Crazy Gym Woman has been working on her social life.
In the past two weeks I have attended three Events.
Four, if you count a memorial service. That was emotional.
It has been an interesting personal challenge, to get out there and find Other People.
I have spoken to: two women of a similar age to myself, an engineer, an air traffic controller, several postgraduate students, one undergraduate and some researchers. None of these people had ever crossed my path before, so from that point of view it has been positive.
But it is hard, being out in the world as a lone woman with nothing but a knitted sock and an asymmetric fringe to hide behind.
I have seen two cracking films, though!
And I have learned much more than I ever thought possible about: fungus, extreme rock climbing and the nature of the self.
I sure know how to live!
It has been disconcerting to discover how casually bitter other women can be.
One entertained me to a lengthy diatribe on the subject of professors who park at the sports centre without doing any sport.
Another explained that she had steel rods in her back and that she would like to give her pain to people who use disabled persons' toilets.
Do I have a particularly sympathetic look in my eye?!
Or is this just how women interact with each other, on the basis of an assumed shared misery?
That is of no use to me.
If I am going to talk to a stranger, I do not want to know about their unhappiness or anger within 30 seconds of meeting.
It happens in the workplace too. So much female negativity!
So I find myself talking to the men.
But I don't have any patience for football or rugby, the common currencies for idle chat.
Which leaves me talking to myself...
Or reading, or writing, or knitting, or dancing, or walking the fields, or gardening, or...
I want to live a full life, dammit!
So I take my sock out and about.
We share a coffee, my sock and me, scanning the horizon and eavesdropping on other people's conversations.
Thinking: "You could be my friend, if only you knew me!"
Smiling quietly to myself.
I ponder moving into the city, but it is a relief to retreat to my hermitage.
Maybe I should make it mine, after all.
Invest more energy into making it my home.
Somewhere I might invite friends to visit without feeling the need to apologise, to excuse the wreckage of the past.
But that feels like a betrayal.
Which brings me back to thinking I need to start again somewhere else.
A fresh start.
Become another person.
With other people.
But where are they?