Wednesday, April 25, 2012

performance mode

i have trouble socializing in large gatherings; by large i mean anything larger than 2 people outside of kaytie / chloe.  The ambient noise in large group settings confuses me as I have trouble not paying attention to everything going around me (this in turn makes it difficult for me to focus on the conversation i'm actually involved in).  On occasion I will actually feel mild anxiety attacks, though never nearly the sort that would warrant comparison to a disorder.  This isn't to say that I should avoid social situations.  I just struggle with them a bit.

In order to cope with the anxiety and disorientation, I've learned over the years of what is expected of me in situations and how to behave in these scenarios.  It's hard to describe my "performance mode" without sounding like a fake personality.  I feel that sometimes an introvert trying to be social and outside of a comfort zone is too often judged as having a "church-face."  (one reason why i never really enjoyed Casting Crown's "Stained Glass Masquerade")  I don't believe it's fake because my anxiety does not come from fear but merely from lack of a natural propensity towards multiple-person situations.  I do care and I enjoy having a social life.  I just prefer being in the kitchen cooking for the party rather than being in the party.  However I also realize that when I do emerge from the kitchen it would not do for me to enter the room with eyes downcast and to not speak to anyone.  I would not make many friends if I were to tell people "thanks but I'm really just interested in sitting here and observing."  And I do want to make friends.

So this social mode I can shift myself into allows me to dive head-long into what I feel would help the social situation I find myself in.  If I'm sitting at a table with someone, I should ask them generic, small-talk questions so that they do not feel alone or isolated; I know what it's like to sit next to someone who says absolutely nothing.  Problem is that since I am not naturally social, it's hard for me to establish boundaries and I often get myself in trouble.  I once got up on an upper-level railing at a dance in college and shook my bottom at the crowd.  (in case you're wondering, i do regret it now)  At other times I've said borderline inappropriate comments / stories at very conservative situations.  On purpose.  Aware of the ramifications of what I was about to do.  I get carried away.  All this because I either focus on what I need to do socially or I begin perspiring very visible amounts.  And those who have known me long enough know that when I get nervous the only functioning sweat glands in my entire body are only in my head; thus all the sweat that is normally distributed throughout my body is re-directed into the bottle-neck of my head's glands.  I become a fountain.  And if you're like me, if you're going to sweat like a dog you're going down at the very least with applause and laughter.

tonight i made pizza for the first time since kaytie's mom died.  Emotional associations with food are powerful.  Good associations can make terrible food intensely satisfying.  Bad associations can blacklist the highest quality instantly.  Some associations fade away over time and some are nearly insurmountable even with the most intense Dr. Oz treatments.  Fortunately for us, homemade pizza is fading back into the edible list.

When making homemade pizza I have three anal retentive requirements:
1)  Crust must be made by hand and must have a very high hydration level (high ratio of water to flour as wetter doughs are more likely to produce the desirably large, irregular, gaping holes in the crust)
2)  The quality of your crust is the foundation for the relevancy of your toppings.  If quality crust cannot be available, then one should save money and not worry about too much effort on the toppings.
3)  Pizza should be viewed like getting to know an introvert.  Flavor is best communicated with few words.  When too many words are put into a thought, the idea becomes jumbled and unfocused.  The point gets diluted and loses impact.  Listen and think, then give your idea.  My point is that less is more.  Do not over complicate your pizza just to impress.  Pick one idea for each pizza and stick with it.

Salami, olives, and goat cheese w/ red sauce


Chorizo pizza cross-section showing large holes from wet crust dough

Tomatoes, olives, and anchovies

No comments:

Post a Comment