Saturday, 27 February 2010

Life and Social Awkwardness

Just Life:

Clare's chair is finished and has been viewed and approved by Tom, her husband and best friend for fifty years.

I want to start a new project ... maybe something for Jesse's baby? ... maybe the chair for the Well? ... maybe another plant table to put in the shop?  The shop, by the way, is closed more often than it is open.  I think it may expire.  But maybe it is just the winter doldrums.  It would help if they shoveled the steps and either took down the OPEN sign or unlocked the door.

Maybe I should start a new knitting project.  I just found something on-line called a love cocoon ... a soft little bag for a newborn ... or maybe a balaclava for Lucas whose hat slips down over his eyes when he is sledding with us? ... or maybe something new for Chelsea Katherine?

Peach is our resident visiting dog these days ... and she and Kenya have established a truce if not a friendship, so life is simpler now.

The power was out for 12 hours yesterday and I cooked on the wood stove and finished reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. It reminded me of 84 Charing Cross Road, another novel written as a series of letters.  I am thinking of recommending a trio of books for a book club evening: those two and No, I Don't Want to Join a Book Club by Virginia Ironsides ... all three are about reading and life, but more about life.  All three are British.  The third is wickedly funny, and is written as a series of diary entries rather than an exchange of letters.

On People:

I have met two people recently whom I have almost disliked, almost on sight.  This doesn't happen often to me; I wonder if other people have this kind of almost instant negative reaction to people.

One is a young woman who oversteps boundaries ... becomes far too intimate given our relationship ... (she works with my dentist) ...  She laughs too loudly and seems insincere as well. Perhaps a single example will show what I mean.  The first time I met her and had a tooth filled, the dentist was trying to ascertain whether there were rough edges and asked me to run my tongue over the surface and tell her.  I said I wasn't sure, and this young woman said, "Well you have to tell us; I'm not going to get my tongue in there and do it for you."

The other is a man who seems to be wearing a sign saying "kick me".  He is like one of those Dickensian characters with names like Calvin Cringe or Geoffrey Grovel.  Before he even spoke to me, I felt disdain, and, as soon as he opened his mouth, my feelings were validated.  Probably years and years of being disliked on sight had made him into a man who behaves as if he expects to be hit; a fearful, overly apologetic man ... a little like one of those  pathetically submissive dogs who incite other dogs to bully them.

They would make great characters in a piece of fiction ... one larger than life ... the other smaller ... one at either end of the spectrum of timidity and brashness.

It's not that I have no sympathy for socially awkward people. I am one myself.  I do not do cocktail parties or art show openings well at all.  I feel wooden ... as if I have overstayed my welcome or have left a conversation too abruptly and rudely.  I used to hate parties on the lake ... the ones that occurred outdoors two or three times a year.  I did not play horseshoes or feel competent engaging in competitive sports, and I always felt inferior to all the women who seemed so comfortable making polite small talk and brownies which they passed around.  I would find a spot for my chair on the outskirts and become glued to it for the duration.  Thank goodness the lake community no longer feels like a group of mismatched strangers who just happen to live in close proximity to one another, and feel obliged to eat hot dogs together on special occasions.

I was reminded of my own social ineptitude yesterday when I went to toast the first anniversary of the SNIP group (a spay-neuter-(barter)-initiative programme to prevent unwanted litters of kittens).  Too few familiar faces, too much waiting around till it was time to break open the champagne -- it was cocktail party time all over again ... and I felt very uncomfortable.  I was glad to scuttle home to my hermitage and the dogs.


Barbara Carlson said...

Yes! Re instant dislikes. They are usually too-loud, dumb women whose eyebrows are drawn on in a sharp arc making them look angry (these women invariably have very short fuses.)

Or weak men whose demeanor says "Don't hit me." I'm not surprised to learn dogs bully dogs like this. But my dislike for these men is usually a clucking kind of Grow-A-Pair irritation -- whereas the women I actively avoid and cannot even stand to look at.

But I have also had several extraordinary instant LIKEs. Based on nothing but an aura around them which usually bears out their wonderfulness. And this before they speak a word.

One of these was married to a cold bitch. Go figure. Guess if he hadn't had her to keep him grounded, he would have floated away on his pure, sparkling, twinkly-eyed good will.

But he thankfully divorced her and is with a good mate now.

And thanks for the good book titles!
I loved Charing Cross. Have you seen the film?

Oma said...

Your comments are as irrepressible as you are ... (a clucking kind of Grow-a-Pair irritation indeed!) I love them ... and no I didn't know Charing Cross had been made into a movie ... I will search it out.