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Friday, May 3, 2013

That time I got mistaken for Miley Cyrus at the airport.

Day 3 of this challenge is discussing something (or many things) that make you uncomfortable. This is a pretty lengthy list for me. When I was in middle school and in high school, I had that weird ability to roll things off my shoulders, even if inside I was totally dying of awkwardness, but somewhere around the age of 19 or 20, I started to become hyper aware of things that got under my skin and made me uneasy. Some things were silly, like certain words, and other things were legitimate "I can not handle this situation" things, like wearing wet socks. (I'm shuddering just thinking about it.) Met with one of those things, and I can shake it off after a few moments. Met with a bunch of them at once? That's a whole other story.

A story I've appropriately titled "that time I got mistaken for Miley Cyrus at the airport."

(Because really, there isn't any other way to title this story.)

Long before dear Miley cut off all her hair (see below), I was mistaken for her every once in a while. Mostly it was friends and family commenting on how much we looked alike, but every once in a while it would happen in public, which made no sense since I lived in suburban New England and why the hell would Miley Cyrus be at J.Crew at the mall? It was kind of strange, but happened frequently, so it more or less became a part of life. (This is not one of those things I'm uncomfortable about.)

She's just being Miley.

Around the same time, I had turned 21, became recently single (after a 2 and a 1/2 year relationship) and developed a debilitating fear of flying. Since I had been in a relationship for most of my first two and a half years of college, I missed out on a whole learning experience - how to handle guys who hit on you that you aren't interested in.  I had been an uncomfortable flyer for my teen years, but managed to handle it easily, so it became as a total shock when I realized I had become truly afraid to fly. All of this came on the heels of me booking a trip to visit one of my very best friends in Arizona. 3,000 miles away.

The trip went fine, fun was had by all, and I was then faced with a long travel day back to the east coast. I had a layover in Dallas, a long one (close to 3 hours), and I was starting to realize that I also didn't like doing things alone. The idea of going to a movie alone frightened me; sitting in a Starbucks by myself doing schoolwork was not even on my radar. It dawned on me that sitting in an airport for three hours over dinner time only meant one thing - I was going to have to eat alone. The closest restaurant to my gate was Chili's, which seemed pretty quiet despite the hour. When the hostess asked me where I liked to sit, I responded with "as far away from anyone as possible," which she laughed at until she realized I was serious.  I sat down, pulled out some magazines, and started reading to take my mind off of the fact that I was SITTING ALONE IN A RESTAURANT. My server came up to the table, called me ma'am, and I ordered a beer without so much as looking at him. He left, and I scanned the menu as soon as I could, finding something to order so the next time he came back, I'd be ready. He approached with my beer, I ordered my meal, and he left again, all while I was 3 paragraphs deep in something like "what guys really think about your outfit." He came back to check on me, without the food, and I finally looked up at him. He was cute and polite and made quick small talk with the standard airport line "are you traveling for business or pleasure?" It was totally innocent banter and I thought nothing of it when he left the table again. He didn't come back while I ate, but the hostess did.

"Ma'am, I'm sorry to interrupt but, can I ask you something?"

Sure. Why not. I'm only trying to hide from the world over here in this corner.

"You look awfully familiar. Have you been here before?" When I gave her a blank stare before responding, she giggled and leaned in closer like we were sharing a secret. "Are you someone famous?"

It is then that I realized my server had apparently taken the fact that I wanted to sit away from everyone else, that I didn't look up from my magazine, plus my similarity to one Disney Channel star, put them all together and assumed that I was Miley Cyrus. And apparently told the hostess that, too. I kindly corrected her, saying that I got that all the time, but no, I wasn't her.

"Oh. Well, if you were, your secret would be safe with me." (Good to know, if I ever become crazy famous, that I can hide out in the Dallas Int'l Airport Chili's without a problem.)

My server brought me my check, not even mentioning his mix-up (which, at that point, I had assumed the hostess had corrected him) and left. I paid in cash, since I had finished my magazine and therefore had nothing to distract myself with and wanted to get the hell out of there, and hustled my way out the door. As I started towards my gate I heard, "ma'am!" behind me, and thought, great. I left something behind. I turned around and the hostess approached me with a piece of paper.

"I just wanted to tell you that your server today thought you were real cute, and wanted to give you his number."

In my head, the following responses popped up:

"Thanks, but I just got out of a damaging relationship and shouldn't be near men."
"I don't know when I'll be in Dallas again and don't do long distance relationships."
"I barely looked at the guy, are you sure I'm the one he thinks is cute?"
"Don't you think its strange that he's trying to take me a on a date when I only have half an hour before my plane lands?"

But what came out of my mouth was, "Okay." In retrospect, I shouldn't have taken it. But I needed to catch a flight, was already uncomfortable just because I had to eat alone, and spent a portion of that time convincing someone I wasn't a celebrity, in addition to the fact that I had yet to learn how to kindly reject someone when it came to dating, even if it was thousands of miles away. I spent most of the plane ride trying to convince myself the plane wasn't going to crash, while also entertaining the idea of calling, at the very least to say I wouldn't be calling again. The gentleman next to me sparked up a conversation, and a while later, I mentioned this encounter to him. "Don't call him," he said, moving his hand like he was brushing away a fly. "I'm sure he meant well, but Southern boys are all the same. I bet you he gave out his number to at least 10 other girls in that restaurant today."

Great.  You can add "feeling like a total idiot" to the list of things that make me uncomfortable.

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