My left eye betrayed me
It seems as each year goes by, I get a little more awkward. I mean, I’ve never been cool as the other side of the pillow, but over time it seems it’s tougher and tougher to just, you know, maintain.
Yesterday, I heard that one of our interns was leaving. I don’t know the guy that well, but he helped on a few projects and I found him to be an all-around good person and hard worker.
As a manager and mentor, I felt it was right to stop by to thank him for his work, encourage him in his next role, and offer to be a reference if he needed.
It’s the kind of thing I wish a few more people had done for me in my career. I certainly remember with much gratitude those that did.
I found a good opportunity during the busy day yesterday to stop by his cubicle.
“Hey, I hear you are leaving tomorrow?” I said.
When he confirmed, I continued, “Just wanted to thank you for your hard work and support. You have been invaluable to us. I hope you are able to find a new position very quickly. You will bring so much value wherever you land next.”
He thanked me and started talking about how he loves the culture here at our company and how he liked the job and hoped he finds something equally supportive. How much he appreciates all of the leadership here and, on and on, you get the drift.
As he’s talking, my left eye began to betray me. I have terribly dry eyes and it’s also allergy season. Before I knew it, a big fat tear welled up and slid down onto my cheek.
And the kid noticed. He saw the tear and kind of stopped speaking.
“Um,” *awkward laugh* “Yeah, sorry man,” I said as I wiped the tear away. “I’m not crying, it’s just allergies.”
“Oh,” he said, trying to be nice but now a little weirded out.
“You know, dry eyes, allergies, kind of funny right! Like I’m so broken up because you are leaving, ha ha….” Then I awkwardly reached out to lightly punch him in the arm.
Which he awkwardly took to mean I was going in for a hug.
So yeah. There was a clumsy punch-hug thing that happened. I quickly stepped back and said “Hey, good luck! Let me know if you need a reference or anything!” and then scuttled off like the bottom dwelling weirdo that I am.
People might say, “These kinds of things happen to everyone, sometimes.”
I might reply with a maniacal laugh, “If only these kinds of things happened to me ‘sometimes.’”
Let’s bright side this thing: 1) No one else saw this sad, awkward exchange, 2) the guy is leaving the company and so I only have to face him in the break room for, like, one more day and 3) odds are low our paths will cross again soon. I mean maybe, but it’s unlikely.
But I know. And he knows. And we know. And now it’s one of those cringey moments that I’ll remember at 2:30 in the morning when I can’t sleep and my brain hates me and brings up the greatest hits of awkwardness.
So that’s fun.
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