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It's Not You, It's Me

I'm not a people person. I try not to be around them too much. I don't like to talk to them, and if I were ever to gain a large sum of money, I'd do what Johnny Depp did and buy an island somewhere far away from the city and the people who live there. I don't know what I have against people. It's just me. The odd thing is, you'd never know this about me were we to meet. If you and I were to meet, I'd strike up a conversation with you, laugh with you, talk shop with you. I'm certain that I'd make you laugh once or twice.

I find that I'm able to deal with people for a couple of hours at a time. After we've hung out for a couple hours, though, you'd notice my demeanor change. I'd get quieter, smile less, and the lapses of silence between topics would be longer and more frequent. I'd start to get fidgety and drop hints about leaving. How, then, do I deal with the outside world? Well, it's not that bad.

At work, for instance, I work with three girls in my department from 8:30 a.m. until 5 p.m. They're friendly and make for good company. When I walk in in the morning, we exchange pleasantries, talk about what we did the night before, and make lame jokes about inane things -- the guys across the hall or what our boss is wearing that day. We settle into our work and occasionally bump into each other at the printer or fax machine.

My job doesn't require interaction, so I'm left to my thoughts in my cubicle. The hours go by, and before I know it, it's lunchtime. That's when things get different. I'm anal about how I spend my lunch break. I sit in my car, push my seat back, and lose myself in whatever story I'm reading for an hour. I don't acknowledge the people walking by my car, and they've learned not to acknowledge me. My boss could walk by my car, and I wouldn't say a word. It's my time, and I prefer to spend it alone. No polite conversation or forced camaraderie.

I don't eat lunch, so the cafeteria's out for me. I used to interact with the other employees, but learned (the hard way) to keep to myself and mind my own business. At my old job there was a lady who I'd bump into in the hallway, and we would talk. She worked in a different department, but we were on the same lunch schedule. At first, I'd sit with her and make small talk, which was pleasant, but then it happened. She walked in one afternoon looking upset, and I made the mistake of asking her what was wrong. I was not ready for the answer that followed. She launched into a graphic and disturbing story that involved her husband, their gardener, the gardener's nephew, and, believe it or not, their attorney. I throw up in my mouth when I think about it. I never ate in that cafeteria again.

All that being said, I do NOT think myself better than anyone. I don't avoid or ignore people because I think them less intelligent or fun than me. I don't know why I'm like this. It's easier for me to go through life this way. I stay out of situations where I have to explain my choices or actions. I don't have to make small talk or engage in polite conversation when I don't want to, and life seems...smoother.

To everyone I know who gets mad or upset when I decline invitations, I am sorry, and as cliché as this sounds, it's not you; it's me.


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