Sunday, September 18, 2011

H'mmm

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.

33 comments:

Brigid said...

We know, and understand. There are a lot of folks that love you just the way you are, remember that.

Carteach0 said...

Yup. Understand that concept very well indeed.

It's not that I don't like people. I do. It's just there's so many of them... and I like them better from a distance.

Sometimes a lot of distance.

Now it's time to go cook bacon. That solves most problems, it seems.

Tango Juliet said...

I can relate. Life is better when I'm far from the maddening crowd.

Tango Juliet said...

Ummm... "madding' crowd.

Midwest Chick said...

I know exactly whereof you speak and everybody finds their own way of coping, sometimes it's more difficult than others.

And what you've just shared makes me appreciate even more the conversations we've had at the blogmeets.

But you truly are tactikewl! :-)

Phil R. said...

Ah, such a wonderful thing is the Interwob, allowing the inner self who is chased away by the crowds to do the talking, instead of that crazy public self who either clams up completely or (in my case, more often than not) goes right off the reservation and embarrasses us all.

What Brigid said, except that I'm a guy and this is, what, my second comment here, so if I claimed to love you that would just be... oogy.

You're still my kind of people, though.

Sport Pilot said...

Being normal in an increasingly crowded world can be stressful. I'd love to be able to write as well as you and have just a fraction of your tech savvy. Take comfort in the true friend's you are so blessed to have in such abundance. Live life and enjoy!

Gewehr98 said...

Roberta, you're not quite there yet, but don't let it devolve into a serious case of agoraphobia.

One of my fellow crewdawgs had a wife who was intensely agoraphobic, and he wound up being her sole conduit to the world outside the front door.

I dislike malls and have skipped big gunshows for the last several years. Even the last model railroad convention made me uneasy regarding the seething mass of humanity found within.

I just find better things to do, but I'll still go to the grocery store or Wally World...

Joseph said...

Roberta, you are special and spectacular just the way you are.

Roberta X said...

I can do the gunshows -- it's always in one of the same 2 or 4 buildings, I recognize at least half the vendors and some of the more notable attendees, and I've been going for years. Waiting in line and buying tickets is a chore.

It's not agoraphobia, really, just fear of startin' up another who-knows-how-long stretch of not really being where I am.

Guffaw in AZ said...

I'm with Brigid. You're amazing and a little intimidating (uber-geek, and all). But, that's okay.
Be you!

John A said...

Lots of us out gere, and you are a heck of a lot better adjusted than I.

A former brother-on-law gave me a poster which sums up my attitude in some measure -

I love Mankind - it's People I can't stand

I feel uncomfortable in groups of more than three or four. Have for over sixty years. Excepting, for whatever quirk, at work.

RobertSlaughter said...

I suspect a lot more people have some level of the disorder(s) you speak of, and just don't recognize it as such. Perhaps instead of worrying about Earth's 'carrying capacity', we've outgrown most people's 'coping capacity'. The number of near-zombies I encounter when I venture forth on mass-transpo or other crowd-dense situations is staggering. I can handle crowds, but prefer less-dense situations, because I prefer nature over concrete.

I find your writing here and your other blogs quite good, thank you for all you do.

og said...

So? You live your life as you see fit and you're comfy. Tell everyone else to hit the bricks.

Frankly, the only downside is that there are amazing things you'd enjoy that you will probably never be able to, like the Machine Tool Show in Chicago. I would LOVE to be your guide for that, though Mr B is as qualified to do so, and is somewhat less an ass than am I. Meanwhile, nothing you can do that you can't do on air or online.

Joanna said...

Heh. I take this as a challenge, as in "Once my ankle's up to it (give it six months or so) I'm takin' you to the mall for a girl's day out." They have a Lego store now, and there's a Half Price Books right next door ...

Roberta X said...

Joanna: no.

Seriously, especially given the size Castleton is now, the price is too damn high, no matter what they've got.

I can usually do the little strip-malls up there, except between Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The Jack said...

That's the problem people who use the "Just jump in you'll be fine." school of thought. Sometimes the person in question really can't swim.

Og's right. There's no reason why you should put yourself at risk and discomfort because other people think you're not being "social" enough.


And remember, others may not be able to understand first hand what you're going through but that doesn't stop them from having empathy.

