Introvert’s Lament

In the crossword, the clue “cup in a diner.”

I miss sitting across from my niece who refuses to try matzo ball soup.

I miss waiting for my coffee and wondering if they forgot it, or if I should go up to the counter to ask, because I’m really in no hurry, and I adore anyone who serves me coffee.

I miss walking down to the subway feeling awful, awful, the way your movement follows your guts, falling. I miss staring out the subway window at nothing.

I miss hearing strangers talk to their social workers about getting outside enough. I miss walking into a classroom and knowing I’m making people uncomfortable just being there and trying to figure out how to put them at ease.

I miss other people’s dishes. The mugs of Aimee’s, and the cups and saucers of Wheatfields, the cup and saucer of the Pig, the silly dishes at Alchemy, twee animals. I miss the handle-less cup at 1100 Barker, although it pissed me off. The thing was hot. This is why we invented….

I miss leaving dishes for some dishwasher, bless the dishwashers, who washed all the dishes I left behind, in plastic bins if provided, and went on my way. So many dishes.

I miss feeling uncomfortable in my clothes. I miss thinking something defines my waist nicely. I miss being a person who shows up wearing something that shows people where I’m coming from that day. I miss realizing that the underwear I put on is too small, or rides up, and the sadness of having to wear it all day. I miss realizing my socks are falling down, and that all day, my socks will be falling into my boots.

I miss my feet hurting from standing up all day.

I miss my obsession with the emotional danger others pose.

I miss not wanting to go to parties, but thinking I should go.

I miss worrying how I’ll focus the next day because I can’t sleep.

I miss thinking the reason I’m lonely is because no one truly understands me, or whatever garbage that was.

I miss eggs someone else made. I miss tipping in cash. I miss thinking that my car breaking down would be the worst thing that could happen to me.

I miss not knowing anything about my houseplants, and just saluting them and saying, “Good luck, sir.”

I miss being too often out of house to notice that the floors need sweeping, and the bathroom sink has splotches of hand soap stuck to it.

I miss worrying about a friend I haven’t heard from.

I miss not having the bandwith to feed my cats twice (or, oy, three times) a day.

I miss enjoying the overstimulation of grocery stores without a deep down radar telling me a human is approaching, and my eyes darting at the safety of their mouths and noses.

I miss thinking the reason I’m not inspired is because I never go to the theater.

I miss thinking that the reason I’m bored or sad is because I can’t afford to go to the theater, or out to dinner, or dress shopping, or out for drinks with friends, or to Target to purchase something marvelous.

I miss thinking of people as “People who are different from me” rather than “people who think high school sports are more important than my mother’s life,” “people who will believe absolutely anything Trump says,” and “people who think Nazis aren’t really that bad,” and “people who believe Democrats eat babies”.

I miss thinking, “I would see [so and so] if I got it together.”

I miss meeting people at restaurants, or waiting for them there, having gotten a glass of wine while I wait.

I miss feeling self-sufficient when I have a packed bag, my laptop, and some books to read on the way.

I miss the weather not really mattering.

I miss knowing what was dangerous: a hair dryer in the bathtub, running with scissors, a third drink.

I miss the closeness of my relationships waxing and waning.

I miss thinking that the reason I am not doing what I want to do is that I am a coward.

I miss being asked for directions, being uncomfortable as someone approaches because I’m worried what they might say.

I miss being late and walking fast, and getting sweaty inside my coat.

I miss not knowing how full the moon is.

I miss the scratchy comforters at hotels, and at the monastery.

I miss evaluating ceramic mugs everywhere I go. Shape, weight, handle, heat retention.

I miss thinking, I’d see all those movies if I could see them all at home.

I miss thinking the problem with the world was me.

I miss being surprised.

Image: “Dervish Leading a Bear,” Folio from the Shah Jahan Albumrecto: early 19th century; verso: later copy of 16th century original, Metropolitan Museum of Art.

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