8/24/2018 – Today marks a major milestone in my life as a hermit; I’ve managed to survive 3 solid months without setting foot inside a store/restaurant. Between ordering all my dry/canned goods through Amazon (I abuse my Prime membership) and using only drive-thru windows for my fast food addiction, I’ve avoided having to stand in front of another human and speak/interact with them. Now, this hasn’t been a completely anti-social affair, not at all. I’d like to think those drive-thru workers love me, since I speak so calm and clearly. I know my local Pizza Hut is a huge fan of my ordering prowess. I always call fully prepared with my order, and I order often enough for most of their staff to recognize my voice. The delivery drivers enjoy my habit of majorly over-tipping (I worked in enough restaurants to feel guilty if I don’t leave an amazing tip) and they tell me I am the nicest customer they have. I’d like to believe they are telling the truth, because I put a ton of effort into sounding nice when ordering food. I know I’m just a stranger to these people, but I like to have a big smile, and say please and thank you, and try to get them to smile back. I feel like I can do this from the comfort of my car, and I know I can do this over the phone, and I somehow manage for the minute or two of interaction with my delivery driver. However, I cannot handle any more face to face interaction then that, so things like banter with the wait staff, or shooting the breeze with a cashier, are neigh impossible tasks.
All jokes aside, I want to make a greater effort to interact with people. I’m moving into my apartment tomorrow, and I should see it as a fresh start, a chance to be more outgoing, like I was back in college. It’s crazy to think just 5 years ago I was doing Improv shows and acting in plays, being on a big stage and acting like a fool in front of hundreds of people. Of course, it always felt easy doing those things because I was playing a part, living through a character I was portraying. I was always a shy, awkward human, I was just good at acting like I wasn’t. Maybe that’s what I need to do now, just find the character I want to be, study up on my lines and stage directions, and put on a show. It might not be me to begin with, but after some time, who knows? Maybe that’s how all confident people get by, just acting the part until the act becomes more than an act. It’s at least a starting point, which gives me something versus the nothing I’m currently working with.
I guess the only thing left to do is decide on what sort of character I want to play. Sauvé and sexy isn’t something I can pull off, no matter how much practice I put into rehearsal. I’m already seen as the nerdy one everywhere I go, so maybe I should play off that image? I could work on becoming the “cool nerd”, putting my encyclopedic knowledge of sports, pop music, and TV/Film to good use, while dialing back my expository habits when it comes to Anime, comics and Microsoft Excel. I can start to chime in during my co-workers talks about the upcoming NFL season, seeing as how I spend hours every night pouring over every bit of news from preseason games and training camps. I could offer my opinions on how the MLB playoffs will shake out, since I love baseball and have an intimate knowledge of every AL team (and also the Braves). I can sing along with any song played on any radio station, be it rap, rock, metal, pop or hip hop. Nobody knows my music tastes span all genres, most likely due to my insistence on listening to sad, depressing, beautiful tunes while working (Julien Baker, I love you so much).
The point is, I have a solid base to work with. I have interests that match up with people I see every day, I just have to learn how to join in the conversation. That’s been my problem for the past 5 years, so I’m sure I must be close to a real breakthrough.
Well, either a breakthrough, or another mental breakdown. I’ll just have to roll the dice and hope for the best.