I just learned I have a reputation as a recluse – a reputation I hate. It’s true, I’m easily intimidated by colleagues and acquaintances who are younger, stronger, braver, more outgoing, better educated and better looking than me. When I feel demoralized – whether it’s real or imagined – I often take refuge in my safe place: the Dave-Zone.
When I’m in the Dave-Zone, I isolate myself deep in the shadows of my mind to commiserate with three of my closest and most loyal friends – my thoughts, my fears, and my anxieties. They bring me comfort. At the same time, however, it seems my Dave-Zone freedoms unexpectedly morph me into an entirely different person– especially to those on the outside. Apparently, I become a stuck up little bitch.
A stuck up little bitch? Seriously? I’m an entertaining guy. I’m comfortable on stage. I have a good sense of humor. I make people laugh. I’m not a stuck up little bitch.
A few years ago, when I was between jobs, I drove for Uber, the popular ride-sharing service. It was one of the most entertaining gigs I’ve ever held. An endless supply of addicts, drunks, pimps, call girls, college students, DJ’s, journalists, doctors, attorneys, priests, old ladies, and the guy next door sat either shotgun or in the rear seat behind me. I was privy to mindless muttering, endless expressions of ‘heeeeeyy!’, hookup negotiations, drug deals, sales pitches, arguments, life stories, secret confessions, and political strategies. Most trips were thirty minutes or less.
During each ride, it was easy to be entertaining, outgoing and funny. Because I didn’t have time to invest my trust, faith, and soul into my passengers, it was easy to stay above the depths of the Dave-Zone. I became a master at telling the same old stories, I became well-versed with petty conversation, and I remained well-guarded by keeping my Dave-Zone thoughts, fears, and anxieties in check. After all, my passengers were nothing more than fleeting strangers – far from regular acquaintances. Zero personal investment was the strategy to my sanity.
Prior to my Uber adventure, I traveled full-time for work. Every week, I would hop a flight to Somewhere, USA to train doctors and their staff how to use their new software. Because I traveled 45 weeks out of the year, my favorite airline classified me a first-rate frequent flier and awarded me top-tier status: Double-Dipped-Gold, Platinum-Plated, Diamond-Encrusted. My prestige guaranteed me a Frist Class seat on every flight. Although most folks seated in First Class were high-level professionals. I frivolously chatted my best shallow babble to everyone who would listen. I’ve met CEO’s, scientists, engineers, elected officials, celebrities, and other high-ranking individuals. Because I kept the conversation light and superficial, I easily avoided the depths of the Dave-Zone.
Once I arrived at my client, I would present complicated material on stage to audiences of one to audiences of a hundred or more. I was slick, measured and scripted and admired for my efforts. Women flirted with me, winked at me, gave me their number, and even followed me to my hotel. While I felt a sense of giddiness, I was also extremely intimidated. After all, woman made me nervous, too. At the end of the day, I engaged in my usual hubbub. However, if the conversation spiraled out of my control, intimidation set in. In most cases, before long, I was off to the next client and avoided the Dave-Zone.
Today, I work in a tiny cubicle in crowded office – literally sitting inches away from my colleagues. It’s torture. At first, it was easy to be entertaining, outgoing and funny. After a few months, however, I earned the reputation as a recluse – a stuck-up little bitch. After all, I hate forced fun. I hate putting phony effort into business relationships. Why bother? Everyone is younger, stronger, braver, more outgoing, better educated and better looking than me. Because the days of superficial conversation are long gone, it’s easier to ignore everyone and hide in the vault of the Dave-Zone. I admit, I crave satisfying work relationships, but at the same time, it’s easier to push everyone away with my stuck-up little bitch attitude. It’s funny, if I think about it: I’m more comfortable on stage facing hundreds of strangers than sitting in a crowded office surrounded by people I work with every day.
Am I a recluse? Am I a stuck up little bitch? Yep, I sure am; but not on purpose.
For me, it’s easier to hide in the Dave-Zone than avoid the intimidation of others – whether that intimidation is real or imagined. Perhaps I should see a therapist; I’m sure a professional could help me work on my stuck up little bitch persona. Meanwhile, I plan to start my very own self-help group: Recluse-Anonymous. Yeah, I am certain future members would understand the Dave-Zone perfectly.