True Tales of Unbelievable Social Awkwardness: Spa Pizza Hut


I went on a mission trip to Hungary one summer in high school. I went with an independent mission agency that recruits all over the United States, and we were a crazy group. Only one of the other students had ever met me before, so I didn’t have any particular reputation. I’m not sure why the group got this impression, but they called me “the sweetheart” at first. Everyone made comments about me being so sweet and ladylike. It was an interesting change from being the Shakespeare nerd everyone was afraid to argue with in Sunday School, but it threw me for a loop.

“Aw, she’s here. How are you, sweetie?” my small group leader said. And then I realized she was talking to me.

“You’re just so adorable,” my friend Kevin* said every morning. I was used to guys whispering that I was intimidating, intense, or just plain scary. “Adorable” did not compute.

“Those glasses are so cute. You look like a little mouse or something.” No. Just… no. I still hate those glasses.

The whole gang was obviously suffering from hallucinatory delusions. It couldn’t last. The impulsive awkward me was going to smack them in the face (perhaps literally) sooner or later.

Pizza Hut in Hungary is actually a fairly fancy restaurant. The one near our dorm was several stories tall and had decor more like a Chili’s. The pizza wasn’t bad, so we ate there about once a week. One time our group leader ordered us pizza and a few batches of barbecue wings. We dug in, trading sarcastic jokes and movie quotes. The pizza had a lot of tomato sauce on it, and I felt some end up on my cheek.

Oh well, I thought to myself. I’ll get it after this next bite.  Then Henry* snorted with laughter and pointed at me.

“Dude, you have pizza all over you,” he said. I rolled my eyes.


“Aw, cute little Laura!” Kevin laughed.

Cute?  Little? Excuse me? I was indignant, but my mouth was full of pizza.

“You eat like a three-year-old,” Henry said, handing me a napkin.

Something snapped. I looked down at the plate that had previously held the chicken wings. I swallowed my pizza and raised one eyebrow at Henry across the table.

“I’ll show you how a three-year-old eats,” I said. I reached into the mess of oil, barbecue sauce, and chicken skin, and smeared a huge glob all around my mouth. I went back for another glob and covered my chin and nose.

The whole table freaked out.









“What is wrong with you, woman?” Henry yelled. He actually jumped out of his chair.

“You are completely insane!” Kevin said.

“I can’t believe you just did that!” Henry said, flailing like an octopus.

“Are you even a girl?” someone asked from the next table over.

“That was insane. And awesome. And insane!” Kevin said with a mix of approval and fear on his face.

“You said I eat like a three-year-old!” I said, an evil grin beneath the sticky mess on my face. “So I did.”

It took awhile for the group to recover from the shock, but the one guy who knew me before the trip gave me a knowing look and a wink. I was “the crazy one” for the rest of the five weeks. And I got a wicked case of acne.

Moral of the story: Barbecue sauce is not a good facial mask.

*Henry and Kevin are pseudonyms.


Changing Things Up


Up until now this blog has been all about me writing a novel or reviewing books. I have a feeling the writing posts are boring to anyone except fellow writers, and I haven’t written many book reviews lately. After talking to my hubby, I’ve decided to shift focus. I’ll still write book reviews (Allegiant, All Our Yesterdays, and Sorrow’s Knot are in the pipeline), and I’ll still occasionally update people on my novel. I’ve just realized that I have a lot more to say, and I think my thoughts might be amusing or even enlightening. So expect the following new topics:

1) Military Life

Life is about to change significantly for my family. In a few months my husband will report for active-duty as a chaplain in the US Army, and we will move to a post in Georgia. I honestly feel a bit like a missionary headed to a foreign country. I have to learn a new language (OPSEC? DFAS? BAH? What is with all these acronyms?!), new rules (Did you know that a soldier can’t carry an umbrella in uniform?), and new mode of dress (Uniforms confuse me enough, but there are dress codes for events!). The process of moving and assimilating into Army culture will inevitably be entertaining and hopefully helpful to others. But don’t expect to hear much about my kids. This is not a mommy blog. There are plenty of those already.

2) Theology

I love to teach and read theology, and I love to argue apologetics. I’m fascinated with other religions and how they differ from Orthodox Christianity, such as Islam, Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and Judaism. My current pet topic is orthodoxy vs. orthopraxy: if you have right beliefs, but they don’t result in right behavior, are they really right beliefs? These things bounce around in my brain all day long, and I’ve started half a dozen posts that I’ve never published. I have decided that all those posts need to see the light of day.

3) True Tales of Unbelievable Social Awkwardness

I’ve already told the internet that my first words to my husband were, “I had a dog named Caleb.” That’s the tip of the iceberg. Like the fact that I sang the wrong words to a well-known hymn for twenty years before Caleb noticed and corrected me. Or the time I retold a story I’d heard from a friend, and the subject of the story (a person I didn’t know) was sitting there listening to me the whole time. Or the time I corrected a teacher’s pronunciation in the middle of class in high school. And did it again to a professor in college. Prepare to worry about me while hopefully laughing out loud.

4) A Secret Project

I am almost certain I want to serialize a novella concept I’ve been developing, and I plan to post some of it here for feedback. It’s futuristic science fiction that involves artificial intelligence, but I won’t say more until I’ve actually written a few pages. I may throw together a few pieces of short fiction as well.

Hopefully these changes will make this blog a bit more interesting. If you have any suggestions for other topics I should write about, I’d love to hear them. Next up is my review of Allegiant by Veronica Roth!