Wow. I had a nifty little confessional piece all mapped out, all about bein' pathologically shy and the various and goofy ways in which I have accommodated a basic inability to easily cope with social situations -- back when Ex and I were together, it was easy, just let him take the lead in any dealing with people (oh, and that didn't add any extra strain to the relationship, riiiight). These days, avoiding unfamiliar places and/or situations takes care of most of it, but I still can't go to the mall and places like sports amphitheaters give me the willies even empty -- it's a thousand times worse when there's a crowd there.
I had it all mapped out; went to the kitchen and threw together a sort of a breakfast from this and that (out of eggs, darn it! --Should have gone to the store yesterday but I stayed in and did housecleaning) and when I got back, I sat down and thought, Oh, why bother?
If you ain't got it, it all sounds like BS and self-indulgence. If you haven't spent a week or more hammering away at life through persistent, mild disassociation (combining these two) as the price of attending some unavoidable social function -- or even of having to shop someplace unfamiliar and crowded -- then you'll have no idea; the usual reaction is a good, hearty slap on the back and advice to "leap right in." "Just nerves," they say, "You'll get over it."
Yeah, no thanks; I might not all come back. (Some don't.) Sometimes, under some circumstances, I can cope by pushing through, keeping loud and active; I did it when I was much younger and usually had a drink or two to "help." It's disastrous if it fails, though; try going robotic while tipsy or in the middle of a dance floor. When I go places, it's better to stay on familiar turf if possible, near the exits if not, avoid crowds and never be in a position where I can't just get up and go home.
It's not because I'm aloof. It's not because I'm a cold, insensitive jerk. It's not even because I'm tactikewl.
I just gotta.
T. R. MCELROY'S STREAMLINED TELEGRAPH KEYS
8 months ago