Sometimes, as I have mentioned here before, I find socialising or being around folks difficult. It’s not all people, and not all situations and it’s not one of those permanent “I can’t handle crowds” things. It’s something to do with some interactions, and often with what I think people’s assumptions and expectations of me are, and how I then deal with meeting, failing or undoing them. It sometimes contains a certain degree of intolerance on my part, but that’s just for me and I can’t really muster up too much guilt about that. Other times it’s a genuine attempt to relate to people when I know I can’t. It’s a dreadfully twatty navel-gazing sort of a problem to have, so I keep thoughts hidden and get massively anxious about it like a good repressed British girl. It comes out, but just a bit, usually by me getting drunk or brash or over chatty because of the nerves, but otherwise I’m experienced in hiding it. It is utterly silly and unnecessary and I know this. I also know that life is too short to worry. Knowing these things makes no difference.
I’m just telling you this because sometimes coming home to the boat is the best thing in the world. Knowing that there’s only Rich here and if I explain my day and all the terrifyingly trivial conversations to him, he’ll get it, or at the very worst he’ll laugh at it with me. Also, he’ll tell me I’m just being silly to worry about having offended, upset or displeased so and so (it’s nice of him to tell me that, though I rarely believe him). There’re also more specifically “boat” things that improve it all – knowing that I won’t always be here, having to deal with the same problems again and again, that one day there’ll be a journey and a break in the cycle. Having a nice big distraction with lots of details to get lost in (tonight Rich is regaling me with the variety of epoxy-based primers we can use beneath the water line), always plotting and noticing and measuring and what have you. Most of all I love that the boat is safely “other” from the world where all these things happen, as disjointed from everyone else’s reality as I often feel. I can be odd here. I don’t have to pop to the toilet to do the dance move I’ve been holding in, pretend to be professional or fun or make small talk, or suppress yelps and cries and shakes when they present themselves. Sometimes I am a child in a highly improbable floating home-made fantasy world, making things and colouring in, reading, watching, listening, moving and thinking freely without the judgement of the world to worry about. Poor Gwen. Poor Richard. Lucky me.