Josh asked me how the wine tasting went, and my response was lukewarm. "I think I sat on the wrong side of the room." Maybe it's just a grass-is-greener perception, and the conversation on the other side of the room was not any better. They sure looked like they were having fun, though.
Seating is important. Whenever I find myself in social situations where I will have to sit in one seat and talk to the same people for any amount of time, I stress over who will be near me. The first priority is to avoid those who are outright unlikeable or just plain boring. Then you want to try and get near whoever will make the time the most fun. There is timing in this, but I've never really figured it out. If you show up too early, then someone undesireable may sit next to you. If you show up too late, then the choice of seats will be limited. Also, I like to be slightly to the side of the middle of the action. I can't handle the center - too much pressure.
Sometimes it's easier to just stay home.
I can bring my own fun, I promise. There are some social situations in which I flourish. I can be funny and thoughtful and ask good questions. But there are other times where I am simply awkward, aloof, and disengaged. Maybe I should be working more on being the kind of person that other people will be happy that they sat next to, rather than trying to figure out how to pick a seat.
When I sat down, the left side of the room was two-thirds full. There was room for me. But I decided to go for the mostly empty right side of the room. I was hoping that it would fill up with interesting people.
But it ended up that the right side of the room was a small circle, with two girls on the end kinda off by themselves. I was one of them. The other girl was probably spending her time stealing furtive glances at the left side of the room, when she wasn't checking her phone anyway. We talked, because even though I paint myself as a social retard, I do know how to act. She told me about how she used to work in TV, but now she was a recruiter. I should have asked more questions, because I'm sure she had lots of interesting stories to tell about both those careers. Some people need drawing out. But by that point, I had used up all my saved-up extrovert points.
When she mentioned that she was using her phone to check college basketball scores, I thought that finally we had found some common ground. Being from Connecticut, she was keeping tabs on the UCONN/Syracuse game. She also hates Duke with a passion, but many people do. She said she was surprised when she moved here to find that some people actually love the Blue Devils with equal fervor. Did she think that Coach K just put an ad in the paper offering cash to anyone who would show up at the stadium (bonus money for being painted blue)?
She also held a grudge against Christian Laettner. Okay, fine, he did stomp on a guy once. The evidence is in, and I think he was probably a jerk, but it was great when he was on your team. I told her that if it made her feel any better, the high point of his entire life was probably over when he was 22. Some people peak early. I have to admit, his was a pretty good peak.
I think talking about Christian Laettner was the highlight of my evening, just for the nostalgia of it. I need to start bringing more of my own fun.