I worked in a cubicle at the same place for many many years.
And then I didn't.
And then I was at home for the last year.
I worked sometimes.
On the computer.
No human contact.
And during that year I spent a great deal of my time in a tent that I put up in the back yard, enjoying the sounds of the world and breathing real air and watching my dogs be stupid. I looked at stars before I went to sleep, and I saw the sun coming up in the morning.
I felt alive, like I'd been inside a gray capsule for many years.
But now I've returned to an office like normal people, and I don't know what to do with myself.
I've forgotten how to talk to people.
People walk up, and I know I'm supposed to do or say this or that, but I'm not sure what, and I'm confused and stupid as though I've been disturbed in the middle of the night. I find myself saying words that don't exist, and my sentences trail off into mumbling or just end suddenly:
"Do you think they will find that satis...satisfactorizational...?"
"I don't know what this thing here on my computer is supposed to... um...what is---where is---I'm sorry, who are you?"
"Yes, that's a---that's a... Yes."
I feel claustrophobic. I can't see outside. About ten times a day I think I might spontaneously jump over the desk and run all of the way back to my house...even though I drove a car to work.
I wish I could stop being a spaced-out jackass, day-dreaming down the hall and almost running into a pole or standing in someone's way. Yes, I was that person standing in there staring at the water dispenser for two minutes. And no, I wasn't even there for water. I got deep in thought, and my body just crash-landed in the nearest corner. I couldn't take off again until I finished the thought...or until someone said, "Would you like for me to show you how the water works?"
But then the rest of the time I find myself being ridiculously hyper-aware. I can't just walk or breathe or talk on auto-pilot; it's all a very deliberate and awkward process. I also hallucinate that folks are speculating: "Who is that person? Who let her in here?? She needs to leave as soon as possible!"
Boy, it must be nice to go through life not feeling like you're always about to be escorted out of the room.
Ya know, I don't really have a good reason to be this way. In my head I have a million stupid reasons, but in real life...eh, I'm probably not all that stupid and awkward. No, it's just that I was just never meant to be around people. It wasn't meant to be, I say... I just can't be responsible for what happens next.
Mingling with Other Humans