Yesterday was Riley’s last soccer practice. It was also the first day I really had any interaction with the other parents, thanks to the coach’s idea to have the adults get out on the field and play against the kids during the last half hour. The clusterfucked Calvinball-esque game that ensued was more than a little embarrassing (my soccer skills are … well, pretty much nonexistent) and hilarious and actually pretty fun, and it was the perfect sort of social icebreaker than I could have used, oh, several weeks ago.
But I can’t rely on someone else to help me over the parental small-talk molehill I’ve turned into a mental mountain and baseball’s coming up and this is just the start of years of kid activities and you guys, I’m just so goddamned bad at talking with people and I don’t know why I’m like this but I am and it’s not normally a big deal but sometimes it is. Like when you’re sitting on a bench with a group of other parents and everyone is chatting except you, and it makes you start to dread going to your kid’s soccer practice as though it were a twice-weekly root canal and it’s ridiculous and it sucks.
Here is the bench. Here are the adults talking amongst themselves in a friendly manner. Not pictured: me, silent and awkward and occasionally snapping photos of Riley or sticking my nose in a book but mostly just feeling incredibly self-conscious and wishing the earth would open up and swallow me whole.
Ah, I’m so tired of being shy. I’m lonely and I have no social life and I hate feeling this way during activities that should be perfectly normal and I hate the self-defeating brainloop it causes and I hate the creeping certainty that everyone thinks I’m a standoffish asshole when the reality is that I’m pathetically eager to connect, I just can’t get past the first step.