It’s Restaurant Week here in we-all-know-where-but-I’m-not-saying-it. A week or two ago a fellow grad student sent an e-mail to a small group of womenfolk to see if anyone wanted to take advantage and do dinner tonight. I was up for it initially. When I saw that the best reservation we could get was for 8:30, I kind of already knew how that would play out. (Me and late plans don’t mix.) But part of me still wanted to give it a go, so I decided to wait and see.
I just e-mailed to cancel.
Bedtime-related excuses aside, I’ve realized that since coming here I’ve done the opposite of what one should do to build a social network, and that hasn’t been an accident. Case in point: I live 20 minutes away from campus. This kind of distance is trivial in many places but in WAKWBINSI means that almost every guest arriving to a ‘ladies’ night in’ I hosted at my place in December commented on how “far” I live. Living outside of town works well for a lot of reasons–more house for the money; when I leave campus, I can really leave campus; and I’ve never had to think about football traffic or undergrad neighbors–but has also made me an infrequent attender of happy hours and other similar gatherings.
That? That’s not really true. If I’d found some fast friends or other people that I just really enjoyed being around en masse, I’d make the trip. (And in fact, I do and have for semi-regular brunch dates with an astronomer friend.) No, what’s really up is that, aside from the rare and marvelous occasions in which that chemistry is just there, in the grown-up world making friends takes work. It’s an investment. And I just haven’t been willing to put in the effort to build up that kind of love for people knowing that in relatively short measure, we’ll all part ways. Uprooting myself to move here was devastating in a way that I’d never experienced. So I think the internal logic goes- who the hell would knowingly sign up for that?
It’s weak, I know. And I have, without a doubt, missed out on fun times with good, smart people. Also, though I am by nature solitaria and generally quite happy that way, I’m pretty sure that my ability to interact with people close to my age in a non-professional setting has suffered–seriously, I think something has atrophied, and that is not a good look.
So slowly but surely, I’m going to start to try. Maybe not so much here, but still. It’s time to live a full life again. Looking forward to it.