It’s happened more times than I care to remember. That moment where I find myself alone in a crowded room.
“How is it they are all just so…”
“Everyone knows each other here and I don't even know myself it seems”
The locations are different but the vibe is always the same. A room. A larger room, ornately decorated. The sharp pinch of alcohol in my nose, the pressure of matching a sultry gaze from across the room. They roam in packs and I’m the lone wolf. “Walk into the room like you own the place” is what I’m often told when I need a dose of pick-me-up. But if everyone owns the room… where do I stand? The crowd always looks different, but to me they are always the same. Fancy clothes, toothy smiles, spilled wine, and sweaty handshakes.
I try my best to avoid the eyes. Brown eyes, blue eyes, green eyes and the black eye of a lens. That eye is what I avoid the most. I shy away from it, hiding behind a post or strategically placing my face behind someone with a big hat.
Why? How? Just.. call it insecurity.
“He’s an introvert” is what I pretend to hear when I think people are thinking of me. The weight is heavy on me now as I find myself faced with only two options. Should I stay or should I go? I came with a purpose, I show up with intention but… and there’s always a but...I came alone. Part of me gets off on it. I feel if I have a bad experience then I have the ultimate excuse to leave and go home.
I do it to myself.
I always do it to myself
Just.. call it self sabotage.
I remember once, they moved me to the front row. That was a mistake. This time, I will politely decline. Someone wants me to meet someone else, but I have to escape to the bathroom. I actually don’t have on the right clothes, I don’t have the right pitch, I didn’t bring the right person with me. My phone is dead and I just got food poisoning from the crudités. Anything to avoid everything surrounding me.
I isolate myself. I wear headphones to avoid the outside world but secretly I want to be a part of it. I wear shades on cloudy days and my brim is always kept low. Is incognito mode trending yet? The other part wishes for invisibility but still possesses the power of impact. Kind of like Charlie. His entire existence is through a speakerphone. Does he even exist? Of course he does... but how do we really know? If you don’t see me, will you still respect me? If you don’t capture me, was I even there?
This is what it’s like… all the time. But mostly I’m OK with it. I look great and yes, I ate all the carrots in the crudités. Did you know I really like carrots? Would you notice enough to ask? That’s the question and the reason. Of all the events and all the venues and all the crowds - very few care enough to ask. Perhaps that’s why I feel so alone in a crowded room. They mingle in packs, bouncing from one to the next.
More spills and sweaty handshakes. More eyes to avoid and again with the flash. I try to find someone else eating to avoid talking. Maybe there is someone here that likes tomatoes as much as I like carrots. I wonder if they hope someone finds them too. I can be that guy. The one who finds the only other introvert in the room. Perhaps I’ll offer them a carrot or two.