Learning To Blend

I know it’s hard to believe, given the abundance of charm I spew all of this place, but I’m sort of a forgettable person.  Now, now, I’m not saying this to illicit sympathy or disbelief, I just am.  It comes from years of Blending Into The Wallpaper training and not saying any words outloud with my mouth.  I don’t go out, when I do, I don’t say much, I don’t eat lunch in the breakroom, I don’t attend after-work social functions like staff appreciation days or Christmas parties, I don’t play sports or belong to any clubs or groups, and I don’t really keep in touch with anyone.  I’ve made myself forgettable.  That was sort of the end-goal and hurrah!  I’ve succeeded!

Example 1:

“Your face looks so familiar.”

“I’ve worked with you for nine years.”

Actually happened.  To be fair, we don’t work within the same department, but still.  Same building.  We’ve even been in meetings together with as few as four other people.  But that’s ok.  Like I said, I don’t blame anyone for not remembering me because I’m not memorable.  By design.

I don’t think I’m confusing being forgettable with being unlikeable, but it’s possible.  I mean, I’m pretty sure I’m nice enough.  I use my manners, I smile if I have to, I laugh at people’s jokes, even if I’m just being polite.  But then again, I don’t say much and I tend to find a good excuse to vacate the situation, so my shyness and awkwardness could certainly be described as cold and stand-offish which probably doesn’t make any friends, much like salad.

This is partly why I actively dodge people I recognize when I’m out in public.  Besides all the usual dreaded small talk, I have the embarrassing task of having to answer “where do I know you from?,” and of re-introducing myself because they couldn’t leave that feeling of vague recognition alone, and of seeing the look on their faces when they either a) can’t place me even after I’ve told them why they should or b) realize that they never liked me in the first place and then they have to fake enthusiasm.  You know what?  It’s ok.  I’ll just go.  “Where do I know you from,” if you think about it long enough, can just as easily be “my mind has other, more important things to remember than you” but that’s only if you think about it for too long.  On the flip side to this is that I have impeccable facial recognition, so I always know where I’ve seen their face before, even if it was from grade school and they were two grades ahead of me, if I once was standing behind them in the line at the grocery store, or if their kid was baptisted the same day as one of mine.  Names, not so much, but I’m good with faces.  I remember every one of them almost immediately and know with much certainty that I have no interest in making with the small talk with such a face.

And then there’s this Internet business.  This is a confusing sort of place because for the first time in my life, I do want to be memorable up in this mess.  I want you to know my name (at least the Jen O. part) and be familiar with my blog and enjoy my Twitter feed, which are here to entertain you.  I’m better with the typed word rather than the spoken variety and so this whole “communicating with people” thing is like a joyous novelty to me.  My words on these virtual pages are permanent and sometimes people even pay attention.  Here, I can say things and once in a while people will read my words and be compelled to comment on them.  AND THAT’S ALMOST LIKE HAVING A CONVERSATION, BITCHES.  Who SAYS I have no social skills?  LOOK AT ME NOW!  And if there’s even the slightest sense of “where do I know you from”, I can easily refer you to Post #1 and you can go from there.  I can be vaguely memorable without having to speak to anyone!  This Internet dohickey is the GREATEST INVENTION OF ALL TIME.

I want to be Someone while still being No One.  Make sense?

So maybe no one in my life knows I’m a real thing.  That’s ok.  I’m fine with that because that’s what my entire life has been leading up to.  If you don’t say anything, no one will remember you were there, right?  Well, I’ve got my family and my books and maple walnut frozen yogurt and my comfy pants and my computer screen to validate my existence.  They’ll remember me when I’m gone.  That’s enough.

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13 thoughts on “Learning To Blend

  1. This post gave a whole lot of meaning to your tweet. Was that only yesterday? Why do I feel like I know that tweet?

    Do you sometimes wish you were more outgoing and remembered? Or is this what you’ve created for yourself because it’s what you wanted? Like a comfort blanket covering you keeping the evil out?

    Oddly enough this reminded me of the Mel Gibson movie “What Women Want” and he suddenly takes notice of the younger girl in his office, the one he never noticed. But he can hear her thoughts, and although they are suicidal and self-deprecating he totally admires the quality of her words and how funny she is… Not that I’m comparing you to a lonely suicidal girl, but your words will always have depth and ring true to me.

    I still find it hard to believe that you wouldn’t be missed.

    • Bad timing with that tweet. I was just wondering if I could slip out of work early and my absence go unnoticed.

      I think maybe I admire people who are more outgoing, but I definitely like how I am. I like quiet things and I like my space.

  2. Amen. In real life, I kind of blend because the things I find exciting and satisfying to those around me aren’t exactly excitement worthy of fireworks or parties. Plus, I like my space and don’t really dig obligation.

    But online, I try and do my best to foster more community and ACTUALLY COMMUNICATE with other people. It’s kind of amazing. I dig it.

    • I hear you. My things I enjoy don’t include partying and hanging with gaggles (is that a word?) of people. I played that role for a while, but it wasn’t me.

  3. Will you be at BlogHer? Because I maybe, sorta might recognize the top half of your head, and I will want to say hello.

    • I will not be at Blogher. If I went to that sort of function, I would spend most of my time in a corner, alone. Then after a while, I’d give up and go to my hotel room and nap.

  4. I remember you. And in real life (at least the small part of it I had the opportunity to share with you) you are engaging. When I think of you, I think of an intelligent, witty, respectful woman. And although we don’t see each other, I do think of you. Quite often in fact.
    I get you on the obligation and small talk thing though. I find small talk exhausting. And don’t get me started on obligation — I have enough of my own obligations that when I’m made to feel obliged to someone else, I shut down completely.

    Anyway. You’re not as forgettable as you may think. At least to those who take the time to notice.

  5. You were one of my very good friends in High School and I can tell you that you are a very fun person to hang with! I find you very social and funny online with your blog but I found you that way in real life too!

      • I find it’s the kids that turn us a little hermity. We either can’t go out because of them or we are too tired to go out because of them or we don’t want to go out because we’d rather be with them! With a little practice though, you can become un-hermity again!

  6. I hear you. I feel pretty much the exact same way. I suck at communicating outside of this computer world because I am so out of practise. Something simple as common coutesy gets forgotten. If someone asks about my kids I politely tell them how well they are doing…and then the coversation ends awkwardly there and only later will I think…oh shit…I should have asked them about their kids.

    But I am content with my quiet little world and I hate when it’s imposed upon well meaning social people. lol.

    I do love your blog though! And your tweets! 🙂

  7. I think the only reason my husband and I were able to get it together was that, in the beginning of our courtship, we weren’t allowed to see each other (no, neither of us was in jail) so the whole wooing part was done with love letters – stuff I would rather die a thousand deaths than say out loud. Plus you can edit and rewrite and change your mind completely, and you never get an awkward throat gurgle mid-sentence, and it doesn’t matter if you have food in your teeth. Overall, I’m much better in writing.

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