There have always been jokes about how much I dislike people, how antisocial I am, or my ever increasing level of snarky grouchiness. The problem with this, however, is that it's becoming less amusing and more about an ever increasing level of social anxiety.
I spent nearly 6 years living in rural southeast Kansas, where my social life was rather limited. I became frighteningly self sufficient in the entertainment department. The internet, some beer, good music, and a bit of porn, and I could fool myself into thinking I had some semblance of a social life. Pathetic, huh?
Moving to Kansas City six months ago, I knew there would be a level of adjustment. The fact that I was still working 100 miles south of the city and was away most of the week made my weekend socializing that much more fun and interesting. Now that I have resigned from my job and I'm up here full time, I am faced with a hell of a lot of free time. MJ works 50-60 hours a week, so I'm frequently on my own again for entertainment. After spending a chunk of money and effort to move up here, I find myself passing my increasing idle time with...the internet, music, and booze. I get offers to do things somewhat frequently, but being a one income household, money has become a bit tight and I can't rationalize spending money to go out when it could be used to purchase groceries, gasoline, or cheaper, larger quantities of alcohol.
Well...that's the main reason/excuse. See, despite being a relatively fun, full of life guy, I still have to force myself to socialize. It doesn't come naturally to me as it does to MJ. Once I'm around people and relaxing, I can be the life of the party. Getting to that point, however, is a white knuckled, mule kicking, pain in the ass. The more time I spend alone, the more freaked out I get by social situations. Going to meet someone for a beer, or hanging out at someone's house is a terrifying prospect for me. I can't count how many potentially great social engagements I have missed out on because I couldn't face them without some kind of security blanket (ie: MJ).
On top of the complete wasting of social opportunities here in Kansas City, it's beginning to affect small, trivial things. I put off going to the grocery store. I get butterflies in my stomach when I have to interact with people, whether it's while shopping, running errands, or even going in somewhere to pick up a carry out order. It's even gotten to the point where some nights I hope MJ has gotten a ride home with a coworker, so that I don't have to leave the apartment.
I'm sure that I'm exaggerating things a little bit as I am prone to do. It's not as if I'm some scary shut in out of a Dean Koontz novel, swathed in a terry cloth robe, who will claw my eyes out if I have to deal with the cable guy. It is, however, something I think needs addressed. My hope is that it's a more a symptom of boredom and being a bit bummed about not having a job, combined with my natural shyness, and not some pathology rearing it's ugly head. I'm trying to withhold self prognosis until I find employment or enroll in school. I keep thinking that once I'm feeling more comfortable and sure of our situation, I'll be a wee bit less crazy.
DISCLAIMER: For those of you in KC. Please don't assume that if I can't do something with you that it's a result of this. It may just actually be that I'm flat broke...Fat boy's gotta eat...
Post Script: I just spent 20 minutes talking to our maintenance guy about dogs, the neighborhood, the complex, getting together with the other tenants for a bbq, and maybe going and grabbing beers sometime...so maybe MJ won't have to keep our pets from dining on my soft parts after all...