My current day job (outside of this fantastic blog) is a server in a Chinese restaurant. I love what I do, and I love meeting new people, despite being horribly awkward about it. I recently moved out of the town I was raised in, and moved into the neighboring town (same city, just a different town). Because of this, I rarely get people coming into the restaurant that I know. It happens sometimes, but not nearly as often as you’d think despite living literally 15 minutes away from where I grew up. Most of the time, it’s my family.
The other day, however, I had an unexpected guest come in who I had to serve: My priest.
Now this was awkward for a couple of reasons:
- I have known this man for my entire life. No, seriously, my entire life. I’m pretty sure he married my parents (you can’t win them all), he baptized me, he laughed good naturedly when my sister ran across the altar in the middle of his sermon as a toddler. This guy knows my childhood better than me, and possibly better than some of my immediate relatives.
- I haven’t been to church since Easter (waaaaaaay back in mid-April of this year). For someone who was raised a good Catholic girl, it’s a little embarrassing to realize that it’s been a month since I’ve been to church.
- This is the first time, in nearly 26 years of knowing the man, that I’ve ever seen him outside of a religious event.
This was one of those incredibly painful situations where I had no idea how to behave because I know him, so I should naturally act like I know him, act familiar with him. But like…he’s my priest. Despite knowing him for the entirety of my life, I don’t actually KNOW him. It’s one of those relationships that I have at a distance. “Hi, how are you,” move on.
I think the worst part of it was how at ease he actually seemed. Like this was a totally normal occurrence for him. And his ease put into stark contrast how awkward I was feeling and how clueless I was as to how I needed to navigate. So I did what any normal, mildly socially awkward person would do.
I just kinda treated him like any other customer who came in. Asked him if he needed anything, tried to anticipate what he would ask for, be quick and efficient. When he asked me probing questions, I answered them and carried on.
To be fair, he probably couldn’t remember exactly who I was. He’s older, and there are a lot of parishioners in our church who come and go with some irregularity. If he saw a picture of me as a little kid, he’d probably know exactly who I was. But now, as an adult, not so much. I get over to church a lot less often now than I used to in the past because life happens. But hey, faith doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go to church/temple every week.
Leave me a comment telling me about your awkward familiar-yet-not interactions with people!