Monday, September 15, 2008

Social Distortion

Before my dentist appointment this morning, I bought my train ticket up to Seattle. This time next week I will probably be passed out in the living room of a good friend, if I successfully manage Amtrak, Seattle Public Transit, and the labyrinth that is the UW campus.

I feel like I should be more apprehensive about this. I whine at AK that I'm nervous and scared and that I hate being a big responsible person, but really underneath I feel like I have all of this under control. There's apprehension over being able to find the time to do my homework (I have to build an Access database, something I haven't even tried since high school), about getting meeting new people. But there's also this sense of "Been there, had to get a visa, and then got the t-shirt in Heath row". I can't go quite so far as to say that I'm excited and ready to take it all on, but I'm calm about. That, or it just isn't real to me yet and next week will find me in a classroom in Suzallo, weeping.

But maybe not. The worst part of grad school the first time around was settling into a new way of life. Naturally this meant a lot of showing up at random offices asking for forms and help and a lot of chatting up new people who had enough in common with me in that we both were spending thousand of pounds to sit and read the same texts. Socially speaking, I think I'm a stronger person now. Being "the Supervisor" forces interactions with all sorts of people, each with their own problems and own way of perceiving the world. I think that I'm very good at reading social situations; I'm just not very good at addressing them. I'm always standing on the stairway just as the words come to mind. This is why I spent so much time at college huddled in my room or standing on the edge of group.

I'm not exactly sure why, but I still perceive myself as an intensely unsocial and unsociable person who should be left locked in a room with an internet connection and a kettle. Yet unbeknown to myself, I have become a social person. I have two very good friends right now who I try to see at least once or twice a week. One is also newly married, a runner, and basically someone who will nerd out with me over random things. She's most excellent. The second is a friend I met through fencing who turned into a non-fencing friend (meaning we have interests and participate in activities together outside of fencing... in fact we haven't fenced together in months). She's incredibly sweet and is going through a bit of a rough patch right now. I keep wanting to have the words that will make it better, to be able to be that friend who can say something meaningful and useful. I don't think I'm there yet. Someday... hopefully.

So that's where I am right now. I'm not writing enough poetry (got caught up in my woeful sense of rhyme and haven't finished the exercises). I'm not reading enough (though that's going to go to hell soon anyway) and am knitting only the most basic things. But I think I'm happy. I think I can do this.


Matt said...

I'm sure you can do it. You're going to rock their library-loving socks off.

Anonymous said...

What Matt said. You seriously Rock, lady!

It's odd, because while I know what you mean about still thinking of oneself as a socially unskilled person, I think you have more skills than you realize. I mean, after all, you throw a mean tea party.

Piper said...


You do say the right thing, and you have no idea how much I've appreciated your friendship. You're the best, and I really meanthat.