So, if you scroll down and take a look at my attempt to "pay it forward" a while ago, you will know that I can be the queen of social awkwardness. (No, being a sociologist does not help me fit in any better in social situations. NERD ALERT!) Anyway, the men who I attempted to pay it forward to have appeared in my life again.
A couple of weeks ago, my husband and one of his Marine friends grabbed a quick lunch at another restaurant on the UT strip. My husband and his friend (on their own) brought up my pay it forward adventure--and laughed at me, of course. Towards the end of our meal, who walks in??? The men whose breakfast I paid for at Panera during my botched good deed attempt. Oh the irony! So, I relived that little adventure, complete with heart palpitations, and went on with my day.
Fast forward to Tuesday (2 days ago). Buzz and I stop in that same restaurant for an even quicker lunch. And who sits down a couple tables over? Yep--those guys.
I am a little superstitious (not exactly the word I am looking for here but it will do) and I tend to think that things really do happen for a reason. So, why do these men keep appearing in my life? Especially since I am still dwelling on a 2 minute encounter that happened months ago? And my brain goes into overdrive... I feel like I HAVE to say something to them this time.
And, again, there I go with the heart palpitations, complete with sweaty palms. My husband even said if I didn't do it he was going to go introduce me. He puts my social awkwardness to shame--but he doesn't care. Plus, he kept saying it wasn't them. So, the pressure was on...
I walked over and introduced myself and told the outdoorsy man that he looked familiar and I think I met him on "Pay it Forward Day." He laughed and introduced himself and the gentleman with him. I told him how I felt so silly and he told me not to feel bad that it was a very nice gesture that meant a lot to him. He said he told some people about it and it was special. He told me it was even more special that I approached him in that context. We made small-talk for a few minutes, I walked back to my table, smiled and waved as my new friend refilled his drink and then I went about my day.
I guess that my social awkwardness isn't ALWAYS as bad to others as it seems to me. Or, even if it is, I guess it's not offensive. I have come to terms with just being "that girl" sometimes, more often than I would like or care to admit--the one whose heart takes over her brain function sometimes and makes a fool of herself in attempts to be kind. I guess being a big dork is just part of my "charm." :)
I think the most important thing I have learned is not to try to silence that crazy voice inside me that tells me to do nice things, even if they don't always turn out the way I envision them in my mind. Sometimes, a little smile, handshake,or gesture has the possibility to make someone's day, or at least make that minute a little brighter--and maybe an awkward payment of kindness can really have a positive impact on someone. And the fact that these might be small bright spots in others' lives makes them no less valuable.
On that note, when I walked into my parents house today after a 4 hour drive for a weekend visit, I saw a longer version of the quote below printed out sitting on the counter. Coincidence? Not in my mind.
"From the standpoint of daily life...there is one thing we do know: That man is here for the sake of other men--above all for those upon whose smile and well-being our own happiness depends, and also for the unknown souls with whose fate we are connected by a bond of sympathy. Many times a day I realize how much my own outer and inner life is built upon the labors of my fellow men, both living and dead, and how earnestly I must exert myself in order to give in return as much as I have received." -Albert Einstein