Momentary lapse of security

It’s a funny old thing, social insecurity…

I’m in an unfamiliar place, and sure – I’m working hard but I’m mostly surrounded by teams of people who arrived here with an existing dynamic, and who already really understand the job. Then I come in with my big hands and my oafish smile saying dumb things on purpose and being mildly annoying and mildly comical and trying to work as hard as I can but not always in the right direction. Sometimes people just don’t have room. I feel a bit outside, and as a result I am watching myself and as a result I feel even more clumsy and even more out of the loop.

For the first time in a while my work pattern allowed me to be up in the desert as night fell, and I waited with some of the people I’m living around, just for the companionship, even though I was mostly ignored. But … I’ve gone home now, feeling a little sad and a little tight around the chest.

Lots of little turnings of shoulders to close me off, lots of little ignorings of my attempts to join conversations. One very clear and hard shut down of an attempted contribution. I’m aware I’m the bottom of the pile here in terms of established social dynamic. I normally operate fine there as a happy wildcard who genuinely doesn’t give a fuck about your pretend hierarchy. But, you know, it’s Valentine’s Day where we think about our connection to others. And they’ve all gone in one car to try and see some of the sights of Tabuk. And I’ve gone home. I kind of wanted to feel like I was part of a friendship group here but I really don’t feel like they “get” me at all.

I understand. I’m feeling clumsy enough that I might have refused an invite to walk around the city at night with them anyway. And there’s nothing personal in the cold shoulder. It’s just an ease thing. I have a lifelong inability to do smalltalk. When I try to I come across like it’s a talking fish. But I’m missing the ease of established friendships. I’m so slow to make friends and I’m slow to trust. I’m missing you lot…

They’ve organised a sweepstake and I’m not included, which isn’t a deliberate slight either but it added to the outsider thing. It’s a group that has existed for a while and been to some amazing places together and worked hard there and they’re doing a thing they’ve done before. I get it. I get it. I get it. I feel sad.

Anyway, I spoke to Lou about all this. She helped me take the feelings out, look at them and put them back in a different order. It’s not so bad. “I’m perfectly happy on my own to be honest. I spend loads of time on my own.” “Then why does it bother you?” … … “I like this work. I want things to go well across the board so I can do more of it ” “There you go then.”

Then the phone went and told me I have to pick somebody up at 1am. It’s half nine. I have another pick-up at 6. Shit. Emergency cat nap. Who has time for insecurity?! I’m a solitary workmachine.

And here I am at 1.15 waiting for another plane after two hours shuteye and I remember that when it comes down to it, I’m in sodding Tabuk! (And I have to somehow send a self tape by the end of the day without anyone I’m friendly enough with to be able to honestly get them to do it with me. Here.)

Author: albarclay

This blog is a work of creative writing. Do not mistake it for truth. All opinions are mine and not that of my numerous employers.

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