Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Social calls

Kind of a quick counterpoint to Friday’s post: my family and I went to a cookout at my buddy Clutch’s house this past weekend, at which a good time was had by all. My wife got to relax by way of handing the baby off to other moms, and the little guy got to eat watermelon and jump on a backyard trampoline, so he was basically in heaven. The little girl was a tad shy and clingy, but that’s completely understandable for a two-year-old. I, on the other hand, wasn’t feeling shy at all, as the mutual friends in attendance whom I’ve known for decades far outweighed the neighbors and friends and co-workers of Clutch’s wife who were strangers to me.

What struck me, in a weird bit of (rare!) self-awareness, was how loud and animated (but mainly loud) most of my conversations with my friends got. We were talking about stupid stuff (like the current Doctor Who series and whether or not there will ever be a live-action Flash movie) yet I managed to find myself yelling things that probably did not strictly speaking need to be yelled. I didn’t quite reach the point of completely embarrassing myself (I don’t think) but I did surprise myself at least once or twice.

In hindsight, it occurred to me that nowadays I split my time between home and work pretty much exclusively. At work I make every effort not to be an annoying co-worker and not to draw undue attention to myself, and that means being extremely tight-lipped more often than not. At home, I have a two-month-old whom I try not to startle as he dozes through each day, plus a toddler and a (near-)kindergartner for whom I try to set a good example of bare-minimum decorum and self-control, or at least indoor voices. I don’t necessarily think that, left to my own devices without other overriding concerns, I would tend to live with the volume knob constantly twisted far to the right. It just had been a really long time since I’d been able to crank it up, and apparently I had a fair number of decibels all saved up.

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