During the past several days, my budding social life (such as it is) blossomed into a garden. Dinner on Wednesday, followed by wine and hors d’oeuvres on Thursday, followed by two delightful hours with a good friend on Friday, culminating with another dinner on Saturday. In between times and after, I had lunch with a new acquaintance and coffee and games of Words with Friends and Mexican Train with my sister-in-law, and a sprinkling of other social interactions. While I should perhaps consider the whirlwind of activity the equivalent of dancing in a field of fresh clover, even the most enjoyable elements began to collectively feel a bit like kudzu vines attempting to strangle me. Each of the experiences were enjoyable, but rare and pleasant experiences are meant to provide the punctuation, not the full-diagrammed sentence structure of a paragraph. Or a novel. So, this evening has been a nice respite. I finished the series, Hinterland, before 8:00 p.m. so I could take a break and write/journal a bit. Whether these words find their way onto my blog remains to be seen. They may, instead, join thousands of others I keep locked away for my own eyes, though my private collection is shrinking in comparative size. Lately, I’ve tended to share damn near everything except for the most intimate things that would embarrass me or embarrass the people on my mind or subject me to potential arrest and imprisonment.
I don’t recall who, but someone, told me within the last few days that I am gregarious. I think it may have been the neighbor who does not know me well (though, in all fairness, most neighbors don’t). Whoever it was doesn’t recognize artificial extroversion practiced by deeply introverted people. I learned the practice during my first actual “executive” job (the one that first introduced me to dictating equipment and provided me with secretarial support). Unless I aggressively injected myself into conversations and, especially, discussions at meetings, I would have failed at my job. I had an aversion to failure, so I cringed and jumped in, learning from my actually gregarious boss. It was an incredibly stressful situation, but I was able to go home after work and decompress in solitude with my equally (or more) introverted wife. Since then, I’ve been able to withdraw into much greater comfort; I can simply observe and jump in only when I think I have something to say that matters. Which is, as I think I’ve said recently, rare. I do not miss most aspects of association management, the career I fell into entirely by accident. If I had it to do over again, I think I would attempt to escape into something that had a greater likelihood of making a positive difference in the world. Like trash collection or urban planning or rural water supply systems or cartography or auto oil change. Or almost anything else.
Now that the available seasons of Hinterland are behind me, I have a thousand other options. But my list of “must see” is too large, so I avoid looking at it; too many options can paralyze me. That’s when I think seriously about stained glass and sword-swallowing and jumping out of moving automobiles. Not really. I never seriously consider sword-swallowing. But thinking about professions, I remember this adaptation of a silly meme from Facebook:
The photos were taken during my efforts to grow my hair. I succeeded, by the way. These photos were during the shorter period, before my hair grew down past the middle of my back; before I was able to have it pulled back into a pony tail and before, at the every end, my wife agreed to have my sister-in-law do a French braid. Those were the days when my hair regularly blew into my mouth, causing me to develop an intense dislike of long hair on my head.
I’m writing Sunday night because I think I’ll feel a bit lazy tomorrow morning and will want to kick back and relax with my coffee, rather than write. I’ll shave, take a leisurely shower, and then dress when I feel like it; as long as I can get downtown before 10:00 for an appointment with my oncologist. After that, I’ll go pick up the check in payment for buying the old Camry and then come home and relax some more. Maybe I’ll be able to convince myself to go through a mass of papers that I desperately need to sort and file and otherwise act on. Maybe by then I will have received a reply to an email I sent to a friend this evening, making inquiry about life in general. We’ll see. We will, indeed.