Sunday, May 25, 2008

Quiet Riot

Making friends has always been difficult for me. I am what you might call "anti-social." I don't know if I couldn't make friends because I was anti-social, or I became anti-social because I couldn't make friends. In either case, I am now a cold, humorless, unapproachable adult. And that is why we use Michael as our front man when meeting new people.

Michael is warm, friendly, larger-than-life, and people gravitate to him. Luckily, I have been able to harness his genuine, sweet personality and use it for my own sinister purposes. We put Michael out front to lure people in, butter them up, get their defenses down, then we spring me on them and see if they stick around or run. Those that stick around tend to become our friends. Those that run tend to warn others.

Since my birth, the most common phrase used to describe me has been "quiet."

"Oh, he's so quiet."
"Chance is so quiet in class."
"We would have taken him to the hospital, but he was so quiet."

In recent years, I have actually attempted to be whatever the opposite of quiet is. Loud? That seems to be what people prefer. But no matter how gregarious I am or silly or obnoxious, people still call Michael the next day and say, "Chance is so quiet." Since we're starting this new adventure here, I decided that I was going to try to be a "new Jan Brady" and change my ways. I was going to be the warm, friendly one. I was going to smile at people and answer them when they spoke to me and offer to throw water on them if they happened to catch on fire. I was going to be Marcia.

So we went to dinner with some new people the other night, and I decided to try on my best smile, small talk, chatter and charm. I asked people questions, genuinely laughed at their jokes, told funny, self-deprecating stories about myself. I knew I must have finally broken down that door and proved myself engaging and worthy of friendship. But as dinner came to a close, one of our new friends turned to Michael and said, "Chance is so quiet."

I have now reached the conclusion that I am not actually quiet at all. The truth is... people just don't listen to me. Socially, I am invisible. I suppose there are worse things to be. As a writer, it's nice to be an unnoticed observer, even when I'm telling a story or hanging from a chandelier or bleeding. It's probably good that no one remembers anything dreadful I said or did. I get a clean slate at every party.

So we'll keep using Michael as bait to lure in unsuspecting potential friends. And I will slink back into the shadows, my frigid, alabaster skin and milky, sightless eyes recoiling at the warm, golden radiance of his popularity.

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