My Wish Came True

No, unfortunately, not the the "getting published" one.  But someone invited me to play D&D!

I've talked a few times before about how I want to learn how to play.  I'm a big fan of the Penny Arcade D&D series (I'm even re-listening to the podcasts now).  I've watched all the Counter Monkey episodes.  But I've never played an RPG in my life.  Because unlike most games, there is a key factor in these games that make them impossible for me.

You need to have friends.

Moreover, you need to have friends who know how to play D&D.  This is not a game you can look at the instructions and learn how.  And I've already talked about my inability to make friends.  It's one of those strange things where the only way to learn is by playing with others.  And none of the people around me -- my wife, my kids -- can or do know how to play a game like this.

However, thank the gods for my wife's social skills, because we learned that our next-door neighbor that her husband couldn't come to the fire pit because he was off playing D&D.  Besides the fact that this is the first time I've heard someone mention D & D in public.

Of course, everyone (mostly women) around the fire pit started joking that this was something "nerdy" that would "lower his rep" in the neighborhood (and I'd like to talk to those women about their Downton Abbey and Kardashians and reality shows later).  I was the only one who responded positively and I seized on the opportunity to say that I always wanted to learn how to play D&D.

Because it's one thing to say that you're off playing RPGs, but no one ever says "Oh, I want to learn how to play that".  D&D is one of those things that you either get into as a teen, or don't get into it at all.  No one tries to learn D&D when they're 40.  Except me (but I'm not 40).

But long story short, he came over and invited me to go play with him and his friends Wednesday night.  And now I'm super-nervous as hell.  Now I'm going to be in a long car ride with someone I don't know too much, but I'll also be meeting lots of new people.

Why is it I always get myself in these situations.  I wants something really bad, but when I finally get it, I'm like "No, wait!  That means I'll have to interact with people!  I'll have to do the long building up and investing in relationships thing.  Everything's going to be awkward because I know nothing and I'm going to be self-conscious the whole time and that means I won't enjoy anything."  It's just like when I wanted a girlfriend so badly in my teens, but was in no way mentally or socially healthy/developed enough to have one, just didn't realize it.

And it's tomorrow!  I've only got a day to mentally prepare.  And mental preparation also means copious amounts of dreading and worrying.  What am I going to talk about for that long?  We're as close as strangers, What if I say something accidentally racist or sexist?  I mean, my wife says we have lots in common.  We're both programmers, we both brew beer, we both have kids (his boys, mine girls), our houses are right next to each other -- why shouldn't this be easy?

But you know me.  Even though I've been doing better on social interaction, it's still a whole bunch of negative self-talk and worst-case scenarios.  Living my life is like holding up a mirror to everything I do.

I'll let you know how it turns out.

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