There are two types of people in this world; those that enter a party grab a drink and fist bump or hug everyone and then there is me. Or you. We sit at the corner holding on tightly to our paper cups with water or Sprite in it, using it as disguise from the rest of the world. We are the creepy neighbours who move into a neighbourhood and say nothing for seven years. The closest interaction we have is when we run outside in our three piece pyjamas to watch house 129 put out their fire. At the crack of dawn the fire fighters are done, we slowly crawl back to our houses to sip on the stale coffee we made yesterday. Deep down we feel really bad for house number 129 and we wish we could do more we just can’t.
Our best times are spent in solitude. Seriously when everyone else is coming up with a weekend plan, we already have ours figured out. There is always a friend who lays out her plan like it is a brainstorming session. She explains how she will move from one point to another, what mode of transport, what is likely to happen to her in an uber ride and why she needs a streetwise from KFC because the anticipated hangover is going to be, totally bad!
‘What’s your plan?’
Oh me. She’s talking to me. Right? I look back, there is no one behind. It must be me.
‘You know some stuff,’ I mutter to wan her off.
‘That was you said the last time.’ She says with a pitiful face that reminds me of my quirkiness.
I redeem myself, ‘The new season of Lucifer is out. I need to catch up on The Fall too and I hear Aftermath is really cool.’
In a split of second it all comes crushing down. The devil settling in LA, a serial killer fronting as a teacher and husband, monsters eating people after the rapture do not make up for a sane person. Oh No!
My friend walks away. Again.
Truth be told, I want to get the BOGOF deal at Coldstone and just tuck into my three blankets and binge watch the shows. That is a good weekend to me. Nobody or nothing out of place. Just me, my TV loonies and calories. That has previously worked for me before. No one got hurt. Mainly because they are not that many and even those who care are resigned to the fact that I will always be an introverted, quirky writer. Nothing new there.
It has worked, till now. My world seems to shift. I actually seem to enjoy human companionship. Conversations with other people other than the fictional characters in my head actually leave me feeling lighter than usual. This is not bad at all. The need to have the human touch is more fulfilling than my shows. It is scary but warm.
See if you suffer from social anxiety you know exactly what I am saying. After years and years of trying to wish humanity away, I am now embracing them. The other day I took a walk with a friend and we indulged in some hot, freshly made caramel popcorn. We talked about everything as I tried to break ten popcorn glued together with caramel. Just 30 mins. We set goals for her and I was her accountability partner which reminds me, I need to follow up on her menu. She is starting a food business. Now I look forward to more walks like that. I am not yet good with more than one person but I will slowly get there.
Tonight I have been invited for tea at my neighhour’s house, she promises not to bite. As I walk in my pyjamas and a robe, I am pray that she does not harvest my organs. Or worse, I hope I don’t pee on her brown rug. Then she will really sell my kidney to the highest bidder. My neighbour, also my colleague, is loud. She speaks her mind in the highest octave achievable. She is sanguine. I am a choleric- Melancholic. If I am not trying to control the world, I am crying in the bathroom. She is a ball of sunshine and I am a hoard of awkward silence.
Today I have decided to face my fears and walk into a stranger’s house and take coffee from her mug that aptly inscribed, ‘enjoy the sun today’. We chat about everything from boys, food, our budding careers to our annoying boss. Her immediate neighbour soon joins and before we know it, we are bursting out in laughter without a care in the world. Even I am tearing up with every joke. After two hours we agree it is time to retire to bed. Though scared I go to bed smiling. This feels good. May be the next time I will host a Koroga in my small apartment and invite the two clowns I have for neighbours. And I will not pee or die from fear. I will laugh out loud and later sleep happy.
Go on, confirm that date, return that phone call, make that call and just go out and experience the world. One interaction at a time. My world didn’t crush when I did. Yours won’t, I promise.