There are things you have to do in life. Things you don’t want to do, but you just bite the bullet and push on through. Things like…oh you know, interacting with people. Especially people with whom you have little to nothing in common. I have to do this at work, and this week I had to do it at Marlo’s work. Marlo asked me to come to her office Christmas party. I pretty much knew what it would be like, and it lived up to my expectations. At the best of times I have troubles with crowds. I wouldn’t say that I’m ochlophobic, I don’t really fear crowds, I just get tense and quiet and close up in large groups. Or even small groups. I’m much better one on one, generally speaking.
I don’t know what to do with myself in social situations. This is why I suck at schmoozing and will probably only get so far in the entertainment industry (if I haven’t already peaked). I was 15 minutes early for the party, and the first thing I did after I showed up and was greeted by Marlo was grabbed a candy cane, so that I would have something to do with my hands and my mouth. I pretty much spent the entire party eating, until I started to feel sick. We mostly spent the party at Marlo’s work area or moving from room to room quickly and with purpose. When I went to the bathroom, I felt a tremendous pressure temporarily relieved, and I don’t mean from my bladder. I have to imagine most people have felt the the same way at some time or another – leaving a crowded, noisy room, closing the door behind you into this quiet, intimate space – leaning against the wall and breathing out a massive sigh. I know Marlo feels the same way. If she didn’t have to be there, she wouldn’t have been. I didn’t have to be there, but the fact is I care deeply for Marlo and in the big picture it’s a minor inconvenience. Like I say, it’s something we all have to do. I would certainly support her in more ways than to weather a few hours of discomfort at a party with lots of free food, and be happy to do it.
The irony is, of all parties, that’s probably the kind of party that I most enjoy – the subdued, adult, hors d’oeuvred party where you can sit down and chit chat, rather than a raucous beerfest with music so loud you can’t hear anything. The problem was, I didn’t know anyone there (with the obvious exception) and I didn’t have any great motivation to get to know any of them. There were a few people that I did not find outwardly …uninviting. There were maybe a handful of people with whom I imagined I could have a conversation without trying to find the first opportunity to squirm away, but even better than following through on that was keeping to myself and to Marlo and nibbling away at chocolate and cheese until other people started to leave so that it was not indecorous that we do likewise.
Marlo says she’s socially retarded. That’s one more thing that we have in common. Solidarity!