I admit it: I’m an anti-social git, personality type, ASG.
In my own home, you will find me a gracious host, providing the sweetest hospitality. I am at your service, attending to your every need. My home is my sanctuary, where I find myself at ease.
If I am to venture out, it will be to enjoy the company of a close friend. To walk in the hills, or to sit in comfortable surroundings for conversation and coffee. I have learnt to choose my companions wisely. Mostly I just listen, recycling conversations we’ve had a hundred times before.
Larger gatherings, I’m not much fond of. In such gatherings, I assume the role of court jester, lightening the mood with jokes nobody finds amusing. In gatherings, every friend amiable one-to-one will transform into my harshest critic. They call it friendly banter. I call it always being the butt of the joke. They say we’re just joking around. I say it grows wearisome.
Admittedly, much of mankind deploys alcohol as a social lubricant to overcome their inner awkwardness. Fortunately, I kept the company of a violent alcoholic in the mid-’90s, which convinced me that was not the way of life for me. Thus, I just make do with good company in quiet surroundings, filling their stomachs with food.
I avoid socials at work, knowing that my voice is the exact same tone as background noise. In the community, I just do what is necessary, wandering amongst strangers. Only the old men try to hold conversations with me, though my rudimentary Punjabi only goes so far. Usually they manage, “Where have you been? We thought you were dead!” Such love.
My wife tells me I should get out more. “Whatever happened to your biscuit dunking society?” she asks me now. What a turn of events, my beloved actively encouraging me to eat biscuits! Meet up with your friends, she petitions me. She’s right, but my grumpy old git persona is hard to shrug; I must seek out a few more grumpy old gits to keep me company.
For my part, I am quite content assuming the role of anti-social git. Years ago, when making friends really mattered to a young man’s developing psychology, it bothered me that I was forever on the periphery looking in, ignored. It bothered me that I was never invited to the party, and that the default behaviour of everyone who encountered me was to mock and deride me. But I have grown out of that.
No, I am content with my station in life. The quiet man, say some (tell that to my children). Robinson Crusoe, prize recluse. Bumbling fool, shuffling around in his slippers, uffing and arring. Shy and retiring, said one, though I only remember not being able to get a word in edgeways. All very kind ways to say what we all know to be true: I’m quite simply an anti-social git. Welcome to my world.