Lately I’ve been wondering if I have a problem with dealing with people. Seriously. Little Miss Sunshine over here has been wigging out on folks lately.
For instance, let me tell you a story.
This past Sunday, my family quietly pulled onto the side of the road to pick up their little runaway grown-up girl who had decided she was ready to leave the luncheon and was sitting on the steps of an old church building. Just minutes before, we had all been eating together at a church meal up the road. I left the table in search of desserts. An older woman at the church asked if I would get her two chicken wings. “Sure, no problem.” I got two styrofoam plates – one ready for the chicken, one for my dessert. I looked inside the box of chicken. Only breasts left. *sigh* I grabbed the smallest one and thought, Maybe she’ll be satisfied with this. Then for good measure, I also grabbed a chicken tender. Yes, that’ll do her.
I kept moving down the line towards my precious desserts. I was so close when another older woman started talking me. She asked what I was up to and where I was living and what church I attended and why that church was nondenominational and what on earth could have made them make that decision. Lady, why you askin’ all dem questions?! I’m sorry. I just don’t do small talk. It’s exhausting. It’s impersonal. It’s often a little too nosy for my taste. And who cares why the church is nondenominational? I abruptly ended the conversation by saying, “To me, the church is the church,” then smiled and walked away. For whatever reason, that little snippet of a conversation was enough to make me want to get out of dodge. I handed the plate of chicken to my brother who conveniently showed up at that moment and told him I couldn’t be around people much longer. Then I made a b-line for the door. I threw away my unused plate reserved for dessert and walked past a line of people without raising my eyes. I walked down the gravel driveway to the main road and just kept on walking. I walked about a quarter mile before deciding I should turn around and stay closer to my family and the car that would take me safely back home.
I cried as I walked down the road. I couldn’t tell you what exactly it was that prompted this crying episode. But it happened. And I didn’t feel like being around any people in that moment. I finally rested my caboose on the steps of the old church building, unused for over two years now, located across the road from the new facility where lunch was taking place. The plan was eventually for me to work up the nerve to march back over to where my family was before anyone realized I was gone. But then again, I had been crying. My eyes were swollen and my face was splotchy. Hardly fit to be seen. So there I lingered on the old church steps. Just sitting like a little toddler with my elbows on my knees and my face propped up on my hands. That’s exactly how my family found me when they emerged from the long driveway leading up to the church steps and pulled off the road to pick me up. They didn’t ask any questions – just rolled up, unlocked the doors, and had me climb in. I was quiet the whole ride home. When I arrived home, I curled up in my dad’s recliner and didn’t stir until I woke up 3 hours later. They say naps usually help a grumpy toddler. I was hoping that was so for me also.
Any idea why such a bubbly person who is all about helping others would so suddenly without warning find talking with people intolerable? I’m still trying to make sense of it all. For now, I will postulate that it all goes back to fatigue and stress and uncertainty about the future. More on that to come. In the meanwhile, my focus is to say the positive things I already know and then eventually my attitude will catch up.