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My Social Fine Print

I really do like people. I do.

I just like them on my terms. Which are pretty specific. Lots of fine print. Restrictive schedules. Penalties for forced small talk.

The terms generally limit me to one social activity per week.

I was in no way prepared for the level of social I had to manage yesterday. For eleven solid hours.

Eleven. Hours.

And because Fall Risk got me all strung out on the Xyzal. I only slept maybe an hour the night before.

An 11:1 social to sleep ratio does not bode well for me.

I was already pissy from driving into work with all of the 8am idiots. (Seriously, 8am is the designated idiot commute time. Best to schedule around that.)

And then my very routine-oriented brain had to adjust to sitting in a new area of the office. And y’all. The few people who have been coming into the office regularly already are hella territorial.

Like, relax. I’m not moving into your actual home. I just need to use this desk way over here away from all of you for the day. I promise not to trash up the place and take my shit home with me when I leave.

But then. Out of nowhere. A swarm of humans swooped in and took over every single desk around me. Like a human hive.

Just talking. And buzzing. Around me. But not a damn one of them talking to me.

Which. I mean, I don’t want to talk to people. Generally. But I also don’t want to be excluded. It’s a blurry line. I’m sure the fine print explains it.

So, I’m sitting there trying not to meltdown. In a chair that, I swear, kept slowly sinking down to the floor. Repeatedly. So that every 30 minutes or so, I was chin level with the desk. And had to find the lever thingy to raise it back up. Just all day long.

Started messaging Rogue and Fall Risk. To be reminded that I do have friends that probably actually like me. Wishing my boss would get there. Like a child wanting their mommy.

But when she did, she had to sit on the whole other side of the office. Because the human hive.

And they had taken over every corner of the office. Including the lunchroom. So obviously I couldn’t go eat my lunch.

Which is why. Somewhere around 2pm. I had a full on virtual meltdown over messenger with Rogue and Fall Risk. I was in high school again hiding in the bathroom because no one would let me sit at their table. (Incidentally, this never happened to me in high school. This anxiety absolutely comes from other places. Probably detailed in the fine print.)

Rogue put her counselor voice on and tried to talk me through it. But that just brought me to near-tears. And I couldn’t cry in front of my new co-workers. So I just put my head down. Got my shit together. Focused on my work and zoned the human hive out.

Because our holiday party was also scheduled for that afternoon. Which was obviously what I needed. More forced social time with people I don’t know.

But I went. And had some food. Finally. And a beer. Just sat down at a table all alone with my food and beer. Which is about the time Tina Fey texted. And so I child-whined to her for a bit. Until my momma-boss came over to sit with me.

But once we were done eating, she said, in her momma-boss tone, “I’m gonna go mingle now. You should, too…”

SIGH

Fine.

So I found a woman I kind of know and joined her conversation. By which I mean I just walked over and awkwardly said words at her and the woman she was chatting with. And they let me stay.

Thirty minutes I stood there awkwardly saying words. Until I finally got to leave.

Because…I had another professional holiday party to go to. At Big Lick.

Seriously.

And for some reason my unrested, underfed brain thought I should walk across town to this party.

Because I’m known for my navigational skills.

So, I managed to turn a .5 mile walk into 1.2 miles. And rolled into the back room of Big Lick. Suffering a massive heat stroke. Started stripping off clothes. Until PMP Master opened a door to let some cold air in. As if to say, “Please stop stripping, Sunshine.”

Had some more food. And beer.

And then we played a game.

Which is when…I’m just…I’m a competitive person.

And I’d had some beer.

It’s possible I spent a solid hour heckling the other professionals. Obnoxiously. Because that’s how I social.

Almost fought a woman over a giant coffee mug prize. But since it was 8pm and, thus, perilously close to my bedtime, I opted to just pick up a nice trinket that I thought Rogue might like.

And then I left. To wander my way back to the other side of Roanoke. To my car. And then to the solitude of my home.

Just had a solid day of just impressive the hell out of every professional person I encountered.

So, now I can’t social. Or leave my home again. Until 2023.

I don’t make the rules. I just live by whatever’s in the fine print.

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Just reading and writing and running and looking for my happy place.

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