Friends, did you know that I’m shy? Sometimes, I cover it well, or so I’ve heard. I actually like public speaking, and I talk to tons of strangers every day at work. After 27+ years of shyness, I’ve developed strategies like asking people about themselves, because that works three-fold: I am nosy, they like to talk about themselves, I seem engaged. Alcohol is the great social lubricant, yes, but so if coffee. I’m so addicted to it partially because I am a tried, over-exerted person, but partially because it lets me talk like a semi-normal person. Before I really got into my two cup a day habit, I drank socially, and by that I mean that during my little phase in college of going to frat parties (Don’t worry, I only interacted with my roommates and entertained my self by rolling my eyes at people.), when I was also in my phase of teetotaling (also known as the years before I turned 21 because I am a NERD.), I drank a cup of coffee before hitting the houses and I was so chatty and animated that people refused to believe that I had only imbibed Nescafe. Now, I don’t jitter my way through a counseling session at work, but I do get buzzed (with caffeine) before clocking in.

I do drink coffee before yoga sometimes, if I’m feeling sluggish, despite the recommendation to abstain from food and drinks other than water for two hours before class. But on Monday, I didn’t have any, and to class I went, where I breezily and accidentally insulted sororities before class started. One of the other women looked like she might have been a fan of the Greek system, I backpedaled, changed the subject, and kept talking. The teacher chatted back, and when we wound down to start class, I realized that sweat was pouring down my back as I sat, centering. The room was warm, but not that hot. It was all about my social nervousness-induced perspiration. Siilarly, before my brother’s college graduation, I debated my outfits with my dad, saying, “I like the pants, but I’ll probably have to talk to people, so I’ll be sweating, so I should probably go with the sleeveless dress. You know how it is when you have to talk to people and you sweat, right?” “No,” he replied. Because not everyone has anxiety with human interaction, I guess.

The reason I mention this, and the reason I’m writing about it in such detail is that I’m at my favorite coffee shop. and a dude, perfectly nice, albeit hipster, asked if he could share my table because there are limited outlets for laptop. I said yes, conversation ended. But I am ready to go home and eat lunch and he is sitting by the outlet, and for some reason, I am petrified about asking him to please unplug my MacBook charger or to slide out of the way so that I can do it. I’ve been psyching myself up for about 20 minutes now. I’ve survived more difficult interactions. But honestly, you might find me sitting here until 5:00 this afternoon because that’s easier than opening my mouth. I just hope that he maybe needs to go home and fold his socks, or something.

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