My last post about talking to the guy on the airplane about academia–and postacademicinnyc’s comment about how to extricate oneself from such chit-chat–got me thinking about other awkward conversations I’ve been in or seen. This time, we’ll limit the uncomfortableness to academic-on-academic action. I guess the anecdotes would be more timely for convention-interview time, but these cringingly entertaining stories might whet your appetite for what’s just around the corner. (By the way, the new 2011-12 academic job wiki is already up!)
After reading the stories, you can decide how you want to read the “more” in the title, whether in quantity–as in “more examples of awkward interactions”–or in degree–as in “more embarrassingly awkward interactions.” Let us know about your own good (or bad) ones, too.
Getting stuck in the elevator: This awkward situation involved my friend being caught in the elevator with someone who had just interviewed him at MLA. I was in there with them and happened to know the interviewer socially, better than my friend did actually. So in some ways, I could be to blame here, because my greetings to the interviewer probably set a friendly, casual tone that may have gotten my friend in trouble…
You’ll have to go below the fold to find out what happened!