'Are you okay? You don't seem yourself. Are you tired?'.
The concern is nice. It’s nice that people care. It’s an odd reminder however that there are those, who don’t know you well, who are accustomed to seeing you a little the louder for a glass of wine. I can be quick to smile and my laugh is loud to the point that even I find it annoying but I can also be intense and over-serious. Over serious is not good for casual social events and often that is where the wine comes in. Not now of course. Now I have to find my inner socialite and she can be awfully good at playing kind and seek. She’s also a little intimidated by my inner moralist and my inner activist even when I’ve told both of those ladies to take a hike because now is not the time.
When I was a drinker, I would worry that I talked too much and bored people. Now I worry I don’t talk enough and that I bore people. I’m painfully aware of how much I don’t have in common with most of the people I meet. I like the sound of rain and the crackle of a campfire. I sleep better under canvas. I read, a lot. I like syfy. I don’t watch soaps. I don’t accept casual racism. I don’t like junk food. I can be righteous and I don’t hate myself enough to be prepared to change any of that to fit with anyone. But I still sit there, feeling like the odd one out and wondering if everyone would be having more fun if I wasn’t there.
When I was a youngster, I don’t think I cared. I took the idea of being disliked to a degree for granted and expected the world to fit with me. Age has made me fear that my views were a little self-centred, as much as I’m convinced that my younger self was far happier as a result of her blinkered attitudes. I’ve changed. I think. Of course it could be that, as a student (I spent far too many years studying), it was just easier to find those who were like minded and so socialising didn’t feel like such a battle to find a way to connect. Maybe I am a blue tit trying to fit in with sparrows?
Answers on a postcard. 309 days to go.