This is a brief profile of me. I was a really shy little kid, and deep down inside, I'm still a really shy little kid. Over the years I've learned to disguise that about myself, and people who know me now are routinely astonished to hear me describe myself in those terms, but there you have it. Underneath the exuberance and bluster is a really shy little kid. For every inner voice that says "hey, go be friendly," or "smile at that person," another quieter voice is whispering in my other ear things like, "oh, dear, what if that person doesn't remember you?" or, "look the other way and pretend you didn't see them." Ninety-nine percent of the time I vanquish the shy voice and bounce through my life as if my middle name was Cool and my shampoo was called "Social Poise and Confidence." But there's always that pesky little One Percent left over. I hate that One Percent. That One Percent makes me blush (oh, ruddy cheeks, ye bane of my existence!) and walk away quickly with my head down when faced with circumstances that I know not how to handle.
Remember that date I went on about a week ago? Well, things are still going well. Really well, in fact. We'll call the fella in question Leo. Last night Leo called me and said, "Hey, I've got my spanish class at a coffee shop really near your house, so how about I call you when it's over at 9:30 and we can hang out?" I'm pretty infatuated with this guy right now, so while in my mouth I believe I said, 'Oh, sure, that sounds cool," in my head I giggled stupidly and burbled something like "Ohmigod, your hair is so sexy." Later that night, I was out on a walk while I talked to my mom on the phone. I hung up, and noticed that I was right nearby the coffeeshop where Leo and my friend Schwupna were having their Spanish class, and it was 9:30.
"Hey," said my good and brave voice. "You're right near by, they're wrapping up the lesson about now, and you haven't seen Schwupna in a week or so, so why don't you just walk over and surprise them?"
My One Percent immediately interjected. "Oh, no, no, no, Cheastypants. You just started seeing this guy. Showing up at his Spanish lesson will send a very stalker-ish vibe, and you really want to avoid that."
"Oh, pshaw," scoffed Brave Voice. "It won't look stalker at all, and besides, you really just want to say hi to Schwupna. This is a totally valid and brave idea."
Accustomed to ignoring One Percent and listening to Brave Voice, I walked over to the coffee shop. I sauntered through the door, and there in the front were Leo and Schwupna, sitting with their Spanish teacher. I walked over and sat down.
"Hola, amigos!' I chirped merrily. Schwupna looked up and gave me an appropriately exuberant greeting. "Cheastika von Schwitzie!" she crowed, "Give me a hug, my love!" Yay, hugs! But then I looked at Leo and the Spanish teacher, and they were both looking at me like I was wearing a t-shirt that said I Heart Abortions. Crickets, crickets.
"Um, hi there!" I ventured. Leo belatedly remembered his manners and introduced me to the Spanish teacher, who shook my hand somewhat curtly and then immediately returned to the lesson.
"Y cómo se dice "necktie" en español?" Leo and Schwupna bent their heads back over their Spanish text book.
I started to get that weird stomach feeling that comes whenever I act against the dictates of the ever-prudent One Percent and start to regret it. Shitballs. I knew it, Brave Voice. I do look like a stalker! Oh, crap. Now I'm going to start blushing. Great.
Luckily for me, my phone started ringing, giving me just the excuse I needed to run like the wind. It was Cookie, a true and wonderful friend who promptly assured me that I wasn't totally weird for stopping by. I love her for promoting my somewhat tenuous grasp on reality. I hereby vow to listen just a leeeeeetle more carefully to you, One Percent. You have my sincere apologies.