Social Flaws, But Ironically, They Don’t Even Matter

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

Hello to all wheat fields, crash cymbals, forgotten pencil-crayons under old jazz organs, and the number four. Today, as I sit in my basement cut off from all human life, I want to talk about Social Things.
Social Things is a general category: basically, I mean, ‘anything and everything I don’t want to face that involves people.’ This could mean the girl at the Starbucks, or the guy at the Rogers store, or the man with the mustache that I don’t like for some reason at the Pizza Hut. Basically, I’m afraid of every single person on this earth, with the exception of friends and family– and my cat. And my dead bamboo plant. I wasn’t afraid of him– in fact, he was my best friend– and then he died.
So anyway. You could say that ‘Oh, a lot of people are awkward in social situations.’ You’d be right, but you wouldn’t be at the heart of the matter– which is I am awkward in ALL social situations, and more than just a little awkward, a LOT awkward. Sometimes, rarely, I manage to get through a scene of sociality without saying anything weird. Sometimes I can talk to the Starbucks people without wanting to hide. But most of the time, I’m not too good at this aspect of life.
For instance. There are a lot of instances, but I’ll name just a couple of them. Once, I was walking the wrong way from school, (see other blog entries), and I came across a girl from Science class. She knew I hadn’t been to school in a while and– since it was obvious I was walking the wrong direction– I knew she would think this was just a little weird. (Note: This is the girl I weirded out in middle school by putting a clothes-hook up my sleeve and pretending it was my hand. I thought it was funny, but she just smiled and nodded nervously.) As we passed each other, I tried to say ‘Hello’ but instead of a nice clean Hel-lo it came out a croak, somewhere along the lines of ‘Haey.’ And she just stared at me. That was a good job securing my sanity right there.
Another time, I went to Starbucks, and I wanted to order a green tea lemonade. I walked up to the cash and the lady said, with a smile, ‘Hi.’ And I can’t even remember what I said to that– if anything. I might’ve just stared– or, more likely, smiled in a twisted nervous way or tried to offer some kind of croak meant to be ‘Hi.’ Anyway, she said, ‘What would you like?’ and I said, ‘Um, I’d like the lemonade tea thing.’ ‘Which one? Passion fruit?’ ‘Oh– no– the green lemonade one.’ ‘The green tea lemonade?’ ‘Yes, that, please.’ ‘What size?’ ‘Medium. No, I mean– grande.’ And then I dropped all my coins.
Okay, I’m not always that bad. With my friends I’m usually good, and if I know the person I’m talking to it’s easier. I also find talking to people as shy/more shy than me is easy, too. But once you put me up against a stranger who isn’t as hopelessly shy and awkward as I am it becomes like a gladiator pit fight and I’m some poor slave from the country with a toothpick against a very big, muscled gladiator who has killed like, thirty lions in one month and is swinging a really big sword through the air that will not only crush my toothpick, but me, too. I’m just not good with socializing, or talking when I have to. Also I have this suspicion that I stare at people. It’s not that deer-in-the-headlights kind of staring that some people might give you, or even the haughty eyeing of the popular kids. It’s like a ‘I am thinking deeply about you’ kind of stare, and I think on more than one occasion I’ve embarrassed some poor kid. Usually they don’t notice. Thankfully. Because it’s really weird. I only kind of noticed I did that a few months ago, after staring deeply at the poor bass-saxophonist in music class. He started turning redder and redder and I only looked away after I remembered I had a book to read in my bag, so I could enjoy myself that way and not listen to our Nazi drill sergeant music teacher.
The staring at people thing is probably another bad social skills type thing; I don’t think it’s normal, or if it is actually a natural inclination to do that, then nobody else does it. I’ve stared at my share of people over the years; developed back stories about kids sitting in class around me; and stared so deeply at my friends at times that it’s hard to believe they really haven’t noticed. Or maybe they’re just really, really polite, or oblivious. It’s not a bad sort of staring; and I stare less at people the more I know them, and the longer I’ve been around them (a heads-up for my friends reading this, I don’t stare at you guys that much anymore! That’s good, right?) But anyway. I’m surprised that the bass-saxophonist didn’t explode, because during music class I used to stare at him a lot. And why? He wasn’t even good-looking or anything. But he must’ve known I was looking at him. And how do you explain that to someone if they ask you why you’ve been staring at them for months? If my answer was ‘Sorry, I do that to everyone’ I wonder if he’d believe it.
Anyway. The ironic thing is that all these social flaws don’t really matter, since I haven’t lived much in the outside world for a while now. I’m wondering– kind of fearing– if my return to the World of the Outsideness will be bad, like, REALLY very bad, because I’ve been out of the social loop for so long. Normally I’m passably sociable to survive school and the world with reasonable ease, even if sometimes I’m horrible, but I have this bad little feeling returning to the world will be a nightmare. It might even make the news. ‘Girl returns to Outside World, elephants rampage city streets, downtown fires destroy dozens of buildings; government in crisis; army called in, plea to other countries “What the heck are we supposed to do with this?”‘.
Er… well… Dig yourself a Onceabasementdog-Returns-to-the-World-Everyone-Might-Die shelter now!
(Very insincerely, Onceabasementdog.)

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