#2. The Only Person Who Has Yet to Join a Spin-Off Conversation
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If you want a tiny taste of what it must be like to be a free agent that no team wants, get involved in a group conversation that organically splits off into smaller conversations, none of which include you. It's a strange occurrence. You saw the conversations splitting off, yet for no particular reason you didn't act, maybe figuring someone would naturally include you by opening their stance in a way that would allow you to naturally join in. Everyone has split off from the conversational empire and formed their own nations, but now you're an island hoping someone will bother to at least make you a commonwealth, open some whorehouses, and start an illicit drug empire on you.
Land nourished by the blood spilled in drug wars.
You're now left to decide which team of talkers you want to align yourself with. This part can be fun. It can make you feel powerful. I imagine it's what a vastly wealthy person feels like when they clap their hands and a team of servants brings them an exquisite assortment of pies to choose from for dessert. You can be overly picky for the hell of it. That luxurious feeling ends once the decision has been made and you're faced with finding a way into the conversation.
"Rodrigo, one more round then drown yourself in the servant drowning pool."
You can go about it by casually sliding into someone else's conversation and hoping they don't notice you hover in like a ghost longing to be among the living once more. Or, you can take the route that I've taken once or twice: Be a pathetic idiot and stand just outside of the conversation you've selected and hope someone notices you're there.
But none of it comes close to generating the same heightened level of panic as ...
#1. Overhearing Your Name in Another Conversation
Your brain loves to fill in blanks, and usually with the most vile, self-destructive shit it can conjure. Give the brain a moment where it isn't sure if someone in another conversation is talking about it, and it will fill the void with the assumption that it's being called a repugnant scumbag.
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Pictured: a huge dick.
First to arrive is the need to figure out the myriad ways you could have wronged the person who mentioned you. Maybe you pushed their mom into a pit of snakes and their way of dealing with it is talking about you behind your back? Maybe you threw their dog in a river and you're only just remembering it now? They could just be referencing an experience they shared with you, but that's too logical for the socially self-conscious brain to process.
In these moments, my brain will never assume the people talking about me are using me as an example of a really cool dude who recycles and never eats with his elbows on the table. It's never: "Blah, blah, blah, and he has the calf strength of four lions."
Or one jacked hamster.
That's the curse of finding social interaction difficult. Ultimately, no one's going to give even the tiniest morsel of a shit what you do or how you do it, or even that you did it at all. Yet, whenever something like anything I've mentioned occurs, the crew members that control my brain will place their hats over their hearts and sing the national anthem -- they've lost hope. Might as well go down with pride.