Socially Retarded, Who Me?

It has been so long since I have felt so socially retarded.  For those of you who knew me in high school and college you know how socially inept I can be.  Get me in small groups or in a card game or around any sport and I am on my game.  But when that group grows to 15 or 20 or it becomes a party carried only by conversation and I freak out.  I go someplace in my mind and can't seem to come back out.  And the worst part, I think, is that I get this look on my face as if I were going to kill somebody.  Don't really know why.  I guess that's just the way my face kinks up when I go to that place.
So, today my social ineptitude hit again.  With out any warning.  But I think I found at least one of the many triggers.  I am trying to make my way into a new group of people.  Trying to befriend a couple people.  I went to a party with about 25-30 people. First mistake.  And its a post-marathon party.  Mistake number two.  The conversation naturally went from did you race today to how did you do?  So I am getting stories of P.R.'s and beating personal goals.  And I start doing a little math on their numbers and am realizing just how fast they are and how slow I am.  Now running has never been my strength, I am really more of a swimmer, but in the last year I made some huge improvements in my running. 
 I could dismiss a few people as being faster than me, (my dad told me long ago, there will always be someone smarter, someone faster, someone more talented)  but every one of them was far and away way faster than I could ever dream to be.  The slowest ran 13.1 miles at a faster pace than I can even run one.  And so I am all of a sudden thoroughly intimidated and feeling like crap.  Not to mention that I am already completely intimidated by a few of the Ironman triathletes in the group.  You know those insane people who swim 2.4 MILES, then get on a bike and ride 112 MILES and then, because that couldn't be enough, they run a marathon, 26.2 MILES.  Some of these guys I am so intimidated by that I can't seem to carry on a normal conversation without either stumbling over my words or resorting to my old standby, sarcasm, and not the kind-hearted type.
So after 34 years on this planet and finally, post-high school, learning to fake it pretty well, I am back in that 6th grade dance paralyzed with the fear of a huge group of people and no idea of how to navigate it. I guess I can get over it, just need a good-nights sleep and a fast run tomorrow.  I just hope people had enough to drink to overlook that stupid girl in the corner not saying a word and looking like someone just drank her last beer.

Why Sail?

Type 1 Diabetes is a multi-talented killer.  It kills quickly, it kills slowly and it can kill by stripping you of any desire to truly live.  One slip up in your dosing math, one time you forget your safety sugars, one underestimation of how hard that workout really was and the amount of sugar in your blood plummets to the point where there is not enough to support your brain and heart function.  I’m sure you can guess the outcome of that, and it can happen in the blink of an eye.  We all do a pretty good job of staying on top of it, but slipups do happen in the diabetic community.  It’s a tribute to all of us that it doesn’t happen more often. 

            But even if we can prevent the Superlows from happening, it is virtually impossible to keep from getting too much sugar in your blood from time to time.  Whether its that hot fudge sundae you’ve had your eye on for a week, a forgotten bolus of insulin because one kid’s crying, one was screaming and that pesky telemarketer just knew it was the right time to call, or you got sick and your body decided that it just doesn’t feel like responding to the triple dose of insulin you had to give it.  Then little by little your blood gets thick with those killer glucose molecules that like to attach themselves to any available red blood cell like an over-40, still-single, overeager, “my-biological-clock-is-ticking” woman when she finds any man who shows even the smallest smakeral of interest in her.  So what if your red blood cells get a little bigger?  So what if trying to pump those enlarged cells around your body will wear out your heart a little quicker or that they start to tear at the littlest capillaries like a three-year-old through presents on Christmas morning?   Those capillaries aren’t in anything really important anyways, just your kidneys, eyes, hands, feet and one other really important part.  And so very, very slowly Diabetes silently wears out your body. We all work hard to slow this process.  We all use the latest technology, we analyze all sorts of data and walk around like Robo-diabetic with pumps, meters, and continuous glucose monitors strapped to our bodies, belts, and in every bag, backpack and purse we own all in attempt to slow the coming tide.

            But, I think worse than both of these, is Diabetes’ ability to strip you of all desire to truly live.  Your doc tells you never again walk barefoot, no flying or scuba diving, forget Ironman training, just walk for 20 minutes a day.  Everything in moderation, he tells you.  And that’s the killer, Moderation.  When was the last time you got the least bit of a thrill from Moderation?  Have you dreamed about your Moderation for two years straight, saving every extra penny, telling everyone you know, being possessed by your Moderation?  Never.  But talk to any diabetic who has stepped out of the cloud of Moderation and they will turn your ear bloody talking about their training plan and what their blood sugars were every 15 minutes during their last sub-4 hour marathon and every detail of their next trip climbing Machu Pichu.  They are truly living.  And they are talking to anyone who will listen.  But for years they were talking to those who didn’t know much about diabetes, those who don’t know Type 1 from Type 2, those who couldn’t help with the right basal rate reduction for an 11 hour hike, those who don't know a thing about the low blood sugar induced Midnight Munchies.  That is until a few of these diabetic athletes happened to sit down together at a table together at a conference and started talking.  What was born out of that conversation was the plan to build a community to get diabetics together to talk and to support their moderation-busting adventures.  

