The Introvert

unsociability5

Today is party day.  My wife invited a lot of people — family and friends.  I know what to expect, I went through this circus many times.  We will greet each other, sit, talk, drink, laugh, eat and then climax:  happy whatever!

The talk usually starts with a “how are you,” then revolves around whichever topic is mentioned.  The fun things we did are brought up, the interesting things we saw are emphasized.  Then anything goes:  hearsay, rumors, news from TV or from other members of the family or of famous people.  Who’s good, who’s bad.  Anything that pops up can become the subject of discussion.  Opinions are expressed.  Jokes are inserted.

Laughing is important to keep the mood happy.  When speaking, a touch of exaggeration is necessary to keep the listeners entertained.  Sometimes there is originality but most of the time opinions are second-hand ideas, the repeating of things heard elsewhere.  Finally a clever “expert” will make a concluding remark and the subject will change.

Fortunately, there is respect in our group.  No fighting.  There is a small chance of an argument between the mother-in-law and her daughter, but nothing serious.  Three languages are in use:  French, Portuguese and English.  It can get confusing because some of us understand and speak only one or two of those languages.  No one bothers translating.  You pick up what you can.  The discussions rarely amount to anything anyway, except maybe laughter.

I think most of the participants just enjoy the feeling of togetherness.  It doesn’t really matter what is said.  Compliments are always welcome.  Funny things are remembered.  Polite smiles are expected, fake ones for photos.

The bulk of the herd should arrive around 5 p.m. and leave at 9.  We will be crammed on the main floor of our medium-sized house.  I will have to endure a minimum of four hours of movement, noise and interaction requests.  I don’t know how to prepare for it except to write and express my apprehension of this upcoming inescapable situation.  I usually fare pretty well, though.  I take the role of the bartender, mixing drinks and serving the thirsty.

I’m more of a listener, and once in a while I will throw a sarcastic comment that will get a few of them rolling and the others frowning.  Two or three such interruptions is usually the most I can afford in one sitting.  I usually drink in order to help my mind relax, but I want to try not drinking at all this time.

I feel alienated in a crowd and never know where I fit in.  I try not to stay too long in the same spot.  I walk around, pretending I’m going somewhere, trying to stay cool.  It’s hard to engage in any sort of intelligent conversation because of the chaos and noise.  Everyone knows that I’m disabled, that I don’t go out much and that I’m a bit depressed, so they don’t bother asking me what I’ve been doing lately because it’s kind of useless.

My mother-in-law usually asks me “how are you,” I reply “fine” and that’s the end of our conversation.  What else can I say?  The truth is:  “I’m sad because your daughter ruined me financially,” but that would be a bad thing to say.  And the purpose of life is to be fucking good, right?  Or at least appear to be…

The clock is ticking.  I want this day to be over quickly.  I don’t get what others enjoy in these gatherings.  I understand though, because I once experienced the warmth of being with a group of friends in the past.  I’m not sure why I changed, though.  Maybe it’s just part of growing up.  Or maybe I lost my friends and I don’t know how to make new ones.  It’s a mystery.

I’m an introvert, I know this much, and that’s a good enough explanation, I guess…

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5 thoughts on “The Introvert”

  1. I guess I am too. Which is so weird because I use to be such a chatty Kathy…social butterfly. As I read this, I see so much of myself in this writing. I’m Always in my head. I can’t talk to people anymore. It’s weird

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi : ) You know, based on my experience, the loneliness was only ever a longing for my own attention. I literally felt so lonely despite being popular, athletic and smart in high school. I felt like that in my early twenties despite getting a job and having wonderful friends, and even after meeting a wonderful man and getting married and having a child. It was only when life decided to tear me wide open over the last few years that I started seeing that there is so much more to me than I ever thought possible and I’ve been having to mourn for the way I lived, for the never-ending sadness that seemed like a plague within me, and now I’m more ready to turn around, stop mourning and let the deeper me come forth. I love your writing because I identify so much with what you are going through. From a very outsider’s perspective and with all due respect for your journey, it seems like you are being ripped open too, so I wish you so much gentleness for yourself as you let the deeper you emerge and come forth. Sometimes it’s like your deep self is writing to you and other times it’s like the one who struggles is the one writing, it is amazing to witness in your writing and it makes me realize the depth of what I am going through. Your struggle is a gift to all who read your blog and it is the greatest gift for you too. May the wrapping paper and ribbons fall off so easily so that all of the gifts that are ready for you can be revealed and so you can see and sense your true magnificence. Many blessings to you dear one and I honour you and your incredible journey that is only here for you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Longing for my own attention.” This sounds absolutely true. I will remember it. And you are right, I am being (or have been) ripped open — death and rebirth of my identity, nothing less. Thank you!

      Like

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