We did nothing exciting last night other than go to bed about an hour later than usual, which meant we were asleep before the clock turned midnight. Since there were so many firecrackers/fireworks in the area, we let the Kid sleep in the bed with us.

Today we went to a New Year’s Day/housewarming party, and since we were with another couple, we ended up going to a couple of other party/gatherings after we left the first one. There was no loud music or heavy drinking or anything like that, but they were all the kind of gatherings where I had to put on my “social face” and be “On,” i.e. do the whole smiling and friendly and charming and interesting bit. I’m fully capable of doing that, but it completely wears me out, and by the time we got home I just wanted to crawl under the covers and drink up about half an hour of dark quiet.

I can’t remember where I first heard the term “gregarious introvert,” but it most definitely applies to me. I spent most of my childhood and teenage years as an awkward, lonely, socially inept outsider. During college I was lucky enough to fall in with a great group of friends who had similar interests and goals, with whom I was able to learn some of the finer points of social interaction and general public behavior. Then, after college, I worked in a casino for several years, where I learned how to “fake” being gregarious and outgoing–vitally important in any service-industry profession that relies heavily on tips for income. Over the years I’ve developed some pretty good social skills, but it’s never stopped being work. This is one of the main reasons why I almost never share a hotel room when I go to conventions. After a day of being “On” at a con, I need that quiet place of retreat as much as I need food, water, and sleep. It’s worth the extra money, because otherwise I won’t make it through the entire con.

Looking back at today, I realize that I should have found some quiet corner at some point to do some mini-decompressing. It was a fun day, and we met a lot of interesting people, but the day loses its luster when I feel completely strung out and frazzled at the end of it.