I always try to be the opposite of Goldilocks. I visit places when no one’s around and try to leave no trace that I was even there. It’s not so much a well-thought-out, premeditated decision, but rather a personality quirk.
I went to one our organization’s other buildings, to do some monthly tasks. I typically try to do this in the evening, after normal office hours, when everyone’s gone. I do this for two reasons, one logical and one crazy:
- If anyone is still using the computers when I arrive, my task will end up taking twice as long as it would have otherwise.
- I want to avoid running into other people.
I pulled up to the building and looked up at the windows from my seat in the car. I could see that the office was still occupied. I sat for another minute, then finally got out and slowly walked up the outer stairs to the door. I walked in and glanced toward the office where they were. Three people were in there – the tall buxom manager, the young hot chick, and the serial-killer-looking guy.
I hesitated. Then I lost my nerve and turned around and left. I would come back later.
The place was toooo busy.
When I came back and they were all gone, the place was juussst right.
As I left I felt the first faint and familiar stirrings of a depressed mood developing in me. I didn’t resist it much. Sometimes it’s almost as if you want to feel bad; maybe by making it seem voluntary you fool yourself into thinking you have more control over it than you really do.
It was #2, above, that triggered this, of course. (#1 gives me a viable excuse).
It goes sort of like this:
- I’m faced with a situation in which I’m shy.
- Shyness triggers avoidance and withdrawal.
- Avoidance triggers guilt.
- Then comes rumination and depression.
And frequently it seems not so much like it’s anxiety that’s making me avoid things, but pessimism. I may have reached a point in life where I don’t feel anxious so much as I just believe I’m going to botch the situation. I’m not going to freeze up, I’m going to screw up. It’s as if I have internalized an assumption that I’m going to let people down or not act the way they would like. It’s as if it’s my responsibility to make them feel comfortable, and somehow I ”know” that I’ll fail. It’s as if I don’t think I’ll be welcome and I’m inconveniencing others with my presence.
This whole thing tonight at work wasn’t that big of a deal, and will be forgotten. But I wanted to write it down anyway.