It was a rainy Saturday night. The playcentre was having a fundraiser at the hall in the village. I had a slight cold, but I still felt like I should go. And maybe it would give me something to write about on my blog.
"I thought you were sick," said Adam.
It was too late to get a sitter. When I left the house, Adam was lying on the couch by the fire, sensibly nursing his cold, and watching a movie. Did I really want to go out? I asked myself.
I drove carefully through the rain and parked my car near the hall. At the door, I said hello to A., who was standing outside with a group of people.
I looked inside the hall. Tables were arranged in intimate groups in front of the stage. Everyone was dressed up. I felt like I had stumbled into a private dinner party in my gum boots. Showing up alone on a Saturday night seemed like a faux pas. I should be here with someone, I thought. H. said hello, and I saw V. and T. get up from their tables.
I had a panic attack. This village is too small and insular. I wish I could be anonymous.
I fled to my car. I got in and sat stupidly in the dark, listening to the rain falling on the roof of the car. I took a few deep breaths and tried to calm down. I should go back, I thought. I’m already here.
Through the passenger window, I watched the people standing outside the hall in the yellow glow of a street light. The eave of the hall sheltered them from the rain.
I imagined asking Twitter for help. No, I couldn’t tweet about this. Hiding in my car was too pathetic. I checked the time on my phone. It was 10pm. I didn't want to miss the Nablopomo deadline. I had two hours to publish a post on my blog.
I drove back home.
"That was quick," said Adam.
“Have you ever been afraid to go to a pub or a party?” I asked.
“No, I just work through it,” Adam replied.
"Hmph," I said.
I have done similar things. Got all ready, drove somewhere and could not go in, so drove all the way back home. Sad in a way, but, what the heck, maybe going there wasn't such a good thing at the time anyway. You can only do what you can do.
Painful. I've been there, but like your guy I usually push through. Sometimes it's OK and sometimes I discover that my subconscious self was trying to tell me something.
I think our subconscious, if it's healthy and functioning, has the ability to sum up situations that our conscious self is not capable of doing. The weather, your health, the fact that you are alone, sure. But the more subtle cues, the expressions on the faces of those you saw, who was standing where, the smells in the room, the effect of the lighting and the storm on the mood of those around. That summed with how you felt emotionally and psychologically and there was maybe a good chance for a bad situation. Not an absolute, but maybe enough that you don't take the chance. Your mind, trying to serve your best interest, says, "Hey, let's get the F out of here."
Sorry for the ramble.
Ahh, don't worry - I'm feeling rather like running away from actual playcentre, not even a playcentre related party! Our village is possibly even more ridiculously small & insular...and I think the main reason we rocked up to playcentre more than once was my little guy's love for the pedal tractor thingee.
Might just join the toy library instead & hope they never ring up to ask what happened to us...
Anyway, this ramble was leading to I know how you feel, and there's nothing wrong with disappearing mysteriously. You can always make up a really interesting tale about where you went should anyone ask ;)
I know exactly how you feel and have done the same several times myself. Often the worst part is getting there; I fret about it and work myself up into a tizz beforehand. Other times, I want to go out and prepare for it, only to find that I freak out once I arrive and for no apparent reason. My partner is extremely supportive (sometimes I even freak out when he is there with me) but I'm sure he doesn't really understand how I feel - I don't even know why I do it myself.
"Hmph" is right... I have been there actually. When the party is way bigger, or way smaller, than I thought, when I don't know anyone, when I feel hideously out of place. Okay yes has happened.
I love that in your thoughts beforehand was "maybe I will have something to blog about"... I have had that thought too. Wonky!
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