The other day, at work, I had occasion to share space with most of the employees of my company over the span of a few midday minutes. Most normal people use such a captive situation to shoot the breeze, shoot the shit, talk, laugh, speak of meaningless drivel with other captives. It’s what people do. Being that this is not my “scene,” I did all I could do to distance myself from the hordes of gabbing people. I found a shady spot and leaned against the wall and stared off yonder, the mass of people to my right and behind, out of my sight. I didn’t want to look at anyone. Too many faces stresses me out. I stared at the sky, the sunny hot sky. A plane flew overhead. Growing tired of this, I stared at an office across the walkway and then I moved over near a tree and tried to ingratiate myself in its skeletal shade offerings. I didn’t really know what to do with my hands. Too much sun kills my mind. I was a little more immersed in the crowd here but I still found a way to strategically isolate myself from anyone else, ie, making small talk. I had been dreading this occasion since I knew of its impending date for some while. I get along fine with many of my co-workers on an individual basis and I have no problem having conversations in the context of intimate groupings, but I hate facing the same people in large crowds. Human nature is skewed thus. People, corralled into large colonies of habitation, act differently. I want no part of it.
Later, long after the exercise had concluded, a girl in my department visited our office and accused me of being “antisocial” and not joining anyone and standing alone and she asked if I was OK. She wondered if I was “depressed.” She continued, and asked if I “needed a hug” in that really manipulative and pseudo-tender manner that women do in order to make a point while being flirtatiously disingenuous. I told her I was fine. She made it sound like something was wrong with me. I told her I was always like this, that I’m an antisocial person, but she said I wasn’t always like this. Bull. Of course I have always been like this.
I have always been like this and that is why I am what and where I am. The hardest lesson I ever learned about the workforce is just how important your Social Quotient is as an ingredient in the overall personality package you bring to your job. I don’t care how brilliant or sharp you are, if you are befuddled by the sociability requirement of working with many people, you will be persistently forgotten, overlooked, ignored and taken for granted. An even bitterer pill to swallow, conversely, is the very distasteful fact that low intelligence, lazy people will easily find acceptance, reward, praise and favor if they are adept at social manipulations. Sociability, in many work environments, can make or break your job fortunes.
Opportunities do not present themselves to the mute.