"Hey.” “Hi.” “Hey.”
One year later I finally decided to answer Jesse Bradley’s 56 hello messages on my Facebook chat.
“Were you at Will’s Pub the other night?” he asked.
“Yup,” I responded. “Why?”
“I wanted to ask you something,” he said. “I would have asked you in person if my ex-wife would have shut up long enough.”
“Sweet,” I said. “Go.”
“I run a prose reading series called There Will Be Words,” he said. “I would love to have you in it.”
“Could be fun.” I replied.
“Really?” he asked.
“Actually, no.” I said. “Pretty sure I’d rather poke drink stirrers through my eyeballs and dangle beer-can tabs off of them.”
Reasonable awkward silence.
“No, really, I’d rather die than do whatever it is you’re wanting me to do right now,” I continued.
To be fair, my replies had nothing to do with Jesse Bradley or his night. It’s just that I suffer from extreme social anxiety. I’m fucked up. I pay extra to upgrade my seats on planes so I can board first and not when there are 100 sets of eyes staring at me as I look for my seat. I will never say a nice thing out loud about you on your wedding day. I freeze at the front door of house parties. When I say I am going to go pee, it usually means I am going to leave that horribly crowded bar and drive myself home immediately.
So, read my mundane musings out loud in front of people? Not a chance in hell.
If you also suffer from social anxiety, I genuinely feel bad for you, mostly because at some point someone you care about – a friend or a potential romantic interest – will think you suck. They will be disappointed in your inability to do things that are usually fun and easy, and you will feel awful. Which is especially unfair when all you really want to do is get on Big Daddy’s karaoke stage and belt out your best rendition of David Allan Coe’s “If That Ain’t Country” to a room full of strangers … people who, for no good reason whatsoever, you can’t stand. (Or is that just me?)
How do I combat my issues? How did I get a job working in nightlife? Obviously, I got drunk. After all, even an angry drunk is more interesting than a social dud. A sloppy drunk, more entertaining. When you are sober, you have nothing to blame for your poor social skills but yourself. People will hate you, and you will never have any friends. But when you drink? Your anxiety dissipates, and you are awesome.
So, I say get wasted. Throw a buddy through a window. Squat down and pee through your underwear in the middle of a dance floor. Steal a bum’s bike and ride it into a telephone pole (I miss you, Kara).
Be the one people tell stories about for the rest of their lives. This is a new you. The fun you. You are going to be so fucking cool. Trust me. (No, seriously, don’t.) Life is going to be amazing.