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Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Agoraphobia, Yay!

The past two weekends have been exhausting for me.  Not because of work or any particular sort of running around, but because I had to be social.  Being social is rough, y’all…

Last weekend, my sister got married.  While I am happy for her and the turn her life has taken, I was dreading the wedding.  I didn’t know a lot of the people there, and am horrific at being social when it’s not part of my job.  I had to take a lot of deep breaths in the car on the way up.  Thankfully, during the ceremony I was given the job of videographer, so I could just hide behind the camera before it started.  But the reception… I was so glad there was going to be booze available, because, wedding receptions.

Luckily, I sat with my cousin, uncle and aunt, and my cousin’s daughter.  There were also old family friends at the table, and eventually my mom joined us.  So, I wasn’t stuck with a table of total strangers, just people I don’t interact with a lot.  Thanks to my old high school acting skillz, and a glass of wine on an empty stomach, I was able to be bright, cheerful and chatty, but not embarrassing.  (I quickly absorbed the wine I was drinking with the trays of amazing hors d'oeuvres that kept on coming around).  I entertained my cousin’s daughter and my niece by letting them take my camera around and take tons of pictures, and overall had a nice time.  Phew!  The next day, I was completely beat.

This past weekend was slightly different.  This was self-inflicted social anxiety.  A friend of mine from high school was hosting a little shindig at his house in which we had BBQ and mocked a crappy comic book.  Being that this is one of the very few friends from high school I still interact with on a regular basis, and a possibility to meet some people that are not still in high school, I really wanted to go.  While I am not the biggest comic book person I know, I appreciate the artform, and love mocking crappy things, so yeah.

Right up until I left the house to drive to his, I was still not sure if I was actually going to go.  There would be two other guys I haven’t spoken to since high school, my friend’s wife who I’ve only met once or twice briefly, and a gaggle of geeky guys I’ve never met.  This of course meant I would be extra awkward because geeky guys are the sexy.

But I made my pasta salad, I dressed cute but casual, got in my car, and drove.  Hm.  Took less time than I thought.  Still not ready, I passed by the road my friend lives on and decided to take a drive down by the lake.  I turned around, and parked in the parking lot of a local grocery store, debating if I wanted to run in and grab some beer.  Surely I can’t do this sober, right?  No, I will be good.  Deep breath, deep breath, let’s go!

I pull into the designated parking area across from his house at the same time as a carload of strangers.  They say hi, I kind of mumble a “hi” back, and book it across the street.  Where I pretty much stand around completely awkwardly, not speaking, for a while.  Once we started to eat, though, I was able to open up a little, and contribute to the conversation, especially when movies came up.  Also, someone had brought a case of decent beer to share (no Natty or PBR here – God, I LOVE GROWNUPS!), so a couple of those and I was much, much better.  But mostly, these were “my” people – people who are interested in more intellectual and artistic things, people who like the geekier side of life, and people who are not in high school.  Not even in college!  ADULTS!  Also, very nice group of people. 

I was able to partake in the mocking of the comic, and had an overall fantastically fun time.  I think I made a decent impression on the people I met, and hope to maybe see some of them again? 

The past two weekends have solidified the fact that I need to get out there.  I need to be social.  It is possible to meet new people in the Upper Valley.  But now, I don’t know.  How to reach out?  How to stop being so fucking socially awkward?  These are things I would like to know.  And things I need to work on.  Or else, I’ll turn into this guy:

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