I don’t know if you’ve gathered this from previous posts, but I am very awkward when it comes to social interactions. Awkward to the point of sheer discomfort and reluctance to socialize at all.
Now you know.
This past holiday season I was at the local roller skating rink, as you do (especially at Christmastime), and I chanced across an old high school friend and bandmate. Against all reason and judgment that my social ineptitude cautioned against, I drew his attention. He’s one of those warm, friendly types that make people like me comfortable against better judgment. I skated — let’s be honest — wobbled over to him and we caught up after he caught me from running into him on four wheels.
Honestly, this is mostly just a cautionary tale about going skating when you haven’t done in at least ten years, if not more, and you have at least one artificial joint.
At any rate, the only problem with the whole exchange was me. I couldn’t seem to cut out the self-deprecating jokes about my lack of a recognizable career, my lack of romance, my lack of having moved from home. Phrased in the exact wrong light, my life seems like one of those tragic tales everyone dreads in their own life. I have an awful tendency to sound like a dead end, especially on the surface of it.
If I could have another go at it, another go at explaining myself to old friends from high school, I might say something more like this:
I love my life. I’m happy in my small hometown, happy in my little perfect apartment that does happen to be within spitting distance of my childhood home. I’m happy with my job which consistently surprises me and challenges me. I’m extremely proud that I’ve stayed with the same company for close to ten years.
I have good friends, I have good family — by blood and by choice — and I am unreasonably happy not being married.
Trouble is, when you’re at a roller skating rink, wobbling around disproportionately sweaty to the effort put forth, there’s absolutely no way to say “I’m happy being single” without it sounding like I’m just completely lying to your face to avoid looking even more pathetic.
But I’ve been thinking a lot in the tail end of 2017 about my life and how fortunate and blessed I’ve been in the 31 years I’ve been alive, and frankly I’m sitting here now in my little apartment, drinking a hot toddy, putting away Christmas decorations and listening to Willie Nelson and I still can’t believe this is my life that I’m allowed to live.
Anyway, that’s what I would have said. But we said our goodbyes, hugged and then he hauled me to my feet because honestly I can’t even tell you how unstable I am on roller skates.
Ps It’s really important to me that you know I used to be really REALLY good at rollerblading. When I was ten I was ALMOST athletic.