Thursday, March 8, 2012

an introvert's dilemma

My seventh month of indoor pool use and the other swimmers are making noises like they want to know me better.  It's inevitable, this human need to reach out and make other people uncomfortable but I just wanna swim in my own self-imposed state of oblivion. If I compromise those boundaries chaos and calamity will result, the sun will explode and my stomach lining will curdle.

Not me swimming, but it could be
Marty is 78 years old and she is swimming in the lane next to me.  She wears a black wig that stands up about eight inches off her scalp and she has thick kohl liner on both eye lids making her look like a raccoon with head fur on steroids. Today she tells me, "your eyes and complexion and hair all go well together."  God, did she have to say that.  Physical compliments make me uncomfortable and like a lot of American women I jump in quickly to downplay.  "That's because I have a bit of a Jamaican tan but when that fades I will be paleface butt-ugly again." Didn't exactly use those words.

Sandy has been swimming next to me for over two years.  From scraps of conversation I have divulged that she recycles, goes to the library, always tries to find the perfect gift, hasn't eaten a french fry since 2003 and never says, "have a nice day!" She comes highly qualified in the "possible friend" category. But what if  I say something really dumb and she recasts me as a commoner, a cliche user, an insufferable bore, all my teen-age angst issues coming back at me in rapid succession.  And then I realize I don't give a rat's ass but then there's that other discussion, do I really want to invest time and relinquish my precious hard-earned privacy to this new unresearched person?

Sandy is here today and she hasn't seen me in a while.  She says, "I called your house on two occasions wanting to know if you would like a ride to the pool."  Jesus Christ!  How did we jump from, "maybe I'll see you at the pool next week" to paging through the phone book for my address and number?  I pulled myself up to the side of the pool, my thoughts racing and my eyes wide and cautionary and my voice coming out slowly and carefully,  "Are --  you --  sure . . . it was my number?  There were no messages."   And Sandy says, "I didn't leave any," and she saunters away to the locker room.  I like that and perhaps I should say, next time leave a message because I never answer the phone but then the ball is back in my court, a newly formed responsibility, a required return phone call.  Quickly, I close my mouth.  It's all so complicated this business of making friends but I kinda like that girl.


AmySueRose said...

Where's Marge?

dawn marie giegerich said...

She has been swimming but our schedules have not coincided so we would share locker room time together. She's ignoring me. Perhaps she read my blog and is giving me the silent treatment. Although I would think her method of dealing with unpleasant issues would be very direct and aggressive.

AmySueRose said...

You broke her heart.