There is a very nice lady in my Monday morning Barre class. She seems to have taken a liking to me, as she introduced herself two weeks ago as I hung up my mat. “I’m Joyce,” she said, and offered her hand. “Nice to meet you!” I said, and aggressively pressed the bottle of mat-cleaner spray into it.
Undeterred, last week she brought me an exercise ball just to be helpful, as I was late and rushing to set up; today, she had a station laid out right beside her, in the corner of the back row, where I like to be. She is already allowing for my natural tendency to come flying in at the last minute, pissed off because someone who had the skills to be on time invaded my spot. So, an enabler, bound to be disappointed by the depth and scope of my personal shortcomings. Like always.
She is older. Than me. Probably. This may be a delusion – truth is, I don’t know anymore. I am due for another “moment of clarity” where the person I think people see and the person they actually see morph together and I feel like a fool in my carelessly casual “I woke up like this” ensemble, because I actually look less like less the low-maintenance sexy girly from days of yore and more like I have wandered off unsupervised and someone with a clipboard and comfortable shoes and a soothing voice is looking for me to herd me back to the shuffleboard court.
So, maybe we become friends, Joyce and I. Barre friends, which is a version of the bar friends I had back in the day. Both require me to drink a lot. Both give me a headache and involve spandex. Both find me lying next to a stranger trying not to fart and wondering if I pulled a hamstring. And regretting all that Coke I had last night.
My son recently missed some school time due to an injury, and one of his friend’s mothers has been texting me to check on him, and she clearly wants to be friends, too. I know this because she is trying to joke with me. I am trying to joke back, and I’m pretty sure it’s not going well.
Her: So are you going to the band concert? (this, on the second day after he got home from the hospital)
Me: Um, no, he’s a long way from playing the drums. Have fun.
Her: Right! I’d rather be home watching The Voice!!!
I would rather have a colonoscopy than watch “The Voice,” but I don’t tell her that.
Her: How is he doing?
Me: He’s doing great. Back to school next week! I’m not loving all this homework! I already graduated from middle school! Ha, ha!
Her: I bet you’ll be calling me to book a trip to Disney this summer to celebrate!! Ha, ha!
Me: You buying? Ha, ha!
What is the matter with these people? To be fair, the Texter has never met me, but the Barre Lady has seen me squat in stretch pants, so by all rights it is she who should be avoiding me.
It is inevitable, if we become friends, that we will have small talk. I am terrible at small talk.
Unfortunate person: It’s always hotter than I expect in this class.
Me: I KNOW! I can smell body parts I didn’t know I had….
Unfortunate person: ………………
Conversations also freak me out. It will start with those light-hearted ones at the end of class, or the beginning when she smiles supportively and hands me the spare water bottle that she brought just in case I haven’t gotten any smarter since last week. Perhaps the Texter will try to organize a meetup. They will think we have something in common. They will think that I cook for fun, or read 50 Shades of Anything, or that I can pronounce “Lularoe.”
Perhaps they will want to go for coffee. This is where it will all begin to disintegrate.
Bad enough that I recently learned that my favorite coffee drink doesn’t actually have a drop of coffee in it, and I am basically a giant baby for ordering it. Worse, Starbucks still gives me anxiety, even after a decade of listening to other people order mocha-latte-skinny-foamy-whatevers. If I just get plain coffee, I will unapologetically use all the creamer and sugar on the table (see “giant baby.”)
And then the conversations get more serious. The place I live is kind of…red. Dumpster-fire red. Also, we have twice as many churches as bars. So, while she may be a nice person, it is statistically probable that one or both of them will bring up politics and/or religion, and I will run like I am being chased by bears.
If we manage to clear all these hurdles – someday one of them is bound to ride in the car with me and discover that I am a fucking psycho who uses Siri GPS to keep me on task because sometimes I am so busy screaming obscenities at the other drivers that I forget where I am going.
Then they will be mad because I turned them down for a Premier Jewelry/Pampered Chef/Passion party. And can we talk about that last one? When I was 20, these “Passion” parties were a hootenanny, but now the only thing that sounds less fun than shopping for dildos with an audience is watching The Voice.
There is only one way to handle this.
I have to move.
Do you have trouble making friends? Does Siri hurt your feelings on a regular basis?