After volunteering on Tuesday at volunteer place #2, one of the employees was taking the elevator down with me so he started to make small talk. He asked me what I do and I said I was looking for work. He started to tell me about a group he runs (a progressive cross-issue group that networks through bimonthly social events) and that I should come and see if anyone had any job information. They happened to be having a meeting this Thursday, actually the 3rd birthday of the org and it was going to be at a bar with about 50 or so people…and cupcakes. I debated going til the very last minute. Finally I got dressed and went on my way, telling myself that I needed to do something to help my situation, both socially and economically. I got there and the bar itself was crowded, which freaked me out some, but the party was downstairs so I wouldn't be near any regular patrons. I went down and there were already a bunch of people. I got my nametag and a bingo sheet. Yes…a bingo sheet. We were going to be playing bingo; the type of bingo where you have a card filled with phrases like "I'm a vegan" and "I'm new to Boston" and you have to go around talking to people to get it filled out. Basically, a nightmare for someone with anxiety.

I only knew two people there, the guy who had invited me and another woman who works at volunteer place #2. I said hi to them and that done I looked around awkwardly. There were small groups everywhere and I had no idea what to do. I picked out a table in the middle and started fiddling with my cell phone. Someone came up to me and started talking for a little while then went off to mingle elsewhere. I'm a loser so I pretty much sat there all night and stared around dolefully until someone came to talk to me (I had a beer, but it didn't do much for my anxiety). Some conversations lasted only a minute, some went longer. I met a girl in a lesbian rock band, a phone sex worker, a girl who'd just come back from 2 years of teaching in the Dominican Republic (I thought we would have a long conversation, but that turned out to be one of the minute long ones). I met some people that were also unemployed. There were actually a great number of people there looking for work (we raised our hands), but I felt embarrassed every time I said I was out of work and looking for an admin job. Probably because most people have only been unemployed for a month or two.

The person I felt most comfortable speaking with was the 20 year old intern. I usually feel completely uncomfortable around people that age, but she was really nice to talk to. The guy who invited me kept trying to make me be more social, but I just couldn't make myself go up to people, even though that's what everyone was supposed to be doing. There was a cute guy who had said he had job info, but I couldn't make myself go up to him. I looked hopefully at him, but he never came to me either. I'd planned on making myself stay 1 hour, but somehow I ended up there for about 2 hours. When the last person I'd been talking to left I decided I didn't want to sit awkwardly alone again and got up to leave. Of course I ran into a woman and she stopped to talk and another woman came over to talk…mostly they talked to each other. When that was done I went to say goodbye and thank you to the organizer and started heading out the door. I'd wanted to say goodbye to the intern, but I couldn't spot her in the crowd.

When I got home I was emotionally drained, but at least I tried…somewhat. I'm also signed up to go to an SA meetup at the beginning of next month. The social group is also having an event the day before. That might be too much though, two consecutive days of people. Everyone there is really great though, so I'd like to try another event. I'm either going to get used to people or break my brain from the exertion.

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