You know those awkward moments when someone across the room waves at you? Well, at least you think it’s you. You wave back tentatively only to discover they were waving at the person behind you. They haven’t even noticed you. Probably because they don’t even know you.
I’ve blushed through plenty of those kinds of moments. Like the awkward “should I, shouldn’t I” moments when you meet someone and you’re not sure whether or not to shake hands with them.
The other day, I went to have coffee with the pastors and team at our church. I arrived at the offices, greeted the various people I saw and then one of the elders came over to greet me. He extended his right hand towards me and, while I thought a handshake to be slightly formal, I did the same. As I extended mine towards his, he lifted his hand and scratched his head. And then he laughed like a drain.
I blushed, but then my phone rang and I answered it. I told the elder it was 1968 calling and they wanted that joke back.
A few weeks ago, I arrived at my gym to do a Pilates class. Our instructor was away, and a “cover girl” took the class in her stead. As I walked into the class, ticket in hand, the instructor started walking towards me. She told me she was covering the class and told me her name, and extended her hand towards me. I told her my name, and duly shook her hand.
She giggled a little and then asked me for my ticket. Clearly she had put her hand out for me to give her my ticket. She got a handshake in its place. Awkward.
And now to the joys of adolescent sons and their over-communicative mother. (Although that’s not how my sons would have described this moment.)
Some years ago, I went to watch my younger son play in a mid-week rugby match at a local school. I had arranged for my older son to be dropped off at said school after he had finished his day’s activities and, as I watched my younger son play, I kept an eye open for the arrival of my other son.
I spotted my older son as he arrived on the far side of the field. He was about 14 at the time. This is important.
I waved at him, and he didn’t wave back. I thought he wasn’t looking in my direction, so I kept watching him and waving at him. I thought he didn’t know where I was. He continued walking towards me, but I still wasn’t sure he’d seen me.
After wave number four hundred, I focused my gaze back on the rugby game in front of me. My younger son was directly in my sight, play had stopped momentarily for a penalty, and he was waving at me. Coyly, barely lifting his hand above hip height, and agonisingly hoping no-one else could see him, he was waving at his mom from the middle of a rugby match. He was twelve.
I realised immediately what had happened.
My older son arrived at my side, and he said to me, “Mo-o-o-m, I saw you as soon as I arrived. You didn’t need to keep waving at me; I was walking towards you.”
After the match, I asked my younger son if he thought I was waving at him. He said he did, and he wondered why I kept waving at him in the middle of his match. He was so embarrassed and thought if he waved back, I might stop.
So next time you want to wave at someone or shake their hand, think about it carefully before you do anything foolish. It’s a jungle out there, I tell you, a jungle.
Sunshine signing off for today!