Sunday, November 20, 2005

i'm acting like a cranky old man

i have a serious problem. it's been growing for nearly a year. slowly, silently, building an arsenal, strengthening while i wasn't looking. it's snuck up behind me, and is hanging onto my back like that monkey from the quit smoking commercials of the late '80s.

i'm crotchety.

i'm cranky, and irritable and easily annoyed by seemingly normal things and sometimes i just want to scream because i want things to be silent and still and peaceful. all the time.

like right now, my roommate is in the other room watching nascar post-race commentary where some nasally driver is going on and on and on AND ON about getting the job done, hanging in there, bla bla bla. and although my pal doesn't have the volume up too loud, just listening to that drone makes me want to take a deep breath and bellow at the top of my lungs, 'SHUT THE F UUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUP! shut up, shut up, shut UPPPPPP!!!!' sigh.

every day when the house phone rings (starting at nine am and continuing in a barrage of telemarketers once every 30 minutes until i leave for work), the sound climbs in deeper under my skin. and twitches. it makes me want to throw things. and even when my cell goes off, i'm often annoyed until i realize it's someone i care about on the other line.

on the rare occasion that i'm around other human beings, i don't know how to behave right away. it's like i'm suddenly socially inept. i scoff at meaningless pleasantries. when i go to parties, even among those i've loved for almost half of my life, it takes a good thirty minutes for me to acclimate to the smalltalk. it's as though the real me has been buried under hours and hours and hours of solitary silence and i have to dive in, grab her neck in the crook of my elbow and crawl back to the surface in order to function normally again.

this is not me! anyone who's met me would probably be just as baffled. i'm the girl who loves to chat, who can't stand to be home alone. even if other people are in other rooms doing their own thing, i need the security of knowing that they're around. i couldn't fall asleep in college until i heard the roommate's key in the lock and knew she wasn't abducted by aliens or drunken fratboys.

it all began when i started working these odd late-night hours last december. i live in a house with two roommates, but when i'm at home they are at work and by the time i get in, they're asleep. so i've become accustomed to having free reign. i come in, stay up late catching up on recorded television, netflix, e-mail, blogs, long distance phonecalls -- whatever my heart desires -- and i don't have to answer to anyone. i no longer make 'how was your day' chitchat. i don't have to share the remote control. i can have oreos and milk for dinner and don't have to worry about anyone's disapproving looks. i can sleep until 2 p.m., just in time to get ready while watching 'The Facts of Life'. i've embraced the beauty of silence.

as great as that may sound, it's a solitary lifestyle. but it's affected me so much, i don't even recognize myself anymore.

on friday night i worked an early shift. it put me back at the house at about 8 pm. i walked in on the phone, as usual, took off my shoes and coat and planned on scavenging around the kitchen for something to eat just as i do every night when i get in. however i wasn't fully prepared for both the roomies to be awake, watching tvs in different rooms, asking how i was, asking if i was hungry, asking how my day was, asking about traffic, asking about the weather and not really noticing that i was on the phone.

i went to my room to finish my conversation and get used to the situation. in 20 minutes, things were back to normal and we hung out just like old times. it was nice. i'm thankful they miss me and want to talk to me when i'm around. i'm blessed there are so many people willing to work around my inane scheduling conflicts who make time to see me and the ones who interrupt their lunch hours to call me or stay up way past their bedtime to say hello. it makes me feel special. it makes me feel loved. it helps me forget about the sometimes when i feel so alone.

but i don't like being like this. i'm supposed to be cheery and chatty and not annoyed that someone wants to know how i'm doing. i don't want to be like those ugly old people who yell at the kids who disturb their gardenias by letting the kickball fly into their yard. well, at least not for another fifty years.

there has to be a 12-step program for this.


Lia said...

It'll be okay; you'll get back to yourself. I've become a bit like that, too, since I'm getting used to no one being around when I'm around. It makes it hard when you have to be with other people, but it gets better. It will come back to you. You still like them, even though you can't stand the thought right now.

At least, I hope so. Or all is lost in the world.

'ka said...

when you find out the 12-step program, please share it w/ your fellow blogger... :)

lucasjackson7 said...

first off, whoever kicked the kickball has to go ask for it. i miss the days of bolting over fences with a overthrown football or errant foul ball.

secondly, when it's late and no one's around. i talk to the television. old movies are the best, "no woman, don't out into the ocean. Jaws just came by and swooped up a bunch of kids!"

lastly, breathe. you'll be alright. ask the nascar fan if they have any strategies for right hand turns.

Jon said...

Hmmm… I’m only familiar with the 19-step program. There’s a rumor that the Germans have found a way to shave it down to like, 17 steps, but everyone knows the Germans are a little nuts. I’m kind of the same way with my roommates though, so in the mean time, you might want to do what I do. When the questions start to get on your nerves, just throw down a couple of smoke pellets and slink on out of the room. By the time the smoke clears and the confusion wears off, you’ll have had enough alone time to go face them again. And should they get irksome once again, apply smoke pellets liberally. Works for me. Be sure to toss out phrases like, “Boy, where did all that smoke come from?” or, “Wow, that smoke thing sure was weird, wasn’t it?” That way they don’t get wise to you and nobody really gets their feelings hurt.

piu piu said...

at some point i'm going to have to move in with flatmates the prospect is not inspiring. i live with my boyfriend, and spend all day working at home alone, and even when he gets in of an evening i feel cranky an pissed that someone has disturbed my solitude and it takes me a while to readjust to him being there.

think of it as a survival tactic. if u didnt enjoy your own company you'd probly never be able to get through these crazy working hours. i know as soon as i move somewhere else i'm gonna be working odd hours again and will have to build an even thicker antisocial skin to get through it sane...

omar said...

For the record, there's nothing wrong with yelling at neighborhood kids. Someone should have taught them to not ride their bikes in other people's lawns -- I mean, someone should have taught them to watch where they kick their kickballs.

Demosthenes said...

No, it's only a three-step program:

Buy a punching bag

Watch The Recruit with Colin Farrell

Punch the punching bag

Worked for me, though steps one and two were reversed.

In the words of Angelina Jolie, "I woke up this morning and just hated everything." I have days like those. We all do. Just perhaps not as... often.

Ale said...

sexy lingerie!

- fit in time to work out
eat really healthy
take your vitamins

and no matter what, weird schedule or not, you'll feel good.

but true, people skills must be practiced or you loose it

kaiyareturns said...

you also lose it when you spend some time in a dying bad relationship. you think you'll never be social again... and then just when you're in a good environment again, you start to blossom just make sure you get yourself in a "Good environment"

Guyana-Gyal said...

This is so well written, Cadiz.

Aw man, I was like that, when I was sharing my flat [in Jamaica]. After a long talk with my landlady, she said, "There's no price you can put on solitude."

So I gave my flat mate notice, she left after she found a place.

I struggled with being alone for a while...then I LOVED it, loved it loved it, loved it.

I had friends over when I wanted. And I was alone when I chose to be!!!

cadiz12 said...

thanks for all the support, guys. i've gotten rid of the crankypants, but i still have to take a deep breath when i'm forced to share my space. i guess it takes a little getting used to. the truth is, i think i'd be a little lonely if i lived completely alone, but i've never tried it, so i won't knock that idea just yet.

however in the meantime i really could use some smoke pellets, a punching bag and a little more sexy lingerie.

and don't worry, i talk to the tv, (as well as the computer and other inanimate appliances) on a daily basis.
but maybe i'll just start with the vitamins.