DJ said...

You're (ahem, but pun intended) not alone.

I'm a loner, almost a hermit. I can handle crowds and crowded situations just fine, but I have such an intense dislike of crowds that I avoid them. I go where I need to and do what needs doing, but the notion of going, well, shopping just turns me off completely.

It ain't broke, and I don't fix it.

Jeffro said...

Don't feel like the Lone Stranger. I've learned how to be somewhat gregarious over the years, which was a change from the shy guy I was. However, that all lasts only so long before I want out of the monkey cage.

Your sensors trip earlier, is all.

Plus, being introspective can be a bitch, too, because your mind can always find ways to mess with ya.

Joanna said...

Awwwwww ... bummer. :-)

Brian in Florida said...

I am not the ONLY ONE, that helps. Not sure what else to say other than ,Thanks, it is good to know that alone I am not alone.

Ed Skinner said...

In a crowd, just tell them to, as Ruby Rhod says in The Fifth Element, "Bzzzzzzzzzz!"

Stuart the Viking said...

I have to chime in as yet another who at least can grasp what you are feeling. With me, it is more a feeling that I don't belong. Even sitting in my own room in my own house often I get the feeling of "I don't belong here". When I'm away from home it is a constant. Not overwhelming, but always there. As a consequence, I have the same few friends that I've had for years, but rarely visit them at home unless specificly invited (and sometimes badgered into it). The friends I have are the ones that were persistant (I still have no idea why they bothered), and anyone who isn't persistant gets left behind. A lot of good friends have been left behind over the years. I find it nearly impossible to "just call" people to chat, and sometimes diffcult to call when I have a reason to. Dating is mind boggling. I actively try dating at least once a year, although that is becoming less frequent.

Most people just think I'm just an asshole, not that I care what people think.

When I get all "woah is me" I sometimes drop by hikiculture.net. It's a forum for... well... not people like me, more for the agoraphobes I guess, but at least its interesting, and nice to see how some people are being able to reach out even when trapped inside their own existance.

s

Stuart the Viking said...

BTW... Just re-read my comment.

I wasn't saying I thought YOU were being "woah is me". I was merely talking about me.

s

Sport Pilot said...

Clip from my favorite movie, almost my motto whenever I encounter someone who's been teased, like me, for being different from the mainstream...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQ_pKqiB5Rg

It's OK to be your own person, just be happy with who you are..

LabRat said...

The human mind is a hastily cobbled-together yet insanely powerful Rube Goldberg machine, created by a process that experiments with lots and lots of variation.

It is less remarkable that some of the parts in some of the possessors have gone "ping" than that some individuals actually seem boringly normal.

davidc said...

"Oh, it's all in your head" Heard that one ? I've been there, doing that !!! Enjoy your blog.

Scout26 said...

I understand as well. I had, and do still hope to take you, Tam and Brigid to the ISO simply because, I enjoy classical music and the three of you have been so kind, welcoming and generous to me that I wanted to return the kindness with an evening of music that I hope you would enjoy.

Please let me know if you'd like to go, as I would be highly honored to escort you ladies to dinner and the Symphony.

Roberta X said...

I cannot and it pains me, both for your sake and the music. I've been there once, decades ago. Didn't last out the concert.

DJ said...

"It is less remarkable that some of the parts in some of the possessors have gone "ping" than that some individuals actually seem boringly normal."

Indeed. Why should we believe that it is a design which should work with a low WTF coefficient when the parts are assembled correctly?

Scout26 said...

This is my sad face.

I do understand. I'll come up with some way to repay the kindness that you've shown me. You are a very lovely person and I'll just put on my thinking cap and come up with a nice way to say "Thanks for being my friend"

-Dave

Anonymous said...

I get over my anti social behaviors by working for a defense contractor, developing better ways of killing large numbers of people.

Freud said that if you liked blood, you should become a chicken plucker.

My second ex wife has similar troubles. She can barely make it with me to the ATM when I give her "shaddup money".

Anonymous said...

based on long and bitter experience i can safely say that somewhere between 1/4 and 1/3 of the population is of the same mental predisposition...
for some reason the CCCP has more than our share of the 'reserved' people...
enjoy it, its actually a blessing with the way society is anymore..
just don't crawl into a bottle trying to get away...