Compliments Shut Me Down

English ViewWalking on campus is one of my favorite things to do; it gives me a chance to either mentally prepare for classes, or unwind after a long day. On these walks, music is an essential piece of the equation. And because I like to avoid talking to strangers, I’ve taken to using large headphones that make it look like I can’t hear anything (which I usually can’t). I realize this may sound rude, but my intention is not necessarily to avoid people, but to save them from the bundle of awkwardness that I am.

Yesterday, I was going about my day as usual: taking purposefully slow steps, looking ahead at nothing in particular, with the sweet melodies of Atmosphere blasting from the giant circles surrounding my ears. My routine was brought to a halt when I noticed a guy talking to me, probably not realizing I could not hear a word he was saying. I looked at him with a blank expression as I slowly pushed the headphones back.

Walk View

He said: Hey, I’m a fashion blogger and I really like your style. I was wondering if I could take your picture.

In my 19 years of living, I have never had anyone say something like this to me, so it took me a few seconds to actually respond, and all I could think to say was: uhhh… sure.

Unfortunately, I only got more awkward from this point forward. The poor guy was just looking to get a picture and the lightning was bad apparently, so we kept having to move forward, or walk further. After about 100 feet, he found a spot he said would work and started shooting.

He was clearly in his element. Meanwhile, my thoughts tortured me, “How do I stand? Do I smile? Should I even look at the camera? Is it weird that I’m holding the strap of my backpack? I can’t let go of my laptop bag, it’ll fall. Should I have set it down? Is it too late to ask? Why am I still holding on to my backpack. Oh my goodness, WHAT DO I DO WITH MY HANDS?”

Thankfully, the guy was quick. Four or so pictures later he said he was all set. He gave me a card, told me a little more about what he does, said thanks, and was on his way, and I continued on to class.


Thinking about the whole situation now, I can’t help but cringe a little. I was incredibly flattered and all I could think to say to the guy as he left was, “Thanks, have a great day.”

It’s these kind of experiences that make me feel embarrassed at first, but after thinking them over I can’t help but laugh. The guy walks around Denver asking people if he can take pictures of them. I’m sure he has had other weird experiences.


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