I have a button on my fridge, I bought it a while back when I was ordering Christmas presents from Think Geek. It says, simply, “I’m not deaf, I’m ignoring you.”
It was funny at the time, and sometimes at work I’d like it to be true, but in general… it isn’t.
I’m not ignoring you. I’m not ignoring any of you. This is just how I am. For all my ability to talk and write, for all my skill at explaining how things are or might be, for all my ability to tell a story… I am, at my heart, a lousy communicator.
My ability to tell a story isn’t talent, it’s compensation. I grew up alone for much of my life and, as such, missed out on some of the social tricks many people take for granted. I completely suck at small talk and other simple social conventions. I discovered, instead, that people will … think less strange of me if I entertain them with stories. Besides, the stories also keep me entertained in my own head.
But that’s a tangent for another time.
What I am saying is that I do not do well at initiating contact. I never call anyone except when I have some specific reason for doing so. I don’t leave my house unless I have a goal, someplace I already need to go.
I never start anything, I wait around until there’s something worth following.
The annual non trad is just the exception that proves the rule. If people weren’t constantly asking me about it I’d eventually just stop.
A number of people have been commenting lately that I haven’t been around, haven’t been calling. Rest assured, it isn’t just you.
I’m slipping, I think. I’m reverting to the sad solo life I used to have where, if it weren’t for Chad’s comic shop or the school’s computer lab, I would go for weeks without talking to anyone who didn’t call me first. There were communal watering holes I stumbled on and returned to for the human contact I knew I needed but didn’t know how to find.
Now all the watering holes are gone. I go to work, go nonstop all day, and drag myself home to distract and entertain myself for a few hours before finally dragging myself to bed for not enough sleep.
On weekends I nap. A lot. Which just makes that tired Monday morning all that much harder to face. If Mondays weren’t so crazy, so constantly-on-the-run busy, they’d be intolerably long. Luckily for me Mondays are days that never have enough time, the hours pass in a blur and I’m home again, on the couch, watching something on TV or playing another video game.
The thought of calling people occurs to me, all the time, but it… feels like effort. I can never think of a good reason to talk to people. It’s easier when someone is already there for some other reason, then some random thought will occur to me and I’ll bring up some obscure topic of conversation. But when I face the dialing buttons of a phone I have nothing in mind, nothing significant enough to be worth calling someone about. So I don’t.
I’ve always been like this. It’s always been easier to go with the regularly scheduled event, the common watering hole, whether it was the comic shop or the computer lab or the regular Monday night movie on an overstuffed couch. You didn’t need a reason to show up, the place was the goal unto itself. The resulting socialization came naturally.
I have no ideas, no plans of my own. I have tasks, chores, and obligations. The rest of the time is balanced between a library of distractions and the proverbial ticking clock, marking the passing hours.
I’d really like to think that finally getting the rest I need would prompt me to changing this, the constant surrender to inertia, but I fear it may be too late. I’ve been like this all my life, it would be a miracle for it to change.
And now I’m late for bed again.