Of networking, socializing, and writerly introversion

Here’s how you know you’re surrounded by a bunch of people more comfortable at their desks than at a party: When there’s a reception or a gala of some sort, these people act like the grown-up versions of that poor reject by the punch bowl at a junior high dance. They flock to their comfort zone partners (friends, acquaintances, etc.) and stay there until the last possible moment they can leech off that person’s quietly generic conversation (“How about this weather we’ve been having?”). Then, they quickly rush over to the food/drink/other provisions and get something to occupy their hands. Next, the “I’m terribly important” brisk walking begins. Not schmoozing, not gracefully pirouetting from group to group dropping casual bits of dialogue, none of that. Just hastily traversing the entire room as if the earth’s precise gravitational orbit hinges upon their hip sockets’ speed.
OK, so they’ve made the inadequate conversation, they’ve made merry with food and drink, they’ve marched about visibly as if official, so now it must be time for the wallflower slow fade. This is the part where the people in question position themselves along an exterior wall, gradually inching toward the exit so as not to have make the uncomfortable announcement that they’re leaving early. This is handiest if there is a large trash receptacle near the aforementioned exit. They toss the cup/plate away, and WHOOSH! disappear through the nearby door like Zorro jumping for his legendary black horse.
Such is the party life of the introverted writer with unresolved social anxiety disorder. How do I know? I am one of these people. I posit this reflection only to judge myself, mostly, and provide myself with the impetus to change. Perhaps this year, during my MFA opening and closing receptions, I’ll try, just TRY, to be more Gatsby and less Mort Rainey. But it’s a process, guys and girls. Bear with me.

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