Leaving the house

hateleaving I hate leaving the house. I hate leaving a lot of places, but leaving the house, I hate most of all.

I hate leaving so much that I will find things to do to stop me leaving. If I need to leave the house by 9am, at 8.59am, my brain will say, “you know, before you go you should really do… your taxes.”

The weird thing is: my anxious brain is RIGHT. I SHOULDN’T be leaving the house. The house has everything I need: couch, food, internet, bathroom… When you leave the house, half the time, you’re looking for one of those things. “Do you have a bathroom? Do you have WiFi? Do you have sandwiches” You don’t have those problems when you stay in your house. My house has sandwiches.

Outside your house is where most bad things happen. Car crashes, muggings, being nice to people you don’t like… they all may come to pass if you leave the house. The house is a pretty much reserved for people you DO like, because it has a great filter mechanism called “the front door”. It opens for friends, and stays shut at all other times.

As a kid, I fantasized that our house was like a spaceship, floating through the vacuum of space. It had perpetual life support systems – running water, power, heat etc. – but otherwise, we were adrift and alone in inky black emptiness. For some reason, this was a COMFORTING thought, not a terrifying one.

Even though I hate leaving the house, once I’m comfortable in a new place, I don’t want to leave there either. Sometimes I dawdle at work at the end of the day. I could leave at 6, but I end up leaving at 6.30. I’m not doing any work. I’m just wasting time on the internet. But for some reason, I don’t want to leave. Even though I’m allowed to go home to my house, which I also didn’t want to leave, just eight hours earlier.

I hate saying goodbye to people. I much prefer the so-called ‘Irish goodbye”, where you just leave without saying anything.

Why do I like that so much? Because I hate goodbyes.

I hate the “revealed truth” that happens during a goodbye. If it’s a close friend I see all the time, no problem. I will say goodbye. But if it’s someone I don’t see often, the “goodbye” quickly becomes enmeshed in the topic of “when you’re going to see each other again”. Well, if we don’t already have a good idea of “when” that is, it probably won’t be for a while. And to me, that’s a pretty stark indicator that… we aren’t really friends. We’re not NOT friends. But we’re not REAL friends.

I also hate that “when am I going to see you again?” question. What am I supposed to say to that? That’s not an offer to hang out. You’re asking ME to make a plan for us to hang out. You’re putting me on the spot and making me do all the work. And if I wanted to hang out with you, I WOULD have made a plan. So I probably don’t like you all that much.

To be continued.