So, anyone who has met me will notice that I have a bit of a strange habit. I almost never invite people out to do stuff. The closest I come to it is letting people know I am doing something, and then saying they are welcome to participate. Hell, on the odd occasions that I am in a relationship, I basically do the same thing with the lady.
It’s because I’m horrible (hat tip to my brother for this endlessly useful phrase).
I kid. It isn’t because I am horrible. I am horrible, but that’s not the root cause of this behaviour. It’s because I like going out. I discovered fairly early in my independent life that I really like going out. Coffee, shisha, bars, restaurants. Whatever. I like the stimulation of being out in public. I get to see and hear and smell and taste stuff. Endless variation and novelty. But you know what kills that joy? Compromise. Some day I will write a post about how I am basically an anti-compromise extremist (this administration will not negotiate with terrorists!), but my point is that I want to go out. What I do not want is to spool up a NATO Joint Operational Planning Group to develop 28-member state consensus to determine when and where I will get to enjoy human civilization and under what circumstances I must tolerate people I don’t like.
So I go out. The plan is mine. The destination is mine. The timing, the location, the goals. All mine. I want sushi? Sushi. Don’t care that the California maki contains dolphins. Those rapey bastards are probably delicious anyway. I don’t have to sit at a table for six and apologize for the third time to the waiter trying to keep the manager happy, because someone’s significant other is a Pashtun Tribal, and really only sees time as a measure of daylight. And because I am Canadian, I have to live with the cultural norm that I cannot (or at the very least should not) notify someone that doing their makeup cannot possibly justify being 3 hours late to a picnic in the park, unless that park is the Rose Garden at the White House, in which case their basic ass would embarrass me with their silly stick on nails in any case.
Regardless, I go out alone a lot. Which gets me stared at a fair bit, yes. It also means that my “day game”, as the wags put it, is non-existent. Seriously, nothing comes off as more desperate than being alone on a Friday afternoon and trying to charm a group of ladies. So I get to read a lot. I watch people. I get to practice silence. It’s pretty nice sometimes, too. Serving staff tend to be attentive. Once I get over the irritation of the skeptical toned questions, I also make new friends.
But there are downsides too. For example, I frequently forget how to behave in a group. People join me, and I sort of blank on how to keep the conversation going. Or I forget that it is a bit rude to abruptly pay your bill and wander away. Solitude can be habit-forming, and those habits tend to reinforce solitude. I have to exert conscious effort to make sure that I am wearing reasonably presentable clothes. Aside, I have apparently been failing at that lately. A friend told me I have two outfits- jeans and a specific blue hoodie, or khakis and a checked shirt. I forget for months at a time to get haircuts. I don’t notice that a cut from my evening shave is bleeding and I now look like an extra from the dance fight in West Side Story. Or I don’t shave at all, and people try to give me money for bus fare.
In the end, I am not suddenly going to become a man fixated on social circle. My job gives me an odd schedule, and my personality makes me abrasive. I suspect healthy balance is something to be aspired to, but I don’t do healthy or balanced.
Table for one, please.