Last week, I ran into someone I don’t see much. This came at goth night, so it was pretty much the usual when he said to me, “so, how are you?”
Unfortunately, his timing kind of sucked. I was standing by the door at goth night, so a truthful answer would have been “I’m standing here waiting for 10 different awkward situations to walk through the door.” An even more truthful answer would have been “…and one of those awkward situations is happening right now.”
The last couple of months at goth night has been like some kind of twisted game show where you see whether the predicted awkward situations outnumber the brand new awkward situations. We’ve all been there: we’re dancing, mingling and more or less having a good time, but we’re also watching the door. If an awkward situation walks through the door, I at least don’t want to let it get the drop on me at the bar. You know how that is: you go to get some water, someone taps your shoulder from behind, you turn around and the little voice in your head goes “BUH!!!”
This would explain why, when this person asked how I’m doing, I opened my eyes kind of wide, said “good…” and made the same face that my sister made that time someone hit on her at goth night. No wonder my inquisitor questioned my sincerity. Half of my brain was watching the door. The other half of my brain was in a sensory overload “wtf” test pattern.
Awkward things have been afoot the last few months, mostly brought on by dating. Turns out when you lose 20 pounds and recover your self-esteem, people notice. I appreciate the attention, but that doesn’t mean I have any clue as to how to handle it. Thus, awkward situations happen, either by dating or avoiding dating. Leaving the house becomes an endless game of “oh hell, what’s going to happen NOW?”
So, what’s a girl to do?
Think about it later.
Have a moment of clarity.
Like many moments of clarity, this one came days later in the shower:
“Why are you watching the door? Why are you letting other people dictate how you spend your night?”
“But…I don’t want to be overtly bitchy to people I’m probably going to keep seeing…”
“Excuse me, but didn’t they already do something bitchy, or at least awkward, to you?”
“well, yeah, but that’s no reason to stoop to…”
“Please. You told those people, as nicely as you could, as clearly as you could, how you felt. If your answers weren’t to their liking, that’s too bad. It’s not your job to keep feeling weird and crappy just because you don’t want to date those people.”
“But they’re going to show up here eventually and do I talk? Do I not talk? Nod from across the room…?”
“They are not the boss of us. WE are the boss of us. We dictate how our night goes. No one else. Do you WANT to say hi?”
“I most certainly don’t want to say hi.”
Getting back to the original question, “how are you?” the truthful response goes like this:
“I’m doing better right now than I have since…well, possibly since ever. I get to work from home, my boss doesn’t micromanage me, my cat is awesome, my car is almost paid off, my family relationships are improving slowly, I’ve met a whole gang of new friends, gotten closer with people I’d been meaning to see more, I have a 4.0 in my programming classes, I’m off my drugs, my girly parts are functioning in the way that they were apparently supposed to be functioning the whole time, I’m dangerously close to weighing what I weighed in college, and I can dance for a solid hour without passing out.”
Alas, that’s a long response, a run-on sentence and it sounds braggy. Not to mention that I’d have to do even MORE cardio to be able to get it out in one breath. Besides, it’s loud at goth night and, when people ask how you’re doing, they don’t really want your freaking life story. So I’m just like, “I’m fine…you?”