Monday, November 2, 2015

"It's Just Brunch"

Stephan and I were listening to the radio a few weeks ago. The hosts were discussing the Netflix series Orange is the New Black. I love that show. I had to slow down my binge-watching to make sure I wasn't hurrying through the episodes.

Suddenly, Stephan turns off the radio and starts huffing in annoyance:

Him: That is terrible.

Me: What?? That they are romanticizing female incarceration?

Him: No. That people keep thinking they're so oppressed. It's discrediting the actual struggle of African Americans.

Me: Uuhm..... what??

Him: People keep saying they are the new Black like it's no big deal to have been abused and mistreated for centuries. It's disgusting.

Me: That's... uh... not what that phrase means. It's literally the color black. How it used to be reserved for people in mourning but now it's fashionable. The phrase is about fashion. Not race.

Him: No way.

Me: .....

Him: Really?

Me: Yup.

Him: I need to rethink a lot of things.

Which has to do with brunch in the following way... As a family we had accidentally scheduled three things to happen on one day.
1) Volunteering at a race in Milwaukee (70 miles away)
2) Attending a fundraising brunch buffet
3) Sawyer's 6th birthday party

Stephan and I went back and forth over how we were going to divide and conquer the day. At first I was going to send him to the race so I could take the kids to the brunch. But when I thought about the small-talk and group of people that would be attending a fundraising brunch, I freaked out and traded him for the early-morning smile and wave and "here sign this paper to learn more about the Santa Hustle" thing.

When the brunch friend found out that I was bailing on the brunch because I was too nervous to talk to live people (runners don't count as people I guess?) she texted me, "Uhm. It's just brunch."

Noooooooo. It's not "just brunch". It's being polite. It's "what do I say next?" It's "what do I wear? Is my hair ok? What was her name again? Where can I hide to nurse the baby? Am I making enough eye contact? Should I reply with something funny or serious? Have I quoted NPR too much? Will this person be insulted by a political joke? Did I really just make fun of Cuban refugees? OhmyGod I just totally made a refugee joke. That's not funny AT ALL right now. There's no recovering from this. Let's all go hide in the bathroom until this thing is over."

I guess I was just surprised that, with all of the sensitivity to people who have hard times in social situations, and especially given my outspoken terror of strangers, that someone would say that to me. That anyone would be confused about ME not wanting to spend 2 hours at a table with strangers, trying to make new friends. I regularly mess up the friendships I already have. Why would I want to start over with new ones?

It's totally possible I've been living in a Blogess bubble of love and acceptance lately. Her book was fantastic, and I just keep reading websites that are encouraging and supportive. Places on the internet where hurting and fear and wackiness are totally acceptable states of being. I guess this is why that bubble exists in the first place- so I can remember that I'm not the weird(est) one.

That it IS about fashion.


Annie Crow said...

I so need to meet you in person one of these days. I think we have a lot we could share. Maybe once I can drive the car and come out to visit? 'Cause while I could handle two hours of smoozing at a fundraiser brunch (though I'd prefer the running event), I still don't have my *#$%!@& license. Again. Since I managed to let it expire and now it's been five years and I have to go through the whole process all over again, except BY MYSELF, without the help of paid lessons and a driving school vehicle, since technically I can't get a learner's permit and thus can't take lessons since in theory I have a license (Or at least the system says I do) and I just can't drive on it since it's expired.

Your friend needs to start reading The Bloggess. We all have our own struggles. Maybe if she fessed up to her own she'd be more understanding of yours.

Ali K. said...

Man do I relate to this. Even a small gathering with people I DO know can be too much some days. And sometimes it surprises me when people don't understand that. Maybe because I hide it too well, or because everyone and heir mother claims to be an introvert these days. But the crippling anxiety? People are never as understanding as hey claim to be when it's their function you're missing :(