I am a queen. I do not clean since I’ve never really been taught how and nor have I been inclined to learn. As a result I have a woman who comes in to do my dirty work, apart from the dishes, everyday. I am so nice to her that it’s probably insulting to her on some level, but she does like me because whenever she and I happen to be at home at the same time, I pretty much halve her work. ‘Oh no, there’s no need to do any dusting today’, or ‘Let me just do the laundry this time’. This is not ONLY because there is something fundamentally embarrassing and awkward about someone else grappling with the mess you’ve made. It’s because I am too polite to ignore her while she scoots around the floor with her mop, and since we’re in this unlikely intimate relationship, I feel obliged to chat with her and give her presents. If she was a robot it would be so much better; she’s just too much humanity for me to deal with, especially in the morning. Luckily I go out to work and my husband works from home so he usually deals with her (he ignores her and gets on with his business), but on the few occasions we collide I do not know how to deal with her, of the economic disparity between us, of how much better fed I am than her, my sense of being violated when she speaks to me, and my sense of violating her by pretending she isn’t really there. It is all too much. It’s not yet bad enough for me to wield broom and mop, so I guess I’ll just keep hiding in the bathroom and giving her packets of noodles and biscuits.
I can deal with people most of the time. I can put on a face and smile and be polite and carry on the usual semi-extroverted act. But it’s a different story in the morning, and it’s the reason why I loathe loathe loathe having houseguests or being one. Right now, my in-laws are staying over. They are perfectly nice people, but while I often feel like maiming them (it is in my nature; I feel like maiming just about everybody though they rarely know it), it’s only in the morning that I could actually take an axe to their heads.
The sight of anyone other than my husband or my immediate family at the breakfast table is enough to send me into an internal tailspin for the rest of the day. Perhaps it’s because my mask is still thin early on in the day and it takes me a long time to wrench myself out of the quiet unconsciousness of the night and into the bright, unforgiving chatter chatter chatter of the day. Guilt, too, because I can’t put on such a good act in the morning and feel awful about coming across as cold and aloof and axe-wieldy.
If I was a dictator, I’d enforce the following rules:
1) No small talk allowed: Special audio sensors fitted in every North Korea-inspired room would immediately detect forbidden phrases such as ‘how are you’, ‘beautiful weather’ and ‘my favourite color is pink. what’s yours’
2) Bathroom restrictions: It would be illegal for more than two people to share a bathroom. Expansion of personal bathroom space would be one of my regime’s first infrastructural drives. Communal spaces will be destroyed to make room for bathrooms to hide in.
3) No talking: At least six hours of silence to be observed during the day, most concentrated in the morning.
4) Dancing at weddings should be optional: The current extrovert, Punjabi dictatorship doesn’t allow people the freedom to decline the opportunity to dance and perform and be a buffoon. Since I’m a benevolent dictator I will let them do their thing (but for only 10 minutes) but they have to let us beg off without tut-tutting and rolling their eyes.
5) Party time limit: Parties may not extend for more than two hours.
6) E-mail only: Only emergency numbers may be accessed by phone. All other communications must be in writing.
7. Dress code: It will be considered admirable for women to show up at social dos in simple clothes, whatever. It’s fucking annoying to see men get away with basic jeans and clean shirts while women are compelled to paint their faces, drip with diamonds and spend a bomb on uncomfortable clothes.
Eh, I’ll probably add a million and six more rules to these but I’m boring myself with my own whingeing.
This is an introduction to me. It’s disjointed, a little random, but that in itself should tell you a little about me. At any rate, I’m much better than I used to be.
I think I became an alcoholic because I couldn’t deal with being an introvert.I think men react to their introversion with a lot more self-acceptance. We women have been taught, even if indirectly, to be ‘caring’ and ‘sharing’ so we feel we’re abnormal and angry and messed up when we find ourselves unable to thrive in social interactions. Exploring this topic in much more depth recently, since I got sober, has brought me a lot of relief… I actually drank to cure introversion (a normal temperament) rather than to medicate any disorder (they thought I was bipolar when I was just a garden-variety drunk). I really think introverts need to band together, virtually preferably, to realize they aren’t alone in wanting to be alone.
Of course, I got sober by myself. I should have known, even as I futilely attended meetings, that alcoholics anonymous wouldn’t really work with someone of my temperament, especially with all the chanting and groupthink and blind conformity to tenets. In the end, when I finally quit two years ago at the age of 29, I just grabbed some medication, gritted my teeth and read my way out of the nasty little rut I was in.
Once I got sober, I got married, worked to build back my reputation, got a posh job at a publishing house (still piss poor though!). I also had to learn to navigate the world without my beloved crutch, which brought its own set of challenges. Most people think I’m quite charming and all of that, perhaps a little shy, but they don’t quite know how much trouble I have with things like small talk and smiling. It has almost pushed me back to drinking, I will admit, though I was never really tempted to pick up again. I shall probably talk about all of this as I settle into this blog thing, so hello, my zero readers, nice to not meet you!