Vienna seems to be losing her mind. It has been snowing like there is no tomorrow for the past couple of days. After having taken a day off from work since I was feeling rather under the weather this morning, I had in my head, a long list of things to do while I stayed indoors in the warmth. Now, on taking a quick recap of events, I realize I haven’t ticked off as much as one item on the list. The clothes that were to be ironed haven’t moved an inch from their spot, the laundry basket is still grinning as he has not been parted from his friends yet, the plants have not been watered, my toe nails are still sporting the bright orange lacquer, quite contrary to what I had planned for the day. But hey, this is my house and I make them rules, don’t I?
Having said all that, a quiet house with only a ticking clock to keep me company, gets me thinking and that in turn motivates me to jot them thoughts down. Before I get in to my pointless blabber, tell me something. How many of you guys flee at the thought of making small talk with people? And how many of you thrive on it? The question is being asked since I am, hands down, one from the former lot. There is nothing that makes me more awkward than just the thought of having to make small talk. Let me give you an example.
*almost every day at work*
My desk phone rings and I pick up.
Colleague X: “Hi!! How are you?”
Me: “I am all right. Why did you call?”
Colleague X: “Erm well erm okaayy… In the Statement of Claim that you sent to me… yada yada yada”
In short, X took offence, because I was apparently too abrupt and curt. I always end up talking about such tiny details to the Husband in the evening and he invariably tries to tell me how important it is to be polite and all I am expected to do is to just “say a few words nicely”. I ponder about this into the night and make a reminder in my head to ask the caller how he is doing and “be nice”, the next time he calls. The thought that I could have possibly upset the caller, does not sit well with me, because hey! I have an inherently good heart.
*Next day at work*
Me: “Helloooo!! :D”
Colleague X: “Hello, do you have a minute?”
Me:*taking a deep breath and rehearsing everything I had taught myself the night before *
“Of courseee!!! How was your weekend? How is your mother? Did you play rock paper scissors? I like to cook and I made some fancy spaghetti. Ohh and guess what, I bought new undies over the weekend. And the not so happy news is that my landlord is constipated.”
You wouldn’t under any circumstance want to know how that call proceeded. Sigh. How on earth do I explain to anyone with a reasonably sized brain in their skulls that I cannot ‘try’ to be nice without making myself look like an absolute moron?!
Let me get to the point.
I remember, as a child, how I always wanted to be the outgoing extrovert and that is precisely how I projected myself to be. I used almost every opportunity I had, to try to mould myself to be one of them. Even as an 8 year old, I had a knack to understand people and their psyches and I knew that being introverted in school meant, you wouldn’t be picked as the class prefect; you wouldn’t ever be picked to be the lead in the famed English drama; in spite of your exceptionally good language skills, next to that overtly loud, pompous dude, you still wouldn’t stand a chance to be the compère for the annual day; the quiet ones minding their own business were never given the limelight, irrespective of all the talents they meekly mustered; the gist being nobody gave three hoots about you, and I knew, right from that tender age, that was not what I wanted. I told myself that if you were good (be it in whichever field), you had to scream it out. Anything lesser than that would be promptly overlooked. Oh and hey a loud, outgoing sibling in the same school always helped the cause. Apart from that concession, noone was going to invest their time, energy or patience in figuring out if the soft spoken, meek looking characters had anything to contribute, whatsoever. I was so good at pretending to be the extroverted kid that I wouldn’t expect any of my mates from back in the day to think otherwise.
Let this not give you an idea that this mindset is confined within the four walls of high school. That was meant to serve as merely a relatable instance of what the actual social mentality is, in almost every walk of life.
It took me a great deal of self introspection and active tearing apart of the mask I wore, to comprehend that I was an introvert. And today, I am happy and content to be one. The faster I accepted the fact, the easier my days got. I couldn’t possible be more relaxed with the few friends I have in my kitty. I despise loud, flamboyant parties where the music is so loud that one cannot hear the other person speak, so, everyone is just forced to refrain from scratching beyond the epidermis of the conversation. I dread dinner parties with people I just barely know, where everyone speaks about the latest “cool” sitcom or Skrillex’s latest album or the damn weather. 😐 The sheer thought of travel plans with a huge group of people, of whom I know nothing of, beyond their faces, names and professions, makes me want to go hide under the bed and never return. *shudder*
I have always maintained that I am the old, run-down pub, that plays Simon and Garfunkel, kind of person, sipping on undiluted beer in giant mugs with the right amount of froth, with the people I hold close to my heart; where I needn’t care if the colour on my nails match my lips. I want to sit by the bonfire, on a cold night under the starry skies, with the same set of people sipping on some hot chocolate talking about the experiences in life that hurt us, changed us and almost pushed us to give up. I want to go on a trip with the people who are not repulsed by silence; where two of you could be sharing a ride home and there is no incessant pressure to keep talking; when it is okay to just look out of the window pondering about the happenings of the bygone days. I want to share a simple meal with someone who understands that there is no such thing as “awkward silence”; someone who understands that it is okay to eat your own food, enjoying the company of the person in front of you, without having to screech out every 30 seconds, that you are having a good time. I want to sit by the beach holding your hand silently, leaning against a rock in the moonlight, watching the waves wash the shore tirelessly.
Having said so much, do not at any cost, get that inkling that my idea is to make this look like a mockery of the extroverts. It is not. You may not be my cup of tea, but that will not stop me from gawking at you in awe, every cell in my body wondering as to how you do what you do with so much ease and grace. However, next time you find your inner social butterfly at yet another social gathering, remind yourselves in all that clamor and fun to look around you. You may just find the one you will connect the most with, sitting in one corner, at his/her awkward best sipping on a glass of wine, looking around sheepishly. And as they say, opposites attract and maybe, just maybe.. you will thank me for my banter later? 😛