Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Maybe I'm not really good for anything.

Today was Orientation for the new job (even though I've been working there since the 19th). I had to sit for 8 hours (punctuated, to be fair, with regular breaks and such) in a fairly uncomfortable chair and absorb lots of information (much of which I had already learned, but there was enough new material that I couldn't just safely zone out, either). At first it was OK. But after several hours, the 16 year odl girl across from me began to fidget endlessly with her necklace. The sight of it swinging back and forth disrupted my vision.....I put a sheaf of paper between her necklace and my line of sight, and that helped, but I'm sure it looked strange. Then the lady next to me began to bounce her leg, and it made a sort of impatient sound and well as providing visual distraction. This was worse, because just beyond her was the teacher, and I couldn't easily block the vision of the neighboring gal and still see the teacher or the projector screen. Meanwhile, the seat just seemed to get more and more uncomfortable.

When I finally got home, my muscles were all tense and pinchy feeling, so I decided to go back to the health club and take a soak in the whirlpool. There will be about an hour of time left before they close once I get there. Soooo......I get to the club, get the locker key, and go to the ladie's locker room. A woman in scrubs is in a stretching position, the one meant to stretch the hip joints (as you might imagine, I am well acquainted with this exercise). I put the stuff I won't need in the locker, and as she coems out of the stretch I ask her if she also works for the hospital, etc. She talks to me, but something about me must be strange, because she eyes me in a.....uneasy but polite fashion and makes her getaway ASAP. I must have done something.....

But, I shrug this off and get into the shower. I already had my swimwear on under my street clothes: a swimsuit and a cute little pair of hawaiian print shorts which are slightly tight. They're made of some kind of water resistant, unstretchy material. I know that I should take the swimwear off when I shower, but the shower curtain isn't wide enough to cover the doorway without leaving a 2-3" gap. I'm scared someone will see my pudgy body. Worse, they might not know I'm in the shower. What if they draw the curtain back entirely before they see I'm there?? So I shower by degrees, which is to say that most of me gets washed, but in segments, before being hastily reclothed again. Upon entering the spa area, I noticed two other women in the pool, and I'm relieved very much when I see that they've left it and are doing a post-soak shower. I push the button to turn on the jets and happily immerse myself in the hot, HOT water. I've been cold for most of the day....oh, it is so nice. I soak in there for a long time and eventually get bored. I experiment with the various jets to try to massage my stiff neck (it can't be doen without submerging my nose, in other words, not really at all). I see that only 15 minutes have elapsed. Huh. I should have exercised a little bit first. I'm so fat, 135# now when I used to be 115#. I think about my friend and how I should coordinate our schedules somehow. I rarely exercise because I'm afraid and painfully self-conscious. What if my clothes are wrong? What kind of clothes do I need? What if I sweat and start to smell? What if I do things wrong or slowly or I look like a dork or a wimp (I am seriously out of shape). Maybe I should get into shape first somewhat and then come here as well. Maybe I should start bicycling again. My own bike is trashed. The front rim is all bent and skewed. If I could get it fixed, I could ride it again. I used to be so buff. I think about when I rode some 14, 15 miles or more a day with the kids in a trailer behind me. The thing is, I just don't have the time for that now. I think for a while about ways I could schedule time for riding my bike and which roads would be good.

I process all this for a while, and then the jets stop of their own accord, and I realize that I need to pee. The restroom is the only real choice, but I'm terrified of running into someone. In the water, under all that foam, it doesn't matter. Out of the water.....I don't want to see anyone, or for anyone to see me. Still, I don't have a choice. I go towards the door timidly. Just as I'm about to open it, a girl enters and pokes her head in. She's very young and pretty and trim, and even more terrifyingly, she looks very reserved and quiet. She sees me, and I retreat into one of the showers, because I don't know what else to do. I stand there in the shower feeling quite foolish. She's gone, and I wonder if the coast is clear, can I go to the bathroom yet. I look through the glass of the door, don't see the girl, so I make a run for the bathroom. Now I have another problem. These cute little shorts are still tight, and now they're wet. They're amazingly hard to peel off. As I'm doing so, I suddenly realize that I'm not just my thoughts and an inner voice speaking its monologue....I have a body, and the body is attached to me. How awkward and unfortunate. Now, I'm still all wet. The toilet....what if I get it wet? (mental picture of some hapless person, like that young girl, sitting down on a soppping wet toilet seat). I spy the toilet seat covers. Yeah, these are especially useful at a time like this, thinks I. My very wet fingers tear the cover at first, but at last I coax it out of the dispenser, mostly intact, and spread it carefully over the seat. Now I can sit down, and I do so. Upon arising, there's a problem. The seat cover has adhered itself to my buns. A panic begins to form as I try to peel it off. It disintegrates into small, wet pieces of paper. What if I have to come out of the restroom covered in bits of white paper stuck to my body? Eeek! This is bad, bad, bad news. I pick at all the paper until it seems that I've divested myself of most of it. The seat is covered in splodges of wet paper, too. Damn. I get some fresh toilet paper and clean off the seat carefully. It's quite a relief when the toilet washes all that hateful paper down its throat. Now: the shorts. I eye them distrustfully. Well, OK, let's give it a go. I put my feet through the holes and maneuver the garment just past my knees. At that point, it begins to stick and roll up...there is just no way in heck that I'll be able to get them back on, but I try anyway. What will I do? Seem here's the thing. Unlike my normal aspie self, I have forced myself to shave under my arms, and the entirety of my legs. But we all have limits, and going around with an itchy, bristly crotch is one of mine. I haven't shaved there, and I don't especially intend to. Without the shorts, though, that hair will show. How will I get out of the bathroom? Someone might see me. I finally settle for holding the damp shorts in front of me, peekign aroudn corners, and, seeing noone, getting back into the pool quickly. I fling the impractical, teenage-girl-intended shorts off into the corner where my towel is, and reflect that the towel will give me a convenient escape route back out of the pool. I can just wrap it around my waist.

More soaking, ahh......Then the young, perfect body girl comes back in. I don't loook at her. She has on a bikini and a perfectly flat stomach. Good thing the jets are on. My body's under the water, this body that I'm tied to. I don't talk to her because frankly, not only do I not know what to say, but for soem reason, I am petrified of this girl. She leaves soon, and I realize what teh problem is: this nice, new job has given me enough days off in a row that I feel like myself again, for the first time in months. I'm not dead inside, I'm still here. But it's a tradeoff, see....because the more I feel like myself, the more my social skills go down the drain. Left to myself, I probably could easily become agoraphobic, and I know this. It's part of why I do work instead of getting on disability. If I work almost every day, like I did at the store, where I rarely got two days off in a row, I both develop and maintain the social skills. But then we see the tradeoff agian, because I become an automaton, I've got no passion, I don't feel like myself, I'm lost, no sense of being centered.

I can have me or I can have the social skills. Having both is just a really fine line.

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