7 November 2018
Mostly because it's true.
One of my other favorites says Introverts Unite. Separately. In Our Own Homes. Again, lots of truth there.
One of my friends thinks I'm an ambivert, and that might have been, way back when he knew a much, much younger me. But the truth now is that I am introverted and socially awkward, and I suspect it's the result of so many years of moving around and leaving friends behind, landing in places where I just didn't know anyone and when I did meet people, we didn't click.
Face it, I'm fairly liberal and wound up in some very conservative places.
After we left Texas--where I had martial arts as my main social outlet--I found it more and more difficult to connect with people unless it was online. In Illinois, I met, literally, no one with whom I had anything more in common than a couple of semesters at the local college. In North Dakota, we had a few friends, thanks to bowling, but there wasn't really any socializing outside that.
Ohio was a bright spot; we lived on a great street with terrific people, and spent a lot of time with them.
But that was it. We left there 15 years ago when the Spouse Thingy retired. My social life since then has been limited to online, except for one local friend who better die before dumping my ass.
This sounds whiny, but it's not meant to be.
It's really meant as more of an explanation.
I am perfectly comfortable with my introversion 99% of the time. I have a lot of friends, truly, but thanks to military life, they're scattered across the country. Or I met them through Max's blog. Or we connected way back when Prodigy was a thing and there was an active martial arts board. Some of my oldest friends--from when I was a kid--are still friends and we talk a lot, but they're way over there and I'm way over here.
There is a price to be paid for that kind of a social life.
Over time, with distance and habit, a person can lose their social skills. They forget how to engage in spontaneous small talk. There is no text-lag buffer, no taking time to edit thoughts before letting them fly. When you're conversing in person, you kinda have to talk. Like, right then.
So, sure, over the years I have become painfully socially awkward, and more of an introvert than I am an ambivert.
The topic came up recently when I was talking to a long time friend, who poked at me when she said she might be out this way and I reminded her I didn't have a guest room. I do have an inflatable mattress, and I might have a pump for it, so there was always a chance to bunk in the room where the treadmill and rowing machine live, and where Buddah and Max have barfed on the carpet approximately 4,967 times.
And then she poked at me a little more. She wouldn't do that to me, because it would make me panic. When I denied that, she point-blank asked when the last time I had a guest was.
Um. Maybe in Ohio...? And before that, maybe when the Boy was 2?
"And if I drop in on your down time at the Pub Panel? With my entire brood?" I think that's when I told her to shut the fark up. She laughed at me again, and promised it would never happen. Too many new people at once. Too many people period. I don't do that well (Oddly, I never had those issues on the 3 Day. No clue why.)
More truth: yeah, we don't entertain at home. I have no idea HOW to entertain at home. You come over, I don't know what to do with you. I suck at small talk. If you're a talker, it works better (though not if you talk and talk and talk and talk and don't let anyone else get a word it...) because I feel like I'm more of a listener (delusional, perhaps) but really, no clue how to really socialize anymore. I'm not a decent cook, so you're probably not getting dinner here, and even if I were a decent cook...yeah, really never done that, so you're probably not going to have a great time.
Now, oddly, drop me into a party where I know a couple people, I'm okay. But you need to be okay with me sitting back and watching and listening, because I tend to not approach anyone and I still suck at small talk. It might look like I'm miserable and not having any fun, when the truth is I'm having a great time. But I avoid that, because it makes other people uncomfortable. Why is she just sitting there? Why isn't she talking? Is she just rude or what?
The weird, hard left turn: if I do the InDesign instruction at the Pub Panel, I won't have a problem with that. When I'm prepared, I can talk in front of a large group. If someone needs help with something, I can do that.
Hell, if you're a total stranger out in the wild and something's wrong, chances are I'll stop to help. I had zero issues stopping my car a few weeks ago to help an Asian guy in an Old Sac parking garage who couldn't figure out the parking exit payment. Neither of us understood a word the other was saying, but we figured it out. Never occurred to me to do anything other than solve the problem.
But that wasn't social.
I'll never see that guy again. Three or four minutes, done.
So, really, that's it. Now you know why you're probably not staying at my house on the cat-barf carpet, and why I seemed rude the last time you saw me, and why I'm pretty okay with being an introvert. It's not you. It's just how I am.
Sorry. I am awkard. Sorry.