Funny thing, that. When you have it, you don't notice it, but when it starts slipping away...

It all started when Brian brought home a girl.

Now, mind you, it wasn't one of those situations. I didn't discover a pair of alien, lacy underthings hurriedly shoved under the bed. There was no lingering scent of a strange perfume, no tell-tale lipstick smears on his cheek, nor faint musk of aftersex in our bedroom.

No, Brian simply brought home a coworker. He had gone off this afternoon to meet up with some of his coworkers at a bar, and the aforementioned girl was the one who extended the invite. The invitation was given to both of us but the thought of being around a bunch of virtual strangers, and worse, drunken strangers, having to make small talk filled me with a world of no. I had to work this evening and I knew, as always, that when Brian said it would be, "just for an hour" that it roughly translated to, "I'm going to be there for a while." The thought of being trapped in a bar full of people I didn't know, making pointless conversation for the sake of conforming to social niceties, the only sober-faced gal in the room while everyone else proceded to get piss drunk...

Pass. A flying, fucking PASS on that one. Small talk with sober people I don't know is bad enough. Small talk with drunk people I don't know is worse. Have you ever tried to carry on a conversation, while stone-sober, with a drunk person? It's excruciating. Words can not express my hatred...Just, grrrrrrr, I--*peters out in nonsensical sputtering*

*gets ahold of self*

Now, I'd like to think Hell has some creative tortures in the hallowed underground, and I am firm in my belief that being forced to carry on a conversation with a rambling moron that doesn't know when to just. shut. UP. is a major pasttime in one of the major rings of Hell. I'm equally as firmly convinced that a good half of the time when I get drunk, it's not even because I had intended to, but because I throw back drinks in a desperate effort to reach an acceptable enough level of intoxication to negate my seething irritation with the people with whom I'm forced to converse. When in Rome...throw back some alcohol, pray for the best, and try not to turn into one of those exact same rambling idiots you so hate. Trust me, you're not nearly as witty or clever as you believe you are. The brilliant, shining words you thought you said: "Yes, I do believe Proust was far underrated as a novelist" in fact, came out something like "Fuckin'...Proust, know? I mean, know?", replete with a drunken stagger and a sudden dampness as you eloquently prove your point by waving your very full drink vaguely around in the air.

The bar scene. Don't even get me started on the bar scene. At least, not in this particular entry, because I've already veered off track enough as it is.

Control. Yes.

So. I was curled up on the couch, reveling both in my solitude and silence, engaged in a conversation with a dear friend, when I heard a car door slam and I heard...the voice. Her voice. The girl in question.

Now, don't get me wrong. This girl is not a threat. I do not think anything would happen between said girl and boy. Though anymore, I'm not sure I'd be bothered if it did...but again, I digress. But this girl...she' say he sprung her on me would not be an inappropriate choice of words.

Immediately, I started praying, Please, please, please just be dropping him off and not actually coming in here. When the door opened, I froze. Like a deer in headlights, like a timid rabbit under the shadow of the hawk, I froze. Fuuuuuuuuck. Fuck, shit, shitting...FUCK. As you can see, I'm eloquent when caught off-guard. I stood up and said hi to her, a frozen, rictus grin on my face. It's not that I don't like this girl--I do--but to say she's...a bit hard to handle would be an understatement. She talks nonstop and quickly and loudly, and has a very abrasive voice, and her penchant for zeroing in on a person and not. letting. up. is increased a multifold number of times when she's drinking.

In the maybe half dozen times I have seen her outside the office setting, I have never seen her sober. Not once.

It was like dropping a bomb into the middle of my tranquil afternoon. One minute, I was deep in conversation with my friend, the next, I was frantically trying to tidy up the apartment in a frantic attempt to appear as if I hadn't been lazy all afternoon (I had), making small talk to appear as if I was interested in what she was blathering on about (I wasn't), and trying to downplay the fact I was supremely irritated with Brian at that point (I was). Also, she seems to have this eerie knack for zeroing in with unholy accuracy onto the very subjects I do not care to talk about at the moment.

I found myself wondering why I had reacted so violently to it. So what? She was a little drunk, yeah she was kind of annoying and she's a bit intense, but I left for work shortly thereafter, so why was I so rattled, so desperate to flee? Because surely "flee" is the appropriate word here. There was no "leaving" about it--I fled from the house five minutes earlier than I had to to escape.

It was because her showing up on our doorstep, unannounced, disrupted my little world. My apartment is my oasis away from the insanity of the world. I deal with a crush of people each and every day and my alone time, I need. I crave. Desperately, longingly want when I go too long without it. I need it in the way I need stimulating conversation to feel like myself, like I need oxygen. I am good with people, mind-blowingly great even, charming, friendly, able to work a crowd...oh, but it tires me. I always feel so very drained when I'm around so many strangers. I need plenty of time to recharge, and my apartment is my safe zone.

And so this whirling dervish of small talk and drunk and unending prattle rattled me to the core because it took away the little bit of control I have, if only for a few moments. And dear oh dear, do I love my control. I could hop in a car with money and a change of clothes and just drive, no matter that I don't have a destination in mind--but that's because I control that. I instinctively loathe, moreso than most, when my control is taken away from me, and I fight wildly against it. Like an animal sensing a trap, or feeling the hunters closing in, I will panic and flee far and fast. Sometimes, I wonder if my entire nature can be summed up with the image of a bird battering itself to death on a pane of glass, trying to reach the open sky.

I'm not sure which makes me more sad--that more people can't say that about themselves, or that I feel that way about my own self. I've flipped that coin over and over in my mind and you know, I still don't know which is worse.

It all boils down to control.