Our lil cul de sac displays luminaries on the evening of January 1st - a tradition that began last year thanks to our neighborhood organizers. In addition to being lovely, it provides a nice way to casually gather with neighbors as we help to set up, light, then clean up the luminaries.
A couple of days ago, as I approached the organizer's house to help fill bags with sand and candles, I saw another neighbor already there. As I leaned over to observe her process for filling the bags, she pulled away quickly and exclaimed, "No hugs! I'm fighting a cold!"
I was NOT going in for a hug, but I'm also not very good about responding to things like this when I'm caught off guard, so I didn't say anything and simply let the awkwardness hang in the air for the rest of the bag assembly period.
Of course, I texted another neighbor I'm friends with about this later and asked her, "Have I EVER hugged a neighbor? Do I have a reputation as a neighbor-hugger?" She assured me I do not.
I also let her know that more neighbors showed up after this uncomfortable exchange...and that I hugged none of them.
Embracing the awkward (<--- see what I did there?),