Sun, Feb. 8th, 2015
As I am writing this, I have just returned from the event I am about to describe, although no words exists to faithfully encompass the sheer awkwardness of the entire thing. Also: I was kind of on my way to sloshed during dinner, though sharp enough to remain annoyed and awake, and it's basically wearing off pretty quickly. (Sad, that.)
The setting: beginning of the semester welcome back dinner for college residents.
(I would be facedesking so hard if I were in front of a desk at this very moment, don't think I wouldn't!)
The pointlessness of the exercise should not be lost on anyone, nor how immensely famished I was by that point in the day. I would have enjoyed it more had food been readily available on the spot. I treat meals with the amount of seriousness they deserve. The musical renditions by people who genuinely have no business being in the general vicinity of an open mic cannot be represented in words, nor could video, as far as I'm concerned, express the absolute sense of desolation I felt upon realising dinner was going to be beyond slow in coming.
It's not as if I enjoy being a Ms Grumpy-Trousers, but unexpected social situations are never my cup of tea, especially when I know literally no one. Being forced to attend things I totally do not enjoy? Major bummer. And anxiety-inducing. My coping mechanism? Getting progressively drunker on mimosas and cheap white wine (which totally did not go with the dubious chicken) because why the hell not!
The lack of salad was devastating, by the way. Then again, the entire menu minus the desert was a grave disappointment to my taste buds—hardly a change from the usual. Does salt severely offend the person cooking the food? Do spices represent too much of a colonial throwback and cultural appropriation that the cook resents them on principle? 'Cause I totally get it (though I doubt it occurs for reasons related to cultural sensitivity), but, man, I need me some flavour. The desert was too store-bought for words, but at least it happened to be a form of coffee cake, and thus I could hardly resists a double-portion.
I swiftly departed after asking myself Has it been sufficiently awkward yet? and getting a mental reply very much in the affirmative.
I fail to comprehend why these sorts of events are ever needed. The level of inclusiveness they strive for is never achieved. If anything, I felt the most isolated since arriving back on campus. I sat next to a girl equally uncommunicative as me, and the few words we exchanged was enough to show that we were on equal footing anxiety-wise as well. She mentioned her dislike of small talk and I wanted to weep in gratitude that someone totally got it. And that I would not be subjected to it during dinner, too.
For the love of all that's holy—and by that I mostly mean cake—how am I supposed to interact with people for the next four months in the residential college in which I reside? How did I manage it before?
There goes my Sunday evening!