Saturday, May 17, 2008

Social cringing

It can be something that happened five years ago or five hours ago but it makes my stomach knot and my hands start to shake, these things that make me cringe.

Largely, they're self-induced. You know, thinking you're the epitome of "witty" but, in fact, you're "not funny in the slightest." Or when you really didn't mean for that thought to become public knowledge?

This plagues me. These little verbal burps happen at least once a day but probably more. And what about the ones that I don't even realize happened?

First of all, there's the blushing. It's a side effect of knowing (or being fearful of) digging a hole and then renting a backhoe and digging a enormous hole. Then, as I continue to try to dig my way out, the hole has gophers and worms and other hole-y creatures move in and live their entire lives in the Sinkhole of My Embarrassment.

Anyway, my face becomes the color of the American flag minus the white and blue. I can actually feel my temperature rising by five degrees.

Then the fidgeting will start. Nothing is safe from my fingers. Zippers on my pants or shirt (except for my fly - even at my most fidgetiest I know that's one zipper to steer clear of), anything that peeps, knocks, bangs, snaps or otherwise makes noise is fair game. If, in the rare occasion that I catch myself mid-fidget, a second will pass and then my feet will begin to bounce. Or tap or move side-to-side in a 1920s sort of dance motion.

Why, oh why can't I just talk to someone without my stomach flopping around like a dying trout? Why can't I say what I mean instead of the Idiot Police come and take over my brain? Why are some people's conversations coquettish and flirty while mine sound like I should be on American Gladiators?

Then - THEN I relive these fine moments over and over and over again trying to judge, rejudge and rethink the victim of my verbal onslaught's reaction(s). Cringe.

Have I really lived my life as my own dog for so long that the longer I live the more socially inept I become? I work overnight with the same six people, whom I think know me pretty well and they still can't believe the things that spew forth.

Maybe that's the problem. I work overnight, I don't socialize. Everytime I try to socialize, no one wants to play with me. I'm like the weird kid who eats the sand in the sandbox. Or the one that the other kids' mothers forced a birthday party invitation on. Then I would show up with a fresh pack of underwear as a present.

I want to be the one whose invitations get accepted. Who gets told "yes" at the merest hint that I want to hang out. No embarrassment and no long-term effects.

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