Remembering How to People

Since early on in the pandemic period of our lives, I’ve been making a joke about how I don’t know how to interact with people anymore. Things like asking if licking someone’s face is the appropriate way to greet someone or not, because that’s how my dog does it. It’s not a great joke, but I work with what I’ve got…which, as a dad, is generally just corny nonsense.

However, now that we’re reaching a point in this country where it’s not as taboo to see people again, I’ve found that my joke isn’t all that far from the truth, not that I expected anyone to disagree with it.

After two years of hiding out in my house (not to mention the 2 years we were living on the farm and seeing people fairly minimally as well), I’ve found that my previously okay skills at peopling have become even more lacking. It’s not that I can’t interact with people, and it’s not even that I don’t want to interact with them, it’s just that I feel far more awkward doing so than I ever did before. And, as the awkward human that I am, that’s saying a lot.

Those two years of sitting around in sweat pants and a purple dragon sweatshirt means that I became more accustomed to being my worst self than I’ve ever been before. While I don’t want to completely turn my wife off, she knows who she married and I wasn’t exactly afraid of being as me as I could be. But now that the world exists again, I have to remember that my nose hairs grow a bit too long and I should probably do something about them before going out and seeing people. Of course, one lucky thing about being a short person living in the land of giants that is Wisconsin is that there are very few people who are looking up my nose.

And now that we have a public-facing business that we’re running, and I tend to act as the face of the business while my wife does all the actual work, I’m realizing I have to put even more effort into presenting myself as an actual human.

It’s exhausting.

Those years in lockdown meant that I could live the life like an author should, hiding out in his basement, alone, without a care for what people think he looks and acts like. Now I have to remember that not everyone wants to know about the details of character development or how World War I was really just an act of sibling rivalry or how I think that Thor: Ragnarok gets a lot more credit than it deserves (even if it’s a fun piece of cinematic candy). They’d, in fact, much rather simply talk about the weather.

So, I’m working on it. A little bit of self-improvement, I guess. To try to remember how to not only people, but also how to human.

Who knew it took so much work to be a part of society?


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