It’s been a disruptive couple of weeks at my work, mostly in the best of ways, with positive momentum. Still, being a classical introvert who needs proper recharge time and hasn’t gotten it yet, it’s also been draining psychically. Part of what I realized is that I really miss being around people who already know me well, to whom I don’t need to keep explaining myself—I’ve never come up with a smooth introduction or approach to fielding personal questions that I find satisfactory. I’m always caught off guard to an extent no matter how predictable the conversation is with each new person I get to know. I keep trying to figure out why, and I think it’s because my brain is so absorbed in the moment and the interaction, trying to ground it in what is immediately relevant to everyone present; that when someone asks a simple question that’s only relevant to me, it takes mental acrobatics for me to shift focus to the answer and figure out how to package it into a normal dialogue. And it often doesn’t come out sounding quite right.
The other day, I attended a workshop on one of the floors in my office building that we are supposed to refrain from wearing scent when visiting because some people have sensitivities (we got a reminder email recently about it); I hadn’t paid attention to the location in my calendar invite so hadn’t realized, so of course I had gone in scented. On the way from my usual floor, I mentioned this to a coworker, who responded that she never wore perfume or any scented products. I asked if perfume bothered her (in case I needed to keep more distance with my inoffensive secret pleasure Parfum d’Empire Osmanthus Interdite), to which she replied, “I just don’t want to smell myself all day.” To which I blurted, “But you’d just end up smelling other people all day!”
The company also partnered with a local shelter to bring in puppies one day for employees to spend time with for up to an hour as a form of stress relief. As you might imagine, it was a popular perk and the human-to-puppy ratio was very high. Fortunately I got my share of puppy time and the adorable mutts didn’t mind my slightly spicy Ormonde Jayne Montabaco Intensivo.
Then I had an appointment with a new primary care provider (which I’d booked half a year in advance and then had to reschedule when I got covid last month), which I didn’t particularly look forward to. She surprised me by being deliberate and thoughtful in her interview with me, asking follow-up questions to things I thought were completely irrelevant to my medical history—I found myself being concerned about taking up too much time! Again, the awkwardness got the better of me as I was fully aware this wasn’t a social engagement nor a therapy session, so I tried to speed through it, although I expressed my appreciation later as I was also fully aware that she was trying to do the best job she could in caring for patients. Anyway, it was somewhat amusing later to see myself described in my medical record, in the Notes section, as someone who “enjoys perfumery”—it’s official now!