When I was a child I was afraid of ghosts. as I grew up I realized people are more scary. – Sushan R Sharma
I realized last weekend that I am and always have been what the Germans call “a-zi” (pronounced ah-zee), which means “anti-social” but implies much more than that, more not nice things. I was at a class with a friend and she was surprised how fast I was out of the seminar room. She even thought I was going to leave her behind (I drove us both). She suggested the people in the class were probably thinking I don’t like them. That rang a bell because just a couple of weeks ago, someone else told me that friends of his who had attended a concert for my students thought that I didn’t like them. I hadn’t exchanged a word with them but they were very sure I hated them.
All this brought up to me how I have behaved all of my life. I would have told people that I was shy. In fact, I think I did sometimes but I stopped after a while. Nobody seemed to believe me. I have realized that deep inside I am scared to death of people. Funny enough I only realized last year at a different course that I fundamentally don’t trust people. Maybe that is why I am afraid. This fear is very deep seated and has caused me to do things that other people find funny or weird or awful or – “a-zi”. I don’t see people to greet them when they greet me; I turn away from people at parties, I walk away from companions (a friend screamed at me and told me he would never attend a concert with me again because I left him in the dust when exiting the hall). The thing is I don’t “get” it at the moment. Later maybe, when I think about it, or somebody complains to me about how I have behaved but not while I am behaving that way. I just feel impelled to do what I am doing. The truth is I am lost in thought, obsessed with my own inner world. Do I have a slight case of Asperger’s?
It’s a funny thing that I chose such a “public” profession when one of the things I hate most in the world is to meet new people. Oh, the number of times I should have been chatting and making small talk at parties and events to forward my career and all I was doing was measuring how long I would need to stay and when and how soon I could leave, measuring my escape plan and thinking of how to avoid saying goodbye.
At any rate, I believe that I have burned a lot of bridges in my life unintentionally by this kind of behavior. Over time, I have worked hard to learn to speak to people at parties and events, to at least be aware where my companions are when in company and I succeed most of the time. But when I am tired the only thing I can think of is “get me out of here”. Thank goodness my husband makes a joke out of it. At least most of the time.