Saturday, May 22, 2010

Making A Fool of Myself -- In French and English

Just when I think I'm over my shyness, something happens to remind me that, in another life, I was the kind of prairie dog that NEVER poked its head out of the burrow to see what was going on, unless everyone else was in the burrow then I was the one outside sitting alone in the rain just so I wouldn't have to talk to anyone.

Me in another life. But even then, my butt was covered with soft fur.

Think you know the pain of being shy? Try being shy in two languages. Tonight, we went to our eight-year-old daughter's ballet recital. One of her classmates has a French father. I happen to speak French with the same facility with which I speak in English -- meaning I'm a shy sack o'reluctance whenever I have to communicate with another human being using my voice and my brain (fingers and brain, via typing, seems to work a hell of a lot better for me; I half wonder if some of those brainium connections weren't completed when I was a developing fetus.). But my wife, who is not shy in some circumstances, insisted we had to meet. So we did. He spent a lot of time talking, and I spent a lot of time nodding my head like some deranged, unchaven bobblehead. I think (I hope) I responded enough to reveal that I am in fact semi-sentient behind the glazed look of fear which I'm sure was in my eyes as we talked. I did e-mail him after the encounter (after Michelle got his e-mail address) to apologize for my timidity. I also had to reveal I used to be a journalist. He'll probably scratch his head over that one for quite a while: A shy journalist? But then he'll understand when I tell him I left that industry to go sit in a mobile home that sits about a kilometer away from a vast collection of buried, radioactive Cold War relics. If anything else, I can blame the radiation for my total lack of social graces. (It does mean I fit in pretty well with the engineers out there, which is a good thing.)

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