I sat down in the locker room just outside the swimming pool a Los Cab Sports Club. I was a tired after only an hour of swimming, so I tried my best to absorb the serenity of the tiny, poorly lit locker room. After a minute, a little kid no older than five years old walked in singing a song. I remember vividly, in my head, hoping that this kid wouldn’t try and start a conversation with me. I looked down and tried to act like he hadn’t entered my bubble of quietness when he plopped down right next to me and announced that the pool was so cold. And that’s when it hit me…I am more socially awkward than a child less than half my size and well under half my age.
How on Earth I ended up like that, I don’t know. And quite frankly I’m writing about all this less than 24 hours after it happened so I haven’t had too much time to put thought into it, but it hit me that something happened over the past 10 years that has made me less open to conversations with strangers, even small ones who are eager to share stories of their last night dinner. Maybe it’s just what happens during those strange self enlightening teenage years, or maybe its the pandemic of social media, or worst of all… maybe its just me.
To begin teenage years are always a strange time. Its the period when kids are stripped of their right to act like children. There are certain freedoms that kids are given and that kids grown accustomed to having. Kids can spill food and barf and run around until they trip and they won’t be judged. they basically have a free pass from judgement, but when they enter their older years, they must conform to what people expect. This shift is a heavy one, and its open cause for some teenagers to hide away and reside in solitude.
Another thing I always hear is that social media is making people less social. I normally oppose this view point with extreme intolerance, but after that little boy showed up in that little locker room, I’ve done some reconsidering. I’ve noticed that phones are an integral part of daily life, and more importantly there and escape hatch from any uncomfortable situation. Whenever the occasion, I have the open power to turn on my phone and appear as busy as need be. But maybe this cushion has made me unready for facing uncomfortable situations. Maybe the skill of being “unawkward” is something that requires practice, and I’ve been avoiding practice ever since I’ve had 5G service.
Now of course there is the possibility that I am just an awkward guy. There are so many factors in the way I was raised that affect the way I am now. For starters, I hardly ever got to hang out after school prior to 9th grade since my parents drill into my head to socializing was an abstract waste of time. Or perhaps its the fact that I only really am used to talking to people that I’ve known for at least several years. I could just be a naturally shy person.
As it stands all three of those choices have equal validity. For all I know, it could be all three. But this situation has brought this dilemma to the front of my mind and I am determined to figure this out