1. Ducked into a store to avoid someone I knew on the street because I didn’t want to chit-chat. Grabbed something off the rack and fled into a change room when I thought they might be peering in the window to see if it was me. Later returned the iridescent green jumpsuit to the sales assistant, whispering It’s a little snug for me as I left.
2. Snuck out of an expensive social event without saying goodbye after only 10 minutes because it was too loud and crowded to have a genuine conversation with anyone. Made the taxi driver wait while I picked up KFC on the way home. Consoled myself with a bucket of Hot & Spicy until I felt whole again. Also a little ill.
3. Felt cranky about having to attend an event I had organized in the first place. Instantly regretted my crazy and short-lived bout of sociability. Resented everyone for backing me into a corner by selfishly and thoughtlessly accepting my invitation.
4. Accepted an invitation and then cancelled plans at the last moment after an extended period of self-searching, self-justification, and general self-loathing. Repeated the cycle endlessly for years, with complete amnesia every time.
5. Manifested genuine illnesses of varying virulence and closeness to death in order to have a legitimate excuse for above plan-cancelling. Gave small, Norma Desmond-like sighs from my convalescent couch as I recuperated from my bubonic symptoms.
6. Spent entire dinner parties talking to the hosts’ kids. Texted hosts the following day to apologize for several inappropriate things that had been said. By the kids, I mean. Sheesh, kids today!
7. Stole a bottle of champagne and hung out with fishermen on their boat to escape yet more socializing at a corporate team-building weekend. Sang Sister Golden Hair with the fisher dudes. Was asked to stop. Nicely, though. They were polite fisher dudes and to be fair you probably need your ears to stop bleeding if you want to focus on catching fish.
8. Pretended not to understand the instructions when told to find a partner in a group fitness class. Fostered a confused look when asked to form a circle. Maintained an expression for the rest for the class that suggested recent and not entirely successful brain surgery so people would keep their distance.
9. *Accidentally* elbowed the person next to me at a play when I felt he was in my personal space. Vehemently denied it when my husband, frowning and rubbing his arm in confusion, asked what I did that for.
10. Faked an elaborate coughing and sneezing fit when someone looked like they were going to sit next to me at a not-very-crowded movie. Glared passive-aggressively at them when they sat there anyway. Was so distracted by my intense program of huffing and glaring that I missed most of the movie. Fortunately it was Glitter so I totally won that one.
11. Set up an extended perimeter in an uncrowded body pump class so nobody could set up too close to me. Fashioned my boundary from excess weights and spare bars. Looked nonplussed when the class finished and it turned out I had no use for all that extra equipment.