This weekend was supposed to be a little different because I was planning to go snow tubing with a Meetup group. There is actually a ski resort with a snow tubing hill, weirdly located in the mountainless Chicago suburbs. I've never been there, but I signed up to go with the Meetup group, and I was really excited about it. There were ten people signed up to go.
But, as tends to happen with Meetup groups, by Friday night eight of the ten people, including the person who had organized the outing, had cancelled their RSVPs. That left just me and one other person, a woman named "Hilary." She commented on the group page that she was still interested in going.
This left me with a conundrum. Although I get nervous in large groups, I also get nervous when meeting and having to interact with just one new person. If there were even two new people besides me, I could rely on the two of them to make most of the small talk. With just me and one other person, it seemed like a lot of pressure! I had two choices. One, go and take a chance. Two, cancel, stay home, and feel safe but bored.
I remembered the day that I went sledding with my family... how I had felt tired and been worried about being too cold, but how I had gone anyways and had a great time. I remembered my promise to myself to look for more chances to go out and do stuff. So I kept my RSVP active.
I was nervous all day about going. My mom tried to give me some last minute advice. "Just act normal. And don't do that thing with your eyes, because she'll think you're crazy. But be yourself!"
Uh... thanks. (And I don't really know what "thing with my eyes" she was talking about, although my dad claims that I shift my eyes a lot when I talk.)
I wish I could say it went swimmingly. But a few things went wrong. First of all, we hadn't known that there would be a waiting list, so from the time we got there, we had to wait in the cafe for our number to come up. It was about a forty-five minute wait, which we had to fill with small talk. I am so not good at small talk! I never know what to say, and I often end up telling weird stories that others find "inappropriate." (Ugh, I hate that word!)
Then, after we'd gone down the hill exactly twice, Hilary decided to go home. I had come prepared for the weather and was wearing Cuddle Dud pants and sweat pants under my jeans, a Cuddle Dud shirt, a regular shirt, a regular sweatshirt, and a thermal sweatshirt under my jacket, and two pairs of socks, and a hat and scarf. Hilary was just wearing her normal clothes, plus a jacket, hat and gloves. She was too cold. So she went home.
I decided to stay. I hadn't paid $17 so I could go down the hill twice! We were allowed two hours of tubing, and I stayed almost until the end.
It was fun, but also a little lonely. I mean, I loved the feeling of flying down the hill on a tube... but when I got to the bottom, I had nobody to talk and laugh with about it. I just had to calmly get off my tube and trudge back to the line.
So, mixed results. I did not bond with and make a lifelong friend with Hilary. And the fact that I stayed may illustrate another difference between me and normal humans. Hilary was interested in tubing but gave up on it after just half an hour. A normal person probably would have said something like, "Well, okay, do you want to go get a couple of drinks or something instead?" But I was more attached to the idea of tubing than to the idea of hanging out with someone I had just met, so that thought didn't even occur to me. The thought in my head was, "I came here to go tubing, I was looking forward to tubing, and I am going tubing for the full two hours!"
I did have as much fun as I could, tubing solo, and I would like to do it again someday.
|This is not me. It would have been hard for me to take a picture of myself|
snow tubing. So I just found a picture of a random person instead. But you
get the just of it, right?