Space Invaders – Day 306 – Tom

One of the places that always forces me to reflect is a crowded room full of strangers. Earlier this month I found myself at the Opening Night do for the Brisbane Writers Festival. It was very intimidating- the room was buzzing with experienced writers who all knew each other.

I stood at the side willing myself to go and talk to someone. Hadn’t I learnt my lesson by now? This project had been all about interacting with strangers- yet I was terrified of just walking up to one in real life and introducing myself. Thankfully, after a few minutes that seemed to stretch forever, a man (who also stretched forever) came and stood next to me. I looked up at his tall figure and suddenly we were having a conversation. His name was Tom and he didn’t know anyone either. He was from Melbourne and making video games was his thing- but he’d written a book just recently (read here). It was a lovely chat and we bonded talking about games. He recommended I play Journey, which I did just the other day and now I never want the game to stop. In Journey- almost everything is your friend- but it’s a very quiet game.

This has confirmed something in my mind: That I’ll never be a loud person who is the centre of the party, but if I can continue push myself to talk to strangers and befriend people in my own quiet way- I will get so much more out of things. 

The other day I emailed Tom to ask for a story idea- he said:

“an introvert is playing a Space Invaders arcade cabinet by herself at a fish and chip shop, extrovert comes over and talks to her and they make a connection over aliens, fish and/or chips”

Everyday

At the chip shop

Aliens descend

She mashes the button

Eliminates them

“Can I play?”

He mashes the button

Misses

Her eyes roll

“You’re supposed to stop the aliens.”

“Why are you always here?’

“Because people are aliens.”

“Am I?”

“Yes”

“What happens if you let them in?”

A shrug

“Can I play again?”

A nod

He smiles

Mashes the button

Misses again

She smiles

“I guess a few aliens are okay”

Edge of Conversation – Day 209 – Chloe and Friends

Chloe told me she found making friends difficult. I totally agree- it can be intimidating and awkward. This morning I decided to challenge myself to make proper friends with the guys in the warehouse. I like talking to them during work, but at lunch I usually sit back with the office people because they’re too loud and intimidating. Today I sat on the outskirts of their big circle. I felt like the quiet kid at school again. The following story is my experience:

On the edge of conversation. I step out briefly on to the centre of its loud shifting surface. But I can’t see my next step, it’s already moved so fast that I can’t find a foothold. So jump back to the edge, clinging to the still quiet comfort of the edge. I’ve got a better view from here. I can really take it all in. The edge isn’t always a bad place to be.