21 April 2006

Becoming a stereotype

Years ago a person was viewed suspiciously if she admitted that she had friends that she only knew online. In the minds of less computer-savvy people, those of us who hung out online were socially-inhibited folk who couldn't interact with people face-to-face. Perhaps there are still people who cling to this idea. This week, I became living proof of this theory, at least a little.

At work, I put out on my desk little things that please me. Since we aren't allowed to keep personal objects in our cubes, this display changes daily. Yesterday, I had a copy of Uncanny X-Men, a copy of Generation T, and two card games that I just got in the mail (Bang! and Give Me the Brain!). One of my coworkers stopped and asked me about the stuff on my desk. I couldn't talk. I mumbled something about liking comic books and put my headphones back on. Then I realized that I must have appeared rude, so I followed up with a well-written e-mail about the graphic novels I've read recently and what books are on my to-be-read list. It turns out that we have a few similar interests, and we exchanged a few nice e-mails before work was over.

This morning before devotions, this same coworker tried to talk to me about something I had mentioned in one of the e-mails . . . and I couldn't talk! To make matters worse, this person is known to have a bit of a self-esteem issue. She is always worried about whether people like her or are mad at her about something (part of her job is counting how many errors we make in our work, so she isn't being paranoid). I think I may have made things worse by not talking, but I couldn't think of a single intelligent thing to say when I was face-to-face with her. It's not a reaction-time issue because I am great in IRC chatrooms where a quick wit is a requirement.

What on earth is going on with me? I've been returning to hobbies and music that I haven't indulged in for years and I like that, but I don't want to return to some of my old behaviors. Once upon a time, I couldn't even talk to a salesperson to ask for an item out of a locked case. I am too old to turn into that girl again.
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