The weekend was wonderful, but I bumped up against my absolute limit for social interaction several times, in rooms full of extremely rowdy boys wrestling and shouting and knocking things over, and people running and dropping things and moving things and someone always being next to me, talking about something, asking a question, requiring focus and attention and interaction. The older I get, the more I realize that I have a problem with focus and attention, which makes interaction, you know, slightly difficult.
With a great deal of effort, I can drag my mind front and center and focus my eyes and be a reasonable human being with a normal attention span, who takes a great deal of pleasure in the people around her, and delights in the big and beautiful great human carnival we call life, et cetera, et cetera. But it wipes me out. Sometimes I have more stamina than other times, but however long it takes, my battery ends up drained and if I do not retreat and stare off into space for awhile, my head is going to explode and no one wants to clean up that mess, believe me.
It’s disappointing, when it happens. I don’t want to be that person–a
delicate flower, a sensitive artist who just cannot handle the
terrible cacophony of every day life, because it grates on my
sensitive, artistic tissue paper soul. I want to be hardy and loud and
social and happy around people, to radiate energy and life like a tiny
little social sun. Instead, I spent a lot of time in the back room of
the house while the boys shouted, and ended up missing spending time
with Xtine, a friend of E’s from work who I adore and never get to see.
I hid and hoped no one noticed that my nerves were spangly and my eyes
were spinning and if I had to smile and be friendly for one more
second, I would jitter all the way apart.
On Monday, I planned on staying home all day and not talking to a
single solitary human being. But E stayed home sick, so I went over to
hang out with him, and his brother was home and it was his birthday and
his friends all came over and then more people came over and they swept
me out the door and up through the canyon with them for lunch. And that
maybe sounds like I didn’t want to go, which isn’t true, because I love
A, and I was happy to celebrate his birthday, and his crew of boys are
good kids and they make me laugh until I snort and I don’t want to be
this way, this easily overwhelmed. They were talking loud and playing
the harmonica and shuffling plates and knocking over glasses and I had
to get up and escape into the bathroom and sit on the lid of the toilet
for a while, wondering what the hell was wrong with me.
The worst is when you can’t get away, and you can’t recharge, and you
can feel yourself winding down, getting silent, your face falling, your
energy draining away and you become a big, tragic, energy-sucking black
hole sitting at the head of the table and your smiles look fake and
your conversation is uninspired and you sit there knowing how very much
you suck, and how little there is you can do about it.
Either way, someone always notices. What’s wrong with you? Are you
okay? What are you doing? Are you mad at me? Are you mad at something?
What’s going on? Why do you look so upset? Or, why are you in here,
why do you need to nap, tell me what’s going on? Nothing, nothing, it’s
me, it’s nothing, I’m broken and I’m really sorry, this just happens,
sometimes. It’s the way I am. I do not like it either I’m sorry! I’m
The boys stuck around for awhile, and the house was busy and loud, and
then it was time to leave for the movie and after the movie, dinner
with 15 people, and I welcomed the chance to sit between E and
Steve and zone out while they talked about solid state drives and
information architecture and I think everyone was happy and had a good
time and ate pancakes and A had a very good birthday, but I was mostly
glad when E pushed back from the table and held out his hand and took