For those of you who aren’t already aware, I work out of the basement of my home, full-time and then some. My “co-workers” are my husband – who also works from home, though mostly on different projects, in a different part of the house where I rarely run into him during the day – and two dogs. Now, I love what I do and I love my working conditions, but there are a few side effects. By far the most significant one: My social skills have atrophied considerably in the last few years.
Not all of them, mind – interacting with customers in the specific milieu of a craft fair or market is a skill I didn’t have before, and I do like to think I’ve got a decent handle on that now, for the most part. But the normal-person, day-to-day things? Casual conversations with friends about what happened yesterday, or what I’m planning to do next week, or so forth? Yeah, I am no good at those anymore. I appear to have lost the skills for any conversational mode between “yes thank you I would like fries with that” and “stream of consciousness babble with no thought to situational appropriateness”.
…well, OK, it’s not quite that bad. It’s not this bad either (um, maybe panel 2, come to think of it), but it’s there. One gradually forgets things like how to recognize which color combinations of clothing are socially acceptable for public wear, whether or not one has combed one’s hair on a given day, and even what time or what day it actually is.
I am an introvert by nature, and while I do quite like the company of many people, the near-solitude of my work life does not bother me in its own right. But sometimes, when I’m at a family gathering or in a group of friends and I hear myself rambling on about things about which no one can possibly care (bear in mind here that one generally talks about what one thinks about, and mostly I’m thinking about tomorrow’s to-do list, and business plans for next month and next quarter, and technique tweakings for soaps I want to design for next season, and other things ill-suited to social conversation), and I see eyes glazing over, and I think maybe I should get out just a bit more, to remind me how this whole “coexisting with other humans” thing works.
Or else I should just go back to my cave and stop trying to socialize in person at all. Maybe that’s what social media really is for: Providing a social outlet for the situationally socially inept.
Oh, wait. That’s the entire internet, isn’t it.
In any case, this being my blog and therefore a place in which it actually is socially acceptable for me to ramble about whatever happens to be on my mind, I’m going to try to do some of that here – and maybe I’ll get it out of my system enough that if you happen across me at a coffeeshop someday, I’ll be able to talk about my dogs and ask about your kids like a normal person, instead of talking about the esoterics of soap chemistry or the delicate balance of show scheduling. Hey, we can hope, right?