As I’m navigating my fourth-ever solo SF convention and my first identifying as a published author, I’m having some second, third and millionth thoughts about being an asocial creature in a social world. No worries, they’re all good thoughts. It’s just things I think about at times like this, sitting. alone in a room full of folk having fun, feeling contented on the sidelines.
I’m not anti-social, exactly. I like human interaction–but mostly from a distance. I adore being included in plans and at functions–as a bystander, observer, or helper. I have learned in the last few years that I can suffer paralyzing anxiety unless the environment conforms to certain limitations (Having an active external task to perform helps a lot. Having an intermediate present — who stays present — to serve as a conversational buffer helps. Having a preset topic of discussion helps — especially if the topic is not me. Basically, I’m made for retail-style social transaction. Clearly defined, structured, topic-focused exchanges. Preferably In a quiet ambiance where I feel protected.
I had a freakout two weeks ago because Spouseman and I were in a restaurant I didn’t expect to be crowded, were seated at a small table on an aisle, and the server moved the table two inches. Those two inches made the difference between tolerance and heart-pounding, tunnel-vision gotta-go now. We came back after a walk around the block, and I must’ve looked pathetic on that first departure, because the staff were awesome and put us in a corner booth and it ended up being a major good time.
Approaching, initiating, going out of my way to meet people for its own sake– that’s a cliff I don’t think I’ll survive leaping off. But I can manage, with a wall at my back and a purpose for my presence. I like to hang out, watch, and listen. I can have a good time here on the edge of the dance floor.
Time: 6:30 PM
Tea: Stash English Breakfast in a tea bag
Steeped: technically still steeping in the bottom of my cup.