Tonight Leo and I went out for supper and then to see the play “The Adams Family” I went because Leo asked me too, because we both knew people in the play and because Leo and Michael were involved with set building. This is my least favourite play, TV Show and story of all time. I do not think there is one I dislike more… it is popular, famous and overdone in local schools and communities.
But, I went… after all, Leo asked me and we were overdue for a ‘date night’. We walked in and found our seats and sat down. Leo is getting good at knowing ‘me’ he chose aisle seats on the same side as the women’s bathroom in the event I needed a quick escape. As soon as we sat down, Leo popped up and half walked half jogged toward someone he knew. He chatted with them and then came back. Leo sat again and then popped up and ran off- he saw someone else. He did this no less than seven times and returned. This time I thought there was no one he didn’t speak with. Then he said “oh shoot” like he had just remembered something crucial. He took off again- he saw someone he knew and ran over to talk. Finally, the lights dimmed and he returned. During intermission, Leo popped up again and went on a walk stopping to talk to people he knew. I stood up and stretched and then sat down. I looked around and so many people were standing up and wandering and talking to others in pockets here and there. Some people headed to the bathroom for a break. I noticed that only about one quarter of the patrons were still seated, some chatting with whomever was near them, and a few like me. Alone in a crowd. I wondered how I could feel this lonely with hundreds of people around me. I wondered why I felt paralyzed and could not venture away from my seat to say hello to people I knew. My stomach was hurting which is my first clue that I am becoming anxious. I was anxious about being anxious. I was anxious because I was alone in a crowd and knew Leo would not be back until the house lights went out. I wondered if some of the other people who were still sitting felt that way. Alone in the crowd, lonely among many familiar faces. I started to think about whether I really cared about being alone or if I cared more that someone may look over and recognize me and think I am antisocial, unfriendly and snotty… I wondered like I always do… urging the lights with my thoughts to hurry up and dim so the play could start again and I would be safe with darkness surrounding me like a cloak. I wanted the play to start again, so it could be over and I could go home hopefully, today, without having to speak with anyone. Then I got mad at me, mad at my brain and mad at my anxiety. I looked around at all the laughing and smiling and sharing of information and catching up with acquaintances and I wished for a moment that I could be like that. That I could be ‘un-stuck’ no longer paralyzed by the brightness of lights which I believed were illuminating all of my secrets so others could see them. I wanted to be someone else-then the lights dimmed and the play resumed. My torture was over…for tonight.