24 August 2021 (Tuesday)
With baited excitement, mixed with apprehension… I gazed around the room, looking for familiar faces. Some, I recognized immediately, others left me feeling unsure because their faces were partially obscured by face masks. The pandemic had definitely impacted the World Gathering in terms of numbers, as well as with interactions amongst the attendees.
NOTE: Socially, Mensans can be broken down into a few groups. Some are very outgoing and love physical contact, to include hugging. Others can be quite reserved and can resent their personal space being violated. And, as you can imagine, Mensans can fall somewhere between these extremes. Using colored dot stickers, placed upon our name badges, helps to identify which Mensan prefers what. But the mask mandates in place rendered the dot system non-essential.
25 August 2021 (Wednesday)
During breakfast in Hospitality, an old familiar realization came upon me. I had made a mental note of it before… People were walking around the room, some towards tables, others to pick up food and beverages. In their faces, I observed blank stares, joy and laughter, and varying degrees of weariness. I’m not any sort of expert on the subject, but it was easy to see social awkwardness in some of their faces and in their behaviors… and maybe even flashes of autism. Witnessing some of the interactions between Mensans kinda ‘confirmed’ my suspicions. It was hard for me to see it. I felt sadness, but also, some sense of relief. They could’ve been me. And, to a certain degree, they were. As I sat there thinking about them, I wondered if that was how other people… ‘regular’ people, thought about me.
I’m sure, to many folks, I can come off as a bit eccentric and awkward. I try to manage my actions and quirks to present, what I think to be, a favorable impression… or at least a neutral one. But what if, just maybe… I was being viewed by others in much the same way as these fellow Mensans I was observing?