OK, so it's official. I am NOT a social person. How do i know this? Because, as part of a social experiment (yeah, I should have seen it right then. After all, who considers social behavior an experiment?), I texted all those people whom i haven't stayed in touch with - well, ten people to be precise, even though the actual number of people go into the thousands - asking them the universal question that covers a range of sins: "Ssup?"
And their reactions were very telling. Mostly they revolved around, "Wow. Where have YOU been?? Finally decided to return to Earth?" And the truth is, i get this a lot. What's annoying is: Why am I considered to have been the one who dropped out of sight, when the other person hasn't stayed in touch either?
The other day, i was talking to an ex-colleague. About a year ago, we had been working fairly closely together on a project. It was clearly a professional relationship, despite an easy camaraderie. The project finished and we went our separate ways. A few days ago, he tells me, "You dropped out of sight. What happened?" Now the truth is that the project was over, and i'd pitched a few other concepts, which hadn't gone through. So that was that. He realised that. But the point is, the only thing he actually registered at the end of a very positive and fruitful working experience was that i went AWOL.
It's upsetting to know that you can go AWOL and no one will come looking for you.
So, i know that i'm not the gushing sort. I don't actively reach out to people. I only sit up and take notice of the lack of a constant people presence when i spend days cloistered in my room, writing. When i finally raise my head out of my literary or work haze, i call someone and go out for a drink. Or sometimes, people call me and i'm happy to fall in with their plans.
The worst part of this is, i constantly see extremely social people around me. They make it seem so easy having these comfortable relationships with a vast number of people. I don't know how they do it. But i wish i did. I really do want to be that person with atleast 4 people in her house regardless of day or time. Instead, ironically, usually people don't get in touch because they assume I'm probably busy doing something else or that i won't be interested in their plans. It's awful.
Written a day later:
I met a friend and we talked about a film he's trying to make - the typical "White American saves the world (set in India), gets the exotic girl, and leaves behind a legacy of the 'generous American spirit'" The catch was this: He wanted to do this in a way that does not offend anyone's sensibilities - particularly the people (Indians) that are 'saved' through this exercise. And i found myself telling him that he'll never be able to please everyone, while remaining true to his story.
And that is true of my life too. I'll never be that non-discerning or even that sympathetic of other peoples' frailties that will ensure that i always have people who like me liking them around me. I'll never be that effusive about my love for the people i do actually love, because i'm just better with the written word rather than the spoken one. And i'll never not want my space to be exclusively my space, for as long as i want it, even if all i'm doing with it is lying on my couch and staring at the fan.
So it's not awful. It's not perfect. It's not a sit-com life. But it is my life. And hopefully it won't end with me slowly dying alone, with my pet cats eating my face, just because no one noticed i was gone.