My parents moved into a newish neighborhood in a better school district a few months before I was born. The neighbors had kids that were my sisters’ and brother’s ages – but there was no one on my street (or anywhere very close) that was my age. Wait, I lied. Bobo was my age (and he was neither a monkey nor a clown) – but that’s a whole other topic. I’ve mentioned a few times that I didn’t get along with my sisters or my brother very often or for very long. It was every kid for themselves.
I spent most of my time alone and I grew accustomed to it and began to prefer it that way. In lots of ways, I simply wasn’t very good at being social – I lacked both the skill and the patience to learn. Books were my lifeline and I began to write a lot. I built a whole fantasy world and learned to live in my head.
So now, forty-one years later, as an adult, I just don’t have time for a lot of bullshit. I’m still alone more often than I am with other people – and I still prefer it. I will probably be alone the rest of my life – and that’s okay, too. One sister thinks I’m an immature attention-whore; I have no desire to hang out with my brother; I’m not sure what my older sister thinks about me, if anything. My circle of friends is very small – but I do have one. Honest. Still, we don’t hang out a lot. Does that mean something – or nothing? I keep to myself and even when I’m with other people, I keep to myself. Yet a lot of people seem to think they have me figured out.
I have a very small blogroll of blogs that I actually read. I’m not in any of the little cliques around the blogosphere – I think they are rather silly. There are more blogs in my bookmarks, but I don’t use a feed reader because I don’t feel the need to be alerted when someone somewhere out there writes something and posts it on the Internet. I don’t need to stand around with a cocktail glass every time someone opens a vein in public. Too harsh? Probably. Do I care? Not so much.
Kendra told me once that she could tell by the way I wrote about Cartman that I actually liked her. No I didn’t. Actually, Kendra thought she knew a lot about me – and she was wrong about most of it. And I wonder how someone I thought knew me, someone I thought listened to me, could be so wrong. It makes me wonder if I’m lying to myself – if maybe she was right after all. When I lay it out there, no one even sees it. When I say nothing, people assume they know what I’m thinking. It’s frustrating. And it makes me want to shut the world out again.
The thing is, I crave silence – I actually need it. A few days ago, the woman whose identity I will one day steal, walked into the lunchroom and began making calls. She called her husband but she ended the call by saying she had to finish her lunch. Instead, she immediately called her daughter-in-law (still eating, chewing, and talking simultaneously), but the d-i-l couldn’t talk. So she made another call, but that person didn’t pick up, so she left a message. Then she started talking to me. I had my nose in a book and I didn’t even realize she was talking to me at first. When I finally looked up, she repeated everything she had just said.
“I called Michelle. I had to leave her a message.”
“You know Michelle. She used to work here.”
“Michelle X. She moved to Austin with her husband a few years ago. I had to call to make sure she’s okay. Because of the hurricane.”
I went back to my book. It was probably rude of me, but I didn’t understand why she had to interrupt me to tell me she had to call someone I barely remember, about something that I don’t care about. MoC says I’m not rude, it’s just that I don’t want to be bothered. But isn’t that kind of the same thing?
If small talk was important, would they call it small talk?