Here I am staring at the blinking curser and I feel just like I did in the cafeteria in elementary school. I grab my tray, hoping that it is pizza day only to realize it’s sloppy joes. As the hairnet lady scoops some onto my tray (because yes, they scooped directly onto the divided trays back then) I would rather be there than the alternative. I don’t want to leave the line.
It’s a sad day when you realize overcooked mystery meat from a woman in a hairnet who would have a wonderful smile if only you could put her head on upside down, is better than finding a place to sit in the lunchroom.
I feel like that here in our internet world. I see the cyber-space full of long tables with attached benches and have no idea where I belong.
There are the pretty girls with their beautifully designed blogs and their perfect smiles and clean homes and delightful children. I don’t even bother with those. Perfect never looked good on me anyway.
At the next table are the techy people. The ones who have every widget and talk rss feeds while forgetting to eat because they are so consumed by technology.
Then you come to the angry ones. The ones who are writhing in contempt for the world and their glares stare at me in words harsher than the black on white of the screen.
And the theater kids…only in this world they are the crafters. They have a language all their own with cricuts and modge. I almost approach them because they are always smiling, but I could never wear a sweet smile like that all the time, even if it were pasted on.
And then there’s me. Staring at my tray of unknown quality meat wondering where to even try to sit, where I might slip in unnoticed or, dare I hope, to fit in.
I stand here for days, weeks, years, hoping that time is really standing still and wondering how loud my silence is screaming. How long can I stand invisible because it’s so much safer than realizing people see me and I still don’t fit.
And then I see it.
I have to walk across the whole room that echoes silent stares louder than children scream. So I take a step and then another, but my eyes never leave the tray. Maybe if I stare at my own stuff long enough I can forget that people can actually see me.
I walk past the perfect ones and the scary ones. I walk down this endless tunnel with glass walls until I stand right in front of it.
I set my tray down and sit there at the empty table because alone feels better than the glass tunnel. And here, it’s just a girl at a table. I’m not sure what it means or where I belong, but here feels pretty good right now.
Maybe you’re not navigating the great interwebs. Maybe you are finding your way in your job or school or your role as a parent or wife. Where ever you find yourself, there’s some bench here across from me. Care to join me?