funny joke and I totally understood it. He really wanted me to laugh by now (and was possibly regretting his balloon punchline), but today I did not have the energy.
I apologised and explained that just like my laptop, my brain was fried. Did he know where to find IT support?
Sometimes, you just have to forget socially awkward moments and get on with life. I hurried upstairs, the IT Support guys sorted my laptop in seconds, and I made a mental note to never use novelty balloons as a conversation topic again.