That title isn’t as negative as it sounds. I’ll explain that later.
I was enthused about going to my wife’s bestie’s place for Thanksgiving.
We used to live 40 minutes away (or longer, if there was anything affecting traffic). But this past spring we bought a house a mere 3 miles from bestie’s. It’s been great. Those two – thick as thieves – have spent tons more time together than in previous years, and we’re both so very happy about that change.
We’d gone to a couple Christmases at bestie’s in the early years of our relationship, and for a misfit introvert like me, those were tough. I mean, they were great; but I just don’t like inserting myself into someone else’s gift-giving routine. It felt to me like we really should’ve bolted immediately after the meal. But my gal and her bestie had a gift exchange to do, which of course got incorporated into the rest of the gifting thing. You know what I mean – just awkward.
So the fact that…
- Yesterday wasn’t Christmas.
- It’s now a 5-minute drive instead of 5x that.
…made me go into it (and I even said so on the way there) with less nervousness because it’s not a huge deal if I feel like I’m “done” long before my wife is ready to go. I can come back and get her – it ain’t that far. Or someone else can drop her off – it ain’t that far out of their way (possibly not at all).
And so, as the Big & Tall Men’s patrons could all relate, as we’re figuring out who will sit where, and realizing that I’m the most-recent-addition to this group, so as pecking-order goes, I should sit next to the opposite end of the table – by the 2nd card table – on one of the folding chairs… and then the school-boy insecurity thing blindsides me.
In an instant, I imagine trying to gently lower myself onto a flimsy chair, but my socks slipping on the wood floor (I’d already had similar trouble getting up out of a chair due to poor traction). I see myself dropping onto the chair too quickly. It buckles. As I sprawl to the floor, impaled by kinked metal folding chair leg, one of my feet kicks the adjacent legs of the two card tables, and now half the table space has been thrown to the floor. Broken glasses and dishes. Wine stains. A thigh scalded by potatoes. The inevitable “Who invited this fat f**k to our family tradition?!”
It took me about a minute to conclude that I could neither shake the rapidly growing sense of dread, nor endure it. I slipped out, sent my wife a text, drove home, and watched youtube videos of people trying stupid things so I don’t have to.
I’m so very thankful that somewhat out of the blue, we were informed of a place for sale this close to her bestie’s, this close to a Park-n-Ride, and this far out of the city. I’m thankful for the growing relationship with her bestie and bestie’s husband. They’re great people, and all four of us seem to get along rather well (which is rare, ‘cuz I dislike almost everybody, and am readily disliked by the few whom I do not dislike). I’m super thankful to have been invited over for Thanksgiving (instead of Christmas).
But most of all Thanks For Nothing. That is, thanks for understanding that…
- I’m freaked out about Nothing.
- If I’m freaked out, I need to be around Nobody.
- What can you do to help? Nothing.
- What did you do wrong? Nothing.
- What shall we do differently next time? Nothing.
I’m thankful to have people in my life, especially my wife and her bestie, who get it. They get social anxiety. They get the helplessness against irrational fears. And that I mean them no slight. It’s random. It’s a roll of the dice, a spin of the wheel, a dart thrown blindly. It may happen more often, it may never happen again. I don’t know. And there’s Nothing to be concerned about.