I caught myself doing that thing yesterday, where someone in the office said Hi, how are you? and I started to tell him. I mean really tell him, despite a well-developed understanding of the rules of engagement when it comes to small-talk.
Hi, how are you? I’m good thanks, how are you? Yes I’m fine thanks…
Instead of that widely accepted exchange, my mouth went rogue on me and he almost got chapter and fucking verse. Poor bloke. I managed to rein it in before his eyes glazed over but still, I bet he won’t be in a rush to exchange pleasantries with me again any time soon.
The thing is, I felt a long way from fine yesterday. I suspect the events of the last two weeks caught up with me a bit. I’ve always been able to cope whilst the shit is actually flying, you know? On the odd occasion where things have gotten a bit too much, any ensuing meltdown has been perfectly timed to happen behind closed doors after the dust has settled. I’d be the first to admit that I’ve got a terrible track record when it comes to letting the mask drop. I just don’t.
Yesterday, there were probably four or five points during the day where I almost went over the edge, you know that way where you teeter on the brink of tears for no reason whatsoever? It’s a bit disconcerting, when you’re used to being in control.
I’m wondering whether my desire to over-share has anything to do with the fact that for the first time ever I haven’t taken solace in food as a way of coping? Perhaps if my mouth was busy eating cheese balls or Daim cake it wouldn’t have time to try and provide an update on my wellbeing to innocent bystanders who have no reason to be interested in what’s going on in my life.
The other possibility of course, is that it’s an age thing. Maybe those small-talk rules of engagement are no longer valid once you hit middle age? I can guarantee that if you sat my mum on a park bench next to a complete stranger, within ten minutes she would’ve given them the complete lowdown on her medical history and enquired after their own.
I remember coming out of a shop once, where my mum had been sitting on a seat outside waiting for me. As I approached, she introduced me to the woman she’d been passing the time of day with…this is Joan. Joan had a prolapse! I said hello to Joan and wondered whether a round of applause was appropriate.
Either way I was mortified yesterday at this urge to spill my guts about what a shit time I was having to anyone who’d listen. I felt stressed, not to mention old and weary. I guess that’s what a sore heart, lack of sleep and a head full of worry does to you, right?
However, despite everything I still haven’t tried to use food as a crutch. I’m counting every sodding calorie that goes in my mouth, and I’m managing to find time to work out. I don’t pretend to understand why or how, but the discipline is strangely comforting.
What a weirdo, eh? 🙂