First, conference calls are awkward. Let’s assume there’s a location A that includes the person facilitating the meeting and a location B. Being at location A isn’t so bad because you can make eye contact with the person doing most of the talking and it feels somewhat like a normal meeting. But being at location B is torture! Everyone huddles around the little phone device, having nothing to look at but the papers in front of you. If, now and then, you dare to look up and make eye-contact with the others at location B, an awkward, silent exchange ensues. Occasionally you’ll be called on to add something to the conversation at which time you must speak in an uncomfortably and unnaturally loud voice. And 3 times out of 5 the response will be “what? You cut out for a second” or “huh? you sound mumbled, can you speak louder?” It’s the little things.
Second, public restrooms are awkward (particularly if they’re of a smaller size). For instance, you enter the restroom and one of the stalls is occupied. You hear nothing but silence and what I like to call “performance anxiety” ensues. The awkwardness is only amplified by the fact that you realize they’re waiting for you to finish up and leave so they can, uh, finish up and leave. Another scenario: you enter the restroom and begin a conversation with someone else who is also waiting, but then they enter a stall and continue talking. Okay, I know that isn’t weird for some people, but for me it is. Time in the restroom requires complete concentration, lest I become exposed to something I don’t want to be exposed to! I won’t even talk about the in-the-stall cell-phone talkers. Or the people you notice NOT washing their hands after they’ve done their business.