Tonight, a couple friends from work asked me out for a drink after work. I’ve been up here 10 months and, secretly, that’s all I’ve ever wanted.
I said no.
Rather, I said yes then bailed. Arguably worse. I was the caboose of our little caravan. The others turned off before we reached our destination. I arrived and couldn’t figure out where to park. I didn’t understand the signs.
I panicked. I left.
I think this goes a step beyond social anxiety. My old roommate once told me there were 3 types of people: those who blatantly disregard the law, those who obey laws that are right and just, and then there are those who obey the law out of fear.
Sadly, I am the last. I have no idea where to park or what the punishment is for parking in the wrong spot. I’m unclear as to what the legal limit for drinking and driving is. What if someone brings marijuana with to the bar? How fast will I be sent to jail for knowing them?
I’m ignorant of the law. And it has become a crippling social disorder. I literally believe that I can be pulled over and arrested every time I leave the house. And I have no basis for this whatsoever. I pay all my bills, never touch a drug; I’m the very definition of ‘keeping ones nose clean.’
Why then can I not just have a drink with my friends? Why do a thousand bullet trains of fear have to shoot through my brain?
Another thing I learned to tonight: I haven’t been anywhere. I haven’t experienced anything. One of my coworkers just got back from Thailand. My other coworker took 2 weeks and roadtripped to Colorado, smoked endless weed, and wrote music in the mountains.
And, yes, I had a panic attack when he told me about the weed. I’ll be wide awake all night waiting for the Feds to knock my door down because of this post.
But the point is the same; I’ve never lived. I sat and dicked around on Facebook from my phone as they swapped stories. I had nothing to contribute. Have nothing.
They are still at the bar, I know, though the texts have stopped. I had my Doritos and my beer. That’s a party for me now. I never wanted to be ‘this guy’ but here I am; one parking mixup and I’m out like a light.
One thing’s for sure, my brain will never stop jumping to the worst possible scenario. And I will never experience anything because of it.