This morning's Monday blues comes with added misery. The realisation that my social ineptitude is taking roots ever more deeply. Since last night, Facebook has been awash with pictures, videos and comments about the Chorus's retreat which as taking place this week-end. This is awakening ugly feelings of envy and fear in me. I didn't go the retreat partly because of the presence of The Young Man I mentioned in this post, but mostly because of my experience during the trip to Belfast with the Chorus (a lonely affair for me) and my general dismal track record with groups of people who know each other. Judging by Facebook, everybody seemed to have a great time. Although I guess, only those who did have a great time would be posting. Thinking a bit more about this and examining my feeling further, I am as I said envious. Envious that those people can actually find themselves into a group of other people they variously know, if at all, and look forward to it. Envious that they can even enjoy the experience and create new bonds. Envious that it should be so natural and easy to them. Let's face it, I am also envious of The Young Man; of the adulation he has been getting there (though the term may be slightly hyperbolic, he is clearly liked by many); of the others, who were able to be and interact with him (nope, it seems I am not over that story yet!). Something I don't envy, is the fact that they most probably all got drunk to various levels. But this is another barrier to my taking part in social occasion like a "normal" person, since I virtually don't drink. And then comes the fear. Imagining myself taking part, I am gripped by visions of awkwardness, of inadequacy and loneliness in the middle of a crowd, a happy crowd. This is a fairly new feeling but one that has been growing in strength in past couple of years perhaps as each (rare) invitations to joining a group of strangers in a pub for drinks or some such gathering. More often than not I have made excuses. The view times I haven't have not been the most positive of experiences. A reinforcement of the apprehension. A vicious circle. I don't know how to break it.