#2. Disney World
I had some extra cash from a pyramid scheme that Jackson came up with, so I decided to give myself a vacation, and I thought, "Hey, I've never been to Disney World as an adult. I bet it would be neat to see the Hall of Presidents and then get absolutely shitfaced."
Just like the Apple Store, Disney works very hard to convince you you're in a different world when you're there. When I arrived, the bus driver who picked me up at the airport handed me a single card and said, "This is your bus pass and hotel key. It also gets you into every park, and you swipe it when you want a meal or a snack, anywhere in the park. It is literally the only thing you will need to get around for the next three days." He hands it to me and it makes me forget that I already paid for all of those things in advance as part of some Disney package. I just think "Wow, what an impressive card. That's not like the other cards I own. This Disney sure is a special place."
That's Disney's whole game. They want you to follow rules that you wouldn't need to follow in the real world so they can trick you into forgetting that you're spending money. When I swipe a card at some stand run by a guy in a Mickey Mouse costume and he hands me a corn dog, I don't think of the money I'm spending, I think "Hey, magic, that's neat."
It's not just the fake money trick that Disney uses. If you walk down Main Street, you'll get the smell of candy being pumped into the air by one of the fresh candy shops. And the architecture is designed to keep the outside world out. In Disneyland, for example, there's not a single spot in the park where you can see outside buildings. It's also been designed to be to so large and mesmerizing that it's physically difficult to locate exits. Because Disney doesn't want you to leave.
Disney has us convinced we're in an enchanted fantasy world where the rules of real life don't apply.
Why Awkward People Hate It
Know how to make a socially awkward person want to kill himself? Stick him in an enchanted fantasy world where the social rules he's spent his whole life memorizing no longer apply and convince him there's no way out, and maybe surround him with a bunch of giant freaking mice while you're at it.
#1. The Company Party
(I'm going to take a wild stab in the dark and guess that not only awkward but in fact all people have trouble with big work parties that involve alcohol. Just know that awkward people feel it harder. Also, I tried to think of an artful way of combining "awkward" and "hard" to punctuate that joke because they share the right amount of letters in the right places, but I only ended up with "awkhard," which is stupid. I'm sorry.)
Awkward people don't hate all parties. Everyone has friends (even awkward people), and everyone can cut loose and bond over the big game, or celebrate someone's birthday, or make funny jokes about one of those Amazon women from Kardashia, or whatever you do at parties.
Getty... Sort of
There it was, folks. First, last and only joke I'll ever make about a Kardashian. Soak it up, I guess.
But company parties are a special kind of hell. You likely have plenty of friends at work, and you like partying with them, but there are also a lot of people at work that you'd call "Elevator Friends." These are people that you only really talk to if you happen to share an elevator randomly at work once in a while. We all have them. You see the same pseudo-stranger a few times a week, and you always share one to two minutes that will be filled with either small talk or silence.
For all my awkwardness, I can generally nail these relationships. I have four or five standard conversation bits stored in my head. They're all pleasant, and most of them have a joke. After I deliver the first sentence, there's very little room for the person I'm conversing with to steer me off topic, so I get to stick to the prepared script that luckily lasts exactly as long as it takes the elevator to get from my floor to the floor where I keep my bike. Ironically, people who leave these conversations can walk away thinking "Boy, that guy sure wasn't crazy; what an enjoyable few seconds we shared." I realize that my determined over-obsession with controlling idle chit-chat probably makes me seem like a robotic small-talking nightmare, but all of these conversations are fun and stress-free for everyone. I get results, dammit.
Pictured: Robotic Small-Talking Nightmare.
A company party is a place where Elevator Friends become real people, and they're drinking alcohol, and you're drinking alcohol, and this is terrible, because the robot only works for like two minutes and then he needs to recharge, and alcohol just makes him sweaty, aggressive and loud.
Why Awkward People Hate It
Here's the biggest problem with a company party: You're bound to spend more than two minutes with your Elevator Friends. And in those two minutes, it's probably going to become abundantly clear to your Elevator Friend that, even though you've been engaging in charming conversations a few times a week for three years, you don't actually know what they do at the company.
"Wait, you're an accountant? I've been telling people you were the sheriff. Like the office sheriff. Do we not- Is that not a thing?"
Alcohol can often make social situations more tolerable, but not for awkward folks, and not when surrounded by strangers and, holy shit, bosses. That's a brand new minefield, because you don't want your boss to see you at your drunkest, but you definitely aren't comfortable seeing him at his drunkest. The best thing to do is to make sure you're both constantly at the exact same level of drunk throughout the night, so no one ever has the edge on the other. Only then can you share either a pleasant night of mild tipsiness or the lifetime bond that comes from two people blacking out at the same time.
Daniel O'Brien is Cracked.com's senior writer (ladies) and is horrified that some of his Elevator Friends will read this and know the truth (you know who you are [OH SHIT YOU DO!]).
For more from Dan, check out How to Talk to Women (According to the Internet) and 4 More Things You Love to Discuss that No One Cares About.