I disagree that Ceallach's spouse was in any way rude. It seems from her description that he did his best to include and not marginalize her. There is only so much one can do given that type of set up - where you are trying to be polite and engage with a person on one side of yourself but still try to include the person on the other side. It can be a difficult balancing act.
I am another one who has extreme social anxiety, but I can mask it and muddle through when I have to. I don't know how many times I have been in that exact situation - sort of in between conversations and not a part of any particular one. It can feel SO awkward.
Often all I want to do is grab my book and retire to a corner. Obviously this would be just as antisocial as smart-phoning etc. So I do my best to slap on a happy/contented look and try to engage my mind by writing stories in my head. It is not ideal, but keeps me from running screaming from the room:-))))
Thank you for that. I knew posting this that some people would claim he was rude, but I didn't want to spend hours writing a detailed blow-by-blow of my interactions with him. I know he was fine and that's what matters.
He was definitely an attentive seat mate and spouse, but one can't always speak to the people on both sides at once! It wasn't his fault I had nobody on my other side to engage with, and he did try to compensate for that. As it wasn't really the issue at hand / point of the thread I didn't bother trying to defend him but it did bother me a little. So I appreciate your understanding.