Being a sociable human being is not something that comes naturally to me. My abstinence from any social tête-à-tête is certainly a provocation I’ve become expertly adept at avoiding. You’d think integrating yourself into conversations would become easier as you got older, that it would become a more natural and fluid necessity in maturity. But frankly the exchange of dialogue, however trivial is still something I struggle to engage with. My job requires a degree of active communication, primarily to train new recruits, assist with stock management and general admin, which are interactions I’m comfortable doing. But it’s the innate, casual conversations I have trouble with.
Engaging in any vocal associations is not only incredibly awkward but also intolerable to me. A conversation instigated by me is usually direct, short and to the point. No prattle, no amusing anecdotes, just a brief chat that conveys everything I need say. Now I’m not suggesting I’m some rejected Skynet project sent back from a post Brexit Britain, without the ability to express human emotions. That’s only partially true. Levity is not concept that totally alludes me when I talk to people, I just find that I’m completely uninterested in people’s boring little lives. That may seem harsh, but it’s sadly true. I struggle to maintain eye contact as I begin to search the room for more interesting subjects to distract my attention. It doesn’t help that I’m also the most sarcastic individual on the planet. As a result people often interpret these contemptuous remarks as insults. That these brazen, yet harmless remarks are instinctively voiced to insight people, which isn’t the case. It doesn’t help my introverted nature that some of my colleagues aren’t people I enjoy associating with either.
There’s a distinct, often vigorous display of adolescent masculinity that pervades the work place, especially in the canteen. With many conversations straying into misogynistic declarations or assertions about other female employees. It makes for uncomfortable and frankly unpleasant working environment, forcing me to be even less inclined to chat. You’re expected to laugh at their crass little anecdotes concerning some unspecified women and their drunken, casual encounter. Or be enthralled by a story about some altercation outside a nightclub that resulted in another person being beaten. Throw in some “casual” racism and homophobic slurs and you’ve got my lunchtime entertainment. Amusing right? Now it’s worth noting that these kind of insensitive conversations aren’t a prominent fixture amongst the majority of the staff, just a few of younger lads looking to assert some primitive form of dominance over their peers. But it’s just another example of why I don’t engage in extended conversations with many people.
I wish that I could regale colleagues with some amusing story, expressed in a verbose and amusing manner that enraptured the room. But sadly that just isn’t me. And I’ve excepted that, even if it does get me down sometimes. I still enjoy the company of others, to a degree and I certainly don’t sit around stoically remarking how fun shouldn’t be part of the work environment. I still have a laugh, I just don’t talk about it too much.