Though I don’t think of myself as socially challenged, I’ve never really “fit in” anywhere.
Certainly not in high school, not even vaguely in college, where I was usually more tolerated than welcome (I had some friends, but few close ones: my name was practically “that’s just Russ,” aka, “he’s weird, don’t worry about it”), and definitely not in grad school, where I was often a real fish out of water. Nor really in any of the workplaces I’ve been — it’s just been part of my life that I’ve learned to stick to the safe topics of conversation except around very specific people, and I’ve pretty much taken that for granted as modus operandi for at least a decade now….those moments when I forget to be this way universally being a topic of conversation used to reinforce the m.o.‘s value.
Everybody has certain facts that are distinct to their lives: “does not fit in, needs to keep mouth shut” just happens to be one of mine.
But for the past three days, I’ve been having weird dream after weird dream, precisely on this issue. Applying for positions that blatantly don’t fit (church cantor? Anybody ever heard my singing?) or in which it’s not clear what I should be doing (being an LT talking to your Captain b/c somehow you’re in the unit, but don’t have an actual role or assignment).
It’s not an employment thing — last I’ve heard, I’m in good stead on the application front… but it’s weird. Usually my dreams are much, much different. Surreal, almost-always-peaceful, weird stuff. And no, I won’t describe them (though I often do to my wife, who then shakes her head and tells me how weird I am). I haven’t had an actual nightmare since I was about eight (I remember it, it had a highway sign, werewolves, next 40 miles, and Dad had to change a flat), and even a mild social-anxiety dream not even every four or five years (last one of those? 1998 before returning to Budapest).
So I’m finding it all to be rather odd.