In which Lorin laments the possible loss of her social skills

by Lorin Michel Thursday, April 21, 2016 10:34 PM

The writer Lorin used to have what she called a real job. Each day she would rise, go for a run, shower and then get into her car to drive to her place of employment. She had several jobs throughout the years following college. In fact, she’d worked fairly non-stop since she was a teenager. She had done quite a bit of babysitting even though she didn’t particularly like kids. Her first job not involving kids was in a stable in Maryland because she had decided she wanted a horse based on nothing other than the romance of it, and her mother, rather than saying ‘no’ suggested that perhaps a job in a stable might be a good idea. Lorin got a job in a stable, mucking stalls and hated it. The romance died.

After the family moved to New Hampshire, she got a job in an unfinished furniture store, then a pharmacy in a neighboring town. The only time she didn’t work was during her freshman year of college, though she did work the summer following. In her sophomore year, she got a job in a restaurant at school and worked that and several catering jobs for the remainder of college. In each job she had a lot of people-interaction as all involved in customer service. 

Once she moved west, she immediately got another job, a bad one, a stupid one, a part-time one but a job that at least brought in some money until she could get a real job. From then, she simply moved from one job to another, from one city to another, one state to another, until she finally found the beginnings of a career. She was 26. 

For the next six years, she went to the same office every day, interacted with people, and left the work when she went home. She tried a brief stint working for the LA Times but didn’t like it at all so she decided to strike out on her own. Her previous company gave her the opportunity to do that by becoming her biggest client, paying for three days a week of her time and even providing an office. She continued to interact with people.

Then she began working almost exclusively out of a home office. She had quite a few meetings so interaction and social skills were in play almost daily but as use of the internet and email grew to the point of being an exclusive way of communicating and sending documents and files, her actual people interaction became less and less. 

Another move to a new city where she knew almost no one meant that most of her interaction was now relegated to her husband and her dog. She kept up on her skills by interacting with people solely on the phone but it wasn’t the same, and then it occurred to her: what if I’m becoming socially inept?

Lorin is busy to the point of rarely leaving her office or her house. She likes this for the most part because she tends toward reclusiveness but on the rare occasion when social skills are warranted, panic and fear set in. What if?

Now, Lorin is not a big believer in ‘what if’ scenarios because what ifs don’t exist. But what if they did? 

Between a number of books being written, a booming freelance career, and being an active, daily blogger, the idea that her social skills are becoming more stale than a loaf of bread left open on the counter, more flat than a bottle of cola left open in the refrigerator, more vinegarized than a bottle of wine left unattended for too long, is becoming a very real and possible fear. 

What is Lorin going to do about this fear? She’s thinking about joining a writer’s group, to be with other socially inept individuals. And perhaps volunteering with a dog rescue group. More misfits. But in her mind, misfits are her people and if she can interact and occasionally be in social situations, her skills will not petrify but may once again become un-embarrassing, usable and even reusable. 

She thinks of it as social recycling. She thinks she might be on to something.

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