by Petra Pansky
Think you know someone who’s “uppity”? Maybe they’re really not.
Oh - my - GAWD!
He just said goodbye to me as the door was closing and I didn’t get a chance to acknowledge him!! Wholly crap! He must think I’m the most nasty, anti-social, cold, ill mannered, arrogant, uppity person who’s ever walked the face of the earth. The door automatically locked behind me so I can’t just open the door and call back “Good-bye!” I could at least wave to him thru the window.
Damn, it’s too late now. If I wave now he probably won’t see me anyway cause he’ll be back to his conversation with Jeff. Which is why I didn’t say anything in the first place. Most people never hear me, even when I’m right in front of them - unless they’re looking straight at me - even though it sounds to me like I’m practically yelling at the top of my lungs. What am I supposed to do? Flail my arms and use a mega phone to get their attention?! Also, Don was talking to Jeff and I didn’t want to interrupt their (important?) conversation with my insignificant “Good night, see you tomorrow”. I’m not important enough to take their attention away for no good reason.
It doesn’t matter, it’s a non issue. He knows you’re social phobic. You’re making a mountain out of a mole hill. And, yes, you are important enough to say good night to.
Yeah, sure, he knows that I’m a social phobe but he doesn’t know me that well yet. He probably doesn’t even really know what social phobic means. Much of the time I seem relatively normal so he probably expects more from me than I’m capable of. There are so many variances and nuances in different types of social phobia - not to mention in individuals - that a non SPer won’t know what you’re capable of and what you’re not, unless you explain to them all the niggley, intricate specifics. So how am I supposed to bring up the subject anyway?
“Oh by the way I didn’t mean to ignore you yesterday but my reflexes weren’t quick enough to catch the door before it closed so I could say See ya.”
“Oh? So why didn’t you wave thru the window?”
UGH! I can’t even think about it! Just shoot me now! My stomach’s in huge knots, my body is totally tensed and my face is burning red hot. I think I’m gonna puke...
Why did he wait until the door was almost closed behind me? Was he trying to send me a sarcastic message like when someone doesn’t say “Thank you” but you still snarkily say “You’re welcome”? Is there some sort of unwritten social rule that says it’s the person who’s leaving that’s supposed to say goodbye first? That it’s OK to interrupt a conversation to casually say “Good night”? Why the hell don’t I know these stupid little things?!
Damn me! The curse of being a freaking social phobic! I never learned the basic social graces that everyone else takes for granted so I bet I seem like a cretin or dimwit to others a lot of the time. I can’t go around apologetically explaining to everyone “Sorry, you’ll have to excuse me but I’m a social phobic. I’m really not an imbecile as you might think each time I open my mouth.” Don’t people understand that not everyone is as gregarious and comfortable around people as they are? (At least, not in person.) Why can’t I find a job where I only deal with paper and machines? I’m great with paper and machines. I feel calm and intelligent around paper and machines. It’s people who turn me into a total, blithering, mindless idiot!
It’s ok. Don’t worry. By tomorrow no one will even remember this minor incident.
Yeah, you’re right. Piss on ‘em if they can’t take a joke. I am what I am and if they don’t like it, tough toe nails. Other people do things that aren’t “right” also and you don’t see ME going on about it for days. If they have a problem with me they can bloody well TELL me. What do they think I am - a mind reader?!
Authors’ note: This is based on a real incident and this is how my thought process actually works. If you feel you know someone who’s “better than thou” or seems like a total dork, maybe you just need to get to know them a little better. Being the first to talk to someone makes the other person feel at ease and important. If you can help them feel relaxed they’re more apt to open up and not get as tongue-tied. Try it, you may be surprised by what you discover.