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Social Ineptitude

I had one of those very strange moments. I bumped into an old friend and mentor this evening. I was overjoyed to see him and his wife. However, as an influx of blocked memories overwhelmed me and my mind reeled with conflicting thoughts on how to summarize my past 15 year while networking (he works where I would like to) and re-establishing a friendship, and all I could do is babble incoherently. You know. Your tongue swells up and your IQ drops 80 points. I parted company with my friends but decided not to let go of the awkwardness as I spoke nonsense to the cashier danced with other patrons as we tried to negotiate right of way, bumped into people entering the store as I tried to exit and froggered across the parking lot to my car where I realized I had forgotten to finishing my shopping.

As an extrovert who likes to entertain I think I have social skills down pretty well. I have always been an adult, although my permanent age is probably 24 or 18, and as such throughout my life I have found myself in social situations trying to keep the perfect rhythm of conversation, that balance of who leads who gets to be the subject of conversation and assuring that everyone gets a moment of self-importance. Often I review a conversation in my head thinking of the blunders and missed opportunities or lost points. Conversation is an art and it must be practiced. Locked away in my basement and having less and less adult contact, I feel my conversational skills slipping away. More and more I leave a conversation with almost a teenage awkwardness wondering why my head feels so fuzzy. Blast that brain cloud!

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