I, too, have been bit by the bug to abolish moderation.  For me its a sailing trip.  Four days, alone on a 22 foot Catalina, in the Florida Keys. To sit alone for 96 hours, to sail, to think and to write.  To get a grasp on what diabetes has done to my life and what I am going to do to diabetes.  And to support others who want to do the same thing in their own way.  I have decided to use this trip to raise funds for Insulindependence and to spread the word that Moderation will never win.  We can't let it.

Who are these people?

So do you recognize any of these people yet?  Give me your best guess.  I'm sure a couple of you have recognized yourselves...

Numero Five

You know the drill...

1.  Be able to eat mac-n-cheese with me every Sunday for weeks on end.
2.  Be one of the few people able to sit and do absolutely nothing and still make it interesting.
3.  Be so easy to drive crazy just by moving a few items in your room just an inch, and tilting paintings a few degrees off center.
4.  Be able to grow up and not loose any of the good parts of yourself
5.   Be game enough to drive to Hollywood on a moment's notice to go to a movie premier of one of the weirdest movies I've seen.
6.  Be gullible enough to believe that I had no feeling in my right hand and compassionate enough to feel really bad about it.
7.  Bring me into the presence of God when you sit down with that guitar of yours and start to play worship.
8.  Want to be cool enough to hang out with the older guys but not realize you were even cooler for knowing, more than they, when to say when.

So I only got 8, not for any lack of character or interest...

Character Four

So here we go again.  If you want to be Character Four, here's what to practice...

1. Always be laughing.
2. Keep a beta fish in a shot glass.
3. Run 10 miles at a sub-6 pace and still be able to run your "recovery" runs with me slowly enough  so I wouldn't feel too bad.
4. Always ask "What did you read today?" so that I would have to read daily so as not to be caught without an answer to that one.
5. Be so concerned with doing things the "right way" that you don't let me roll my own sleeping bag because you would just have to do it again.
6. Be sustained by the music of Eric Clapton and Eric Goranson.
7. Peel the label off your beer bottle with your thumb and throw it inside.
8. Introduce me to my loves of Jimmy, fish tacos, sailing, and Jerry Bridges.
9. Be enough of a romantic to wear your parents wedding ring but disguise it by telling people you picked it up at a garage sale one day.
10. Never show your cards.

Bouncing along as Character Three

Let's try to keep this one to a real 10 steps... Character Three

1.  Be willing to give, never asking for anything in return.
2.  Have an abundance of energy.
3.  Have your head bowed when a camera appears.
4.  Be able to share a 10'x10' apartment with 4 other guys and not loose your mind. (Or maybe you did at times.)
5.  Never stand for the cheesy Christianeeze constantly being thrown at you.
6.  Supply me with my first real knife. 
7.  Give a person the shirt off your back... literally.
8.  Enjoy the characterization of a children's book.
9.  Be ready at all times to step in when I, or any girl you know, is being threatened.
10. Put up a total stranger for months on end, rent free, just because he's a friend of a friend.

Character Two

In 10 steps or less how to be Character Two
1. Play House of Pain way too loud and way too often.
2. Use coupons for everything.
3. Write me letters in college just so I wouldn't have to find an empty mailbox once again.
4. Always take a picture whenever we hung out before the days of the camera phone.
5.  Play baseball in a way that made me want to come out and watch.
6. Take me out on a date without me actually knowing it (not hard to do when I was so clueless).
7. Drink too much.
8. Be the leader of your group of misfit friends.
9.  Dump your girl on Valentine's Day.
10. Barter my attendance at a New Year's Eve party for yours at a crusade.
11. Be the typical irresponsible teenage boy except when it came to taking care of your sister.

Character One

If you ever wanted to know how to play the part of one of the many people in my life..  Here's your 10 step program

To be Character One
1. Teach me the finer points of snack shack hot dogs made at home and a Dr. Pepper eaten on the roof of your house on a beautiful summer day.
2. Be moody.
3. Be willing to drive up a mountain at 5 in the morning just to get a better view of the sunrise.
4. Count the steps to the top of Diamond Head.
5. Dare me to kiss my first boy.
6. Love to do logic puzzles with me as a kid.
7. Teach me to shave my legs.
8. Become catsup sisters because we were to afraid of blood (oh the irony of now being a diabetic).
9. Be loyal even when we had grown into two very different people.
10. Be able to brawl with me, throw me down a flight of stairs, hit the bottom,  start laughing and be over the whole fight.
11.  Be the first person I ever met that made me feel like I found someone who understands me (these are unfortunately too few and far in between).

31 days of character sketches

Since it's the new year I thought I would try to become a little more disciplined.  So I am going to put a little more effort into this writing thing that I have been doing.  For 31 (ish) days I am going to work on some character sketches (it's one of my many weaknesses). One a day for every day in January.  And being the slacker I am I have already missed a day, the first day. Oh well, you screw up, you apologize, make restitution and move one.  So I am sorry, not that any of you were depending on it since you didn't know it existed, my restitution will be 2 character sketches tonight and I have moved on.
Since I don't want to reveal something about a friend they may not want out there, there will be no names. Feel free to guess.