Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Vernors Soda adjusted my attitude.

It's been many months since I've come here to write.  If I'm going to wait for something huge to happen  before dipping my toe back into the blogging world, it'll be another eight months.  So I'll just dive back in.  Please bear with my rambling, if you've read my blog, you should be used to poor writing, lots of ranting and unnecessary jumping from topic to topic.  But hey, I never claimed to be a good writer.  

That actually reminds me.  I was reflecting the other day on how folks have basically accused me of misrepresenting myself online.  To that, I say, HORSE SHIT.  Ok, they didn't scream at me whilst pointing their indignant finger, just made statements insinuating that how I present myself differs from how I really am.  I still say HORSE SHIT.  I don't claim to be the life of the party, gorgeous, witty, interesting….. none of it.  I claim to love sleeping, reading, cake, pasta and working out.  That is wholly true.  What I think this comes down to is internet perception, which is really just real life perception with half of your senses useless and compromised.  Plenty of room for error with both, I'd say.  

If you've never met me and follow me on social media, I can actually see how someone would assume that I am far different from how I actually am.  But many folks have identified with this issue, and not to be an ass, but it's not my problem how accurate other's assessments of me are.   Because I really enjoy online communication, I'm sure it leads some to assume that I am an extrovert.  They could go so far as to invent my persona as the 'life of the party'.  Fun, wild, brash, loud, outspoken and without the ability to not pepper every single sentence that I utter with shocking profanity.   I suppose that in an alternate dimension I am all of those things, or maybe just to one or two people.  Also, I concede the fact  that there actually are times when I'm more outspoken or salty than I realize.  But as a whole, these folks have it wrong.  Don't get me wrong, I'm an amazing actress and can pretend to be extroverted when I need to, but it's exhausting.  I end up having to recuperate with seven hours worth of HGTV just to feel normal again.
The real truth of it is about to be revealed for all to read:

I'm pretty quiet in crowds, even amongst friends.  I sit in the corner where I can see the door and watch everyone interact with each other.   I'm fairly introverted and I finished being shockingly wild about a decade and a half ago.  When functioning in society, I am kind and quick to smile at strangers or help them in any way that I can if I'm so inclined.  'Nice' is my default modus operandi… though apparently I come across as a bit different when you isolate my words and don't interact with me personally.  Look, it doesn't mean that I'm not thinking questionable things when I see certain people or that I'm not a bitch sometimes.  I actually am aware that I'm sometimes quite unable to hide it,  but I wasn't raised in a barn.  I know how to act and I believe in being polite.  

Sometimes when I hang out with people for the first time, I can tell that they are totally deflated because I'm not what they expected.  Sorry to burst your bubble, folks… truth is I'd probably rather be sitting at home with my dogs or by myself at the gym .  I don't love sensory overloaded situations, I no longer dance on tables and I certainly don't make a spectacle of myself by being desperately attention seeking, rude to strangers for no reason or just crass for the fuck of it.  I'm just the one in the corner giving you side eye if you happen to be that person.  That you may already figure, and I'm willing to validate it.   And even as I sit and type all this indignantly, I am very guilty of making assumptions about people that can be totally unfounded, though I sure do get upset when folks do it to me.  

Example:  I was grocery shopping this morning at Kroger.  It was super boring and I was pretending that David Sedaris was with me and I was having internal dialogue with him . (I'm not crazy, I'm just convinced that we'd have soup together at least twice a month in the winter if we just got to meet.  We'd totally be friends.)  Anyway, there was an elderly couple that seemed to be taking my exact path through the store.   I navigate all familiar areas in a set pattern.  Apparently, they do it exactly the same way.   I caught their eye a few times and I instinctually smiled the first couple of times.  They wanted no part of it, they just scowled at my tattoos. I get it, fine.   Then it appeared that they started turning back to watch me more and more because it did look like I was following them up and down the aisles.  Ugh.  I had no intentions of mugging anyone in the deli, but dammit if they didn't look worried as shit.   I wanted to scream, "I VOLUNTEER IN THE MIDDLE SCHOOL MEDIA CENTER, FOR PETE'S SAKE.  I CRIED AT AN INSURANCE COMMERCIAL THIS MORNING, HOW LETHAL CAN I BE?"  Obviously, one of them would have gone into cardiac arrest if I'd have done this, so I just barreled past them and skipped an entire section.  

I was so bent out of shape that I finished shopping in an offended and angry huff.   After all, I smiled, I tried to be nice, I was minding my own business and this is what I get?  Why are people such total jerks?  UGH.    I got to the soda section and saw another senior woman blatantly staring at me all squinty eyed.  Internally, I was telling myself this was the last straw.  How rude!  I'm not going to take this shit for one more second.   I locked eyes with her and kept walking right towards her, if she wants confrontation, she's going to sure get it.  She reached out as I was passing her and touched my arm with one hand while digging her glasses out of her bag with the other. I usually cringe and become very upset when strangers touch me, but she was old.  In my book, being old gets you a pass for a whole lot.  It sort of paralyzed me, because I was stuck between fury and dealing with an eighty something year old woman.   Then she put her glasses on and said, "Your tattoos, they are so pretty!  You want to know what I love about them the most?  They are all different but the same color, so you don't have to worry about what patterns of clothing you wear and it clashing with your skin."  (I have always thought this, too.  I just couldn't believe she said it.)  After picking my jaw up off the ground, I couldn't help but regain composure and start smiling like a fool.   On the inside I felt like an asshole for getting all worked up for confrontation and being totally defensive.  

She couldn't reach her favorite soda, I got it for her.  We had a lovely discussion about the benefits and delights of ginger, watercolor paintings and Jane Austen.  Someone cut her off so I rammed into them with my own cart.  She tried to hide it, but I know she smiled.  I saw her.  It was about ten minutes of small talk and it didn't even exhaust me.   As she was leaving, she ripped open her box of favorite soda and gave me one.  "Please take this.  Drink half of it and then you can make yourself a dessert by pouring the other half over scoops of vanilla ice cream.  It's called a Boston Cooler, can you believe that?  We invent it in Michigan and Boston gets the credit.   Have a good day.  You're a good girl."

It was just a soda, but she didn't have to give it to me.  Even the biggest cynic has to be touched by the power of genuine real life connection, especially when you find it in the most unexpected places.  I'm not sorry that I still instinctually smile at folks in public, nor am I sorry that I am far more akin to a quiet and observing female than a wild bad ass… after all, I never had the market of being 'cool' cornered, so it's not likely that I'm about to start now.   But that's the beauty of being a grown up, isn't it?   You learn to accept your nature and feel comfortable in your own skin.  Just because perception is reality in the mind of another doesn't make it true in real life.   There are damn good people in this world, and I'm pretty confident that my morning grocery friend and I are a couple of them.  Besides, there's something to be said for unexpected, right?