Okay, so I’m new to this whole MYWTM blog and I haven’t actually worked out the best strategy for approaching social situations at the park. Do I tell people about the blog? Will they think I’m weird? Do I just try to act inconspicuous? What’s the proper way to handle direct questions when I’m doing something strange?
Well, I discovered the improper way of dealing with this the other day, in what I now call My Awkward Social Situation.
So here’s the setup. I went into the Emporium, the biggest shop on Main Street, to blog about (wait for it, wait for it) the Emporium. The plan was to take several pictures in the store and then a couple outside. All went well until I decided to get a little fancy-schmancy and take a picture of the shot glasses.
Yes, that’s right, taking a picture of shot glasses got me into an Awkward Social Situation, and not because I was talking about alcohol or anything. You will find out the reason why the picture of the shot glasses was important later on my actual post about the Emporium. Suffice to say that I had already walked in and taken several pictures around the store before approaching the shot glasses.
The shot glasses are at the registers, so when I went to get a direct shot there were 3 cast members standing there who had seen me wandering around taking the other pictures.
When I got near the shot glasses, one of the cast members said, “Oh, this must be your first visit!”
Of course it wasn’t, but I couldn’t think of anything to say in the moment, and by the next sentence out of the cast member’s mouth, it was too late to disabuse him of the notion.
“Here’s a First Visit button!”
My split second hesitation at the first statement locked me into what would only devolve into a series of increasingly uncomfortable exchanges. Because at that point, he had already given the button to Theo in his stroller. What was I going to say? “No, actually I’ve been here quite often, so I don’t need the button. I was just taking pictures of the inside of this store because, having been here a hundred times, I feel the deep need to permanently memorialize a store full of t-shirts and things to drink out of.”
Of course not. But I couldn’t think of a reasonable-sounding explanation for why I was taking these pictures and in my brain freeze, it just didn’t occur to me to tell the truth. I said, “Oh yeah! Yeah!”
Yes, that’s right, I lied to a Disneyland cast member. And I know what you’re saying because I’m saying the same thing:
WHY ON EARTH DID YOU LIE TO A DISNEYLAND CAST MEMBER???
I don’t know. I truly don’t. But that was my first instinct. All you armchair psychologists–go to town with that one.
Anyway, so now I’m there feeling terrible, AND I still needed the picture of the shot glasses.
I sort of panicked a little. It felt like it was too late to tell the truth because I would be totally embarrassed, but I didn’t want to leave without my picture, yet I didn’t want the charade to continue any longer. What to do? What to do?
I couldn’t think of a way to say, “hey, could you step aside because I really want to get a picture of these shot glasses for no reason that I can think of to tell you right now” so instead I said, “Thank you! Hey, I’d like to get a picture of all of you!” so I could have the shot glasses in the background.
That worked and I was proud of myself for another split second, until the awkward situation turned into a VERY awkward situation. The cast member handed me a Happy Anniversary button, saying “Here, have a Happy Anniversary button.” Which…what? I was clearly there BY MYSELF with my child in a stroller taking pictures of the inside of a store. Does that look like someone who is celebrating an anniversary???
No. No it does not.
The situation continued to spiral out of control when the cast members, who had nothing else to do in the mostly empty store but talk to me, started asking questions. And since I had already lied about it being my first visit, there was nothing I could do to prevent what happened next…
Cast Member: How are you liking the park so far?
Me: Uh, it’s great!
Cast Member: Where are you from?
Me: Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, Northern California? [note, I lived in Northern California from 1999-2004. Not that that makes it better.]
Cast Member: That’s great! How long are you here for?
Me: Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, just the day?
The questions continued, as did my vague and increasingly dishonest answers, not to mention my sense of bewilderment (why am I lying???) and guilt. I knew I had to extricate myself from the situation ASAP, so I exaggeratedly looked at my watch and did the totally transparent, “Oh look at the time! I gotta go!” (and do what? Take more pictures of the insides of stores? Actually, yes.). Still, I walked out with a First Visit button (and another Happy Anniversary button). And I’m totally afraid of ever running into those cast members again and having them be like, “Oh, you’re vacationing here AGAIN? Just for the day?”
Theo summed it up perfectly:
Oh, there's something on my stroller?
Hmmmm, this doesn't look right
Lemme take a closer look
Mom, why does this say First Visit when this is TOTALLY not my first visit???
Good question, kid.
The worst part was that in my panic I was thrown off my game and missed taking a couple of pictures I wanted to take for my post, so y’all are just going to have to wait on that one. Sorry.