I just got switched to a day shift at my job and I don’t know if I am happy or not. Sure, I will be able to get more experience, improve my resume, get slightly more hours, not have to stay up all night, be able to spend a ton more time with my boyfriend, and be able to hang out with my friends more because I won’t have a completely opposite schedule than everyone else…but I won’t work alone anymore.
My mom tells a story sometimes about how when I was a kid, she used to have me make me go outside to play with the other kids because all I wanted to do was stay inside and read. I’m not saying I was some kind of intellectual, we’re talking Goosebumps and Babysitters club.
After she had forced me to go out and try to make friends, she would look out the window and see me reading a book I had smuggled out of the house. Kind of weird for a seven year old, huh? I also used to tell people I wanted to be a garbage man when I grew up. That has nothing to do with anything else on this post.
I tend to be pretty antisocial, sure I went through a period in middle school/early high school when I was all like “HANG OUT WITH ME! WE’LL DO ALL THE STUFF YOU LIKE AND I’LL ALWAYS AGREE WITH YOU WHILE WE WATCH TRL AND SING SPICE GIRL SONGS AND DO EACH OTHER’S HAIR AND WEAR MATCHING JNCO’S THAT HAVE DAISY PATCHES ON THEM! LETS BE BFFS!”
(I did have some cool friends in that mix, like D. and T…. now I am wishing that I had another friend whose name began with a D. so I could refer to them as DDT, maybe I will change Stacey’s name to D’Stacey?)
Anyway, by the time I hit college, I was pretty much done with pretending I fit in with people. The problem with that is I’m kind of a weirdo. I don’t mean like a unique, trend-setting, nonconformist hipster, I mean like I like to talk about sex and politics too much, I hate things like sports and parties, social chitchat makes me awkward and I’d still rather read than have actual conversations with people.
Now back to the shift change, I like my coworkers. They are all nice people. However, actually having to be around people all day invariably leads to social chitchat aka small talk. I’m fine at talking when it is to someone I am friends with but that is only because all my friends are super weirdoes (is that how you spell the plural version of weirdo? That is what Word corrected it to so I guess so) like me. But when it comes to people I don’t know very well, I literally don’t know how to do it. It usually goes something like this:
Casual Acquaintance: “My [name of spouse, kid, friend] and I went to [some place] and it was pretty [fun, dumb, weird etc].”
Me: “Oh. (Then I spend some time thinking of how I should respond because I have no idea why they are sharing this information with me, why they think I would be interested or what I am supposed to say in response) That sounds [fun, dumb, weird etc.]”.
Casual Acquaintance: “I’m thinking about [going somewhere, doing something, seeing someone etc.] this weekend, you have anything big planned?
Me:(frantically try and think of something more normal/ less nerdy to say than writing blog posts about politics or playing dirty word scrabble with my boyfriend) Nope, nothing planned yet.”
Or my favorite,
Casual Acquaintance: “Did you see the [base, foot, basket] ball game yesterday?”
Its like my inner me is Sarah Silverman plus Bill Maher, but my outer me is Micheal Cera minus the cool.