I have zero social skills right now. Between the holiday bullshit, my own bullshit, and my general discontent (or is it malcontent?), I can’t seem to have a normal social interaction with a stranger or anyone who I don’t feel completely comfortable with. So when I had all sorts of plans on the agenda yesterday, I should have known – not smart.
The day started out rough. I had a little too much vodka the night before and was a tinge hung over. But because I had made plans with my friend MJ to learn how to use wordpress in order to beautify my blog, I couldn’t just stay in the bed. I learned a lot about wordpress, but then I slid off the rails.
MJ asked me a pretty innocuous question like “How are you doing?” and, because I’m as fragile as a glass figurine these days, I briefly mistook MJ’s cute studio for a therapist’s office. Three hours and four tissues later, MJ was like “So should I show you how to customize your header?”
I apologized for the antics and figured that maybe, because I took several hours to get out some of my woes on poor, unsuspecting MJ, this would help me interact with strangers later. You know, without being rude or tearing up.
Yeah, turns out not so.
Before the party, I went to see my friend SW who was watching a football game with friends. I was completely rude. I was there to meet her friends. You know, to talk to them, get to know them, etc. But I barely talked to anyone other than SW. And SW’s friends, who were all perfectly nice, tried to engage me. But I struggled with the small talk. Then I left without paying for my drink. Stellar first impression there. SW may never invite me out with her friends again.
But it didn’t end there.
HC and I went to the holiday party with some of his friends. The party was in a really nice apartment with delicious food and drinks. I tried – truly, I tried – to muster up some holiday cheer. Or at the very least tried to hide my contempt for holiday cheer. It was okay. Until…
Mistake One: I talked to a stranger. Don’t know how this happened. I think HC went off to talk to someone about melting ice caps or something. The stranger asked me a very common DC question – What do you do?
Mistake Two: I answered honestly. I don’t know what the hell my problem is but I said that I was currently unemployed but looking for work. The stranger responded, “Not a great time to be unemployed.”
Mistake Three: I took the bait.
First, how the fuck can you possibly think that telling an unemployed person that, hey, not sure if you’ve been under a rock or in a coma for the past 3 months, but we are headed for the Great Depression Part Deux. And, oh, not sure if you caught it, but massive layoffs and job cuts are sweeping the nation and the world, unemployment is at record highs around the country, and the housing and financial markets continue to suffer. With no end in sight.
Yeah, I got it.
Because I have been spending time exclusively with people who I can be utterly myself with (thank G-d for these people), I have no ability to “play nice” in this type of situation. I turned to the stranger and said in the nicest way possible (read: seething and through grit teeth while trying not to swing at this sprite), “Well, I’m pretty sure any time you’re unemployed is a bad time to be unemployed.”
That’s it. I’m out. No more dealing with strangers for a while. At least, not until 2009. And, if absolutely forced to deal with strangers before then, I may just have to medicate.