#7 – Jiminy Cricket Awkward

 When you get in trouble and you don’t know right from wrong – Jiminy Cricket Awkward.

The JCA is a very special kind of awkward, in that only you and an imaginary cricket are subjected to its agonizing pain and embarrassment. This type of awkward doesn’t involve an audience, which is pretty much its only redeeming quality. Once Jiminy takes a seat your shoulder, full on awkwardness starts to run amuck.

On day one of the Expo, I hadn’t been in the convention center for more than an hour or two when I had my first Jiminy Cricket Awkward moment. The center was brimming with fun and excitement and included a myriad of Disney workers doing whatever it took to convince people to drink the Magic Kingdom Kool-Aid. In the midst of the mayhem, Disney had set up a Voluntears area where Expo attendees could participate in activities that benefited the local community. As a side note, I spelled ‘Voluntears’ right – it’s a play on the sweet pair of silver mouse ears they handed out as a reward for each completed project. (Whether Disney was avoiding true altruism at all costs or was just being sweet is debatable.)

I truly believe it wasn’t just the free ears that drew me in, but instead, a deeply seeded desire to give back and make a difference…within my carefully scheduled time frame of approximately 10 minutes. That’s right, I had 10 minutes to make a difference in the life of a homeless child before I headed upstairs to make a difference in my own life by enjoying the tales of Disney’s finest Imagineers and quite possibly spring boarding my own journey into Disney legendry.

What I had failed to realize before volunteering was that this particular project involved the intricate act of fringing the edge of a gargantuan fleece blanket. My complete lack of craftiness reared its ugly head as I snipped and tied, snipped and tied, snipped and tied. Ten minutes of warm fuzzies quickly evolved into 30+ minutes of agonizing struggle.

When you feel temptation and the urge is very strong – Jiminy Cricket Awkward.

I began to panic and, in turn, rationalize. How would I ever finish in time? Would anyone really know if I abandoned my blanket? Maybe not completing my project would actually be better for the child receiving it. After all, they could finish it themselves and learn a skill that could change their lives for the better. Chances are, years from now I would see that child selling their personalized fleece blankets for hundreds – nay, thousands of dollars, all thanks to my lack of completion.

The straw that almost broke my awkward back came from a Cast Member who whispered “You know, not everyone is finishing their blankets. You could turn it in half done and we’d never know.”

Threat level red – I was smack dab in the middle of a JCA! To fleece or not fleece? To Imagineer or not to Imagineer? What to do, what to do?!?!?!

Take the straight and narrow path and if you start to slide – Jiminy Cricket Awkward.

Luckily for me (or perhaps unluckily), this was not my first encounter with the JCA. I knew exactly what I had to do. I finished my blanket, missing the Imagineering session – but the trade off was when Jiminy patted me on the back, waved goodbye and took his little bag of awkward with him. I guess it pays to have your conscience be your guide… or at least to find out if there is any craftiness involved before volunteering.

Kristen

Mousetalgia Kristen may be best known for her color commentary, but she also brings her inquiring mind and insatiable appetite for new and exciting Disney-related experiences to the podcast. In addition to her on-the-scene reports, Kristen is also the Mousetalgia house musician, and often records various themes and tunes for the show on her accordion (or her concertina, her piano, her banjo, or some other various rhythm instrument she finds laying around her home), putting her degree from the San Francisco Conservatory of Music to good use. After having spent a season in sub-Saharan Africa as a professional storyteller reporting on the HIV/AIDS epidemic, Kristen has a special insight into the value of humor and perspective, and Kristen brings this joie de vivre to Mousetalgia. As a member of D23, the Cartoon Art Museum, and the Walt Disney Family Museum, Kristen rarely misses an opportunity to report on West Coast-based Disney happenings.

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