At the risk of repeating myself, navigating a circle of mutual friends, post-divorce, requires more than a modicum of social aptitude. It’s not fresh, we’re slowly encroaching on two years since the (public) announcement. You’d think that people would be over it. I am, and I was intimately involved in that nuclear disaster. While I realize there’s fallout for everyone whose lives were touched, I was at ground zero. If I’m reasonably well adjusted by now, my expectation is that everyone else should be too.
Where am I going with this? I was invited to a BBQ over the weekend. While I was eager to go, I was slightly apprehensive on how my presence would be received, as it’s a crowd that I haven’t hung out with since before the Big Break Up. I actually e-mailed the host with my misgivings, who came back with, “my party, my invites, I have spoken,” sort of response. And so I went. I mean the Host spoke, who was I to disagree?
I had a lovely time, but it was a thought-provoking, edifying illustration of human relations. I found three camps of people. (Remember these people are all folks that I was close with at one point.)
- The Comfortable Ones. There were a number of people (host & hostess included) who when I saw them were genuinely and obviously thrilled to see me. Despite the time apart, we quickly settled down into easy interaction, like a pair of well-worn sneakers. It was as if the time and distance was immaterial. Everyone needs these kinds of friends in their lives.
- The Unexpected One. There was one feller who had been, during the Marital Period (yes, that’s kind of like the Cretaceous Period), more of a casual acquaintance. However, over the past two years, even though we haven’t actually seen each other, he’s been a supportive member of the Branwen cheer squad via social media and the like. When I saw him on Saturday, he literally hugged me off my feet. Nice to see you too, but the ground, it’s very far away…
- The Disappointing One. Then there was “that guy.” He and I were special friends. Get your mind out of the gutter, not that kind of special friend, but just two people that had an inexplicable, but intense platonic bond. Then a year and a half ago he broke my heart by severing all ties, without a word of explanation. Seeing him again was awkward, monumentally so. Clearly for him too, because it took him the whole afternoon and a copious amount of liquid courage before giving me a good-bye hug at the end of the day.
All in, human nature is both intriguing and weird. I’m epically conflicted, for I’m fascinated by humanity, yet people simultaneously make me crazy. I crave their company yet inevitably withdraw to the safety of my reclusive solitude. It’s no wonder that social awkwardness is my super-power.