The Agony of the Introvert

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 7.236% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

A month ago, they announced that Dale Avenue would be holding a block party.  Everyone would get together to meet, eat, and greet.
I have been in anguish ever since.
Dale, it must be said, is a cordial but not particularly cohesive neighborhood.  I know the names of the neighbors on one side of me.  When there are parties at other houses, they too seem to consist entirely of non-neighbor people.  We nod as folks go by, but that’s about the end of it.
So with this block party, all I can think is: Shit. Strangers.
Gini will be out of town that weekend, so I’ll be on my own.  I’m patently, blatantly, awful at introducing myself.  The concept of being among people I don’t know fills me with guttural terror, a sort of mumbling awfulness where I know I’ll just stand there, smiling numbly at people, hoping someone says something to me, terrified to introduce myself.  Attending places alone brings me the heightened paranoia of pot, where every action I might take seems utterly foolish, crazy, the kind of thing they’ll laugh at you for weeks afterwards.
Do I have to go?  I could stay inside.  Oh, but then they’ll think of me as rude, I don’t want to be rude.  Plus, the dog, I walk the dog, they all see me, they’ll note my absence, they’ll mark me as one of Those People and hate me.  What if I just stay inside and pretend it’s not happening?  No, the damn dog!  She’ll bark.  She might as well broadcast that I’m home.  She’ll want to go for a walk during this damn thing.  I can’t just walk past them and not say anything, right?
What if I take the dog with me?  Dogs are icebreakers.  Except Shasta growls a lot and jumps on people.  She’s good, but she scares people sometimes.  If I bring the dog, then maybe she’ll nip someone in all the fury and they’ll think I’m a monster.  What if she poops outside?  They’ll think I’m some crazy dog person, the nails, oh God, they’re going to hate me.
Okay, I’ll go without the dog.  Then I’ll just stand there.  What would I say to them?  What do normal people say to each other?  They have kids, I don’t, I’ll probably be awkward.  What’s safe to say?  Do they know I have bees?  How much do these people talk with each other?  Would they have told each other about my bees?  Oh, God, what if I’m wrong and this whole neighborhood is cohesive and chats with each other daily and Gini and I are the only ones who are left out, just this pocket of sad isolation in the middle of some cheerful neighborhood, and this block party is actually a secret test to see what it takes to get us out and socializing?
What’s safe?  I’ve got these crazy nails, maybe this neighborhood’s more conservative, they might hate me, what politics could I utter, how does this work, I can’t eat the hamburgers maybe they’ll think I’m rude for that I should just stay inside.
But the dog.
The damn dog.

6 Comments

  1. Emma
    Sep 11, 2013

    This *just* happened to me last weekend. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t terribly fun either. I think block parties are mostly for people with kids, while the rest of us just stand around oh-so-awkwardly.

    • TheFerrett
      Sep 12, 2013

      That’s wonderful! I have no kid. I’ll admire things and then wander off.

  2. Hel M.
    Sep 11, 2013

    Just wear one of your awesome hats.

    • TheFerrett
      Sep 12, 2013

      I always wear an awesome hat! It doesn’t help as much, though all the peacocking definitely aids.

  3. nora
    Sep 12, 2013

    Just use the damn dog as an early exit reason. You have to walk her, cos, you know, you’re afraid she’ll poop in the house. People don’t argue with that one!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. My Inside Is Not My Outside | Ferrett Steinmetz - […] I posted about my anxiety over the upcoming block party, I got many helpful suggestions, most of which were…

All Comments Will Be Moderated. Comments From Fake Or Throwaway Accounts Will Never Be approved.