Monday, May 14, 2007

How I Know I'm Not Shy

Okay, there have been more than a few clues in my 30-something years. I KNOW I’m not technically ‘shy.’ But sometimes you find yourself in a situation, you feel a little timid, you don’t say much, you smile and keep your mouth shut, eyes down. And you begin to think, “Huh. Guess I’m shy.”

Whenever that happens, I recall an incident that occurred my senior year in college. I had spent my junior year abroad and had come back a little early so I could move into my room, find a thesis advisor, maybe catch up with some friends before the last year of classes began. I was excited to be back but I had not counted on the fact that few of my friends would also be back early. So those first days back were a little quieter, a little less populated than I had originally expected. Which meant when my friends did appear I was VERY excited to see them.

So one sunny day, there I am, walking through the Yard, and across the green lawns, between the big trees and almost-as-big squirrels, I see my friend Beelee.

(Digression: Beelee’s name is Bill. But we had met during a first-year French class where he was called Billy in English and ‘Beelee’ in French. So he is usually ‘Beelee’ in my world. Beelee’s dad and my dad worked together in Texas, and we became friends as soon as we met, at least in part because neither of us is shy, and in part because both of us have quite the flair for the dramatic.)

So, back to the story: sunny day, quiet lawn, spotting my friend Beelee. I then broke into a huge grin, flung my arms wide and start running across the Yard yelling, “Beelee! Beelee!” I was waving, smiling, leaping, yelling, running – so excited to see him that I was making quite a spectacle of myself as I sped toward him. If a golden retriever starred in a musical – that’s about what it would look like. It was a tad effusive. But if ever I could get away with a big ridiculous reunion in public, it was going to be with my friend Beelee.

“Beelee! Beelee!” Something was very wrong. Beelee’s face was visibly draining of color. He did not look thrilled to see me. In fact, he looked horrified and terrified all at once. He appeared to be frozen in one place, as if he were afraid to move. As I got closer, his eyes widened until there was a clear rim of white all the way around his irises. He glanced back over his shoulder, maybe to make sure I really was talking to him. By this point my gleeful open-armed flight across the Yard had slowed. I got closer and realized that while the guy in front of me bore a STRIKING resemblance to Beelee, especially from far away, up close he looked like a pasty, scared, about-to-faint *cousin* of Beelee.

He was not Beelee.

He was, in fact, just some poor guy, whose worst nightmare had come leaping at him in public, like the loudest toothiest gazelle in history.

Not-Beelee threw his hands up in front of his face, stuttered “N-no, n-not… ssstop!” in a near-whisper and backed away from me. He literally backed away from me like I was waving plague-ridden hankies in his face or something. I was mortified. I stopped moving toward him (truly, as I got closer he looked like he might throw up) and called to his retreating back, “Sorry! I’m so sorry. I thought you were my friend Beelee!”

He was DEFINITELY not Beelee.

There was a postscript to this story. I saw Not-Beelee one more time that year. He was walking down a city street, and I was walking on the other side. He saw me a moment before I saw him. I was in time to start down the same wrong path of thinking, “Oh hey there’s…” and then when he turned pale and fled I changed my thought “…Not-Beelee. He REALLY looks like Beelee.”

And that’s how I know I’m not shy. Not-Beelee was definitely shy. I am the loud loopy girl who scared him to death in college. I am, apparently, shy’s worst nightmare. At least, sometimes.


Diane said...

Oh! My! Goodness! Too funny!

Hysterically funny!

I bet you made his day...heck...his life! I'm sure he tells this story, at least annually!

Loved your description...."golden retriever in a musical!!!" I got it!

Reminds me of the time when I was traveling and thought I saw a business associate. I got up from my table, announced to the 19 other dinner mates that I was just going to say hi to him and my dear friend, Cindy, looked over to see where I was going--She said (a little too loudly), " KNOW Senator John Kerry?????"

Suffice it to say--she saved me from an embarrassing moment...and possibly being arrested by the Secret Service! Good grief! He looked exactly like my business friend....well, exactly in the way that a friend looks like when you see them in a foreign place...outside of your normal circumstances!!!!!

Phew! Another bullet dodged!



LaLa said...

Wow, Diane. You almost hugged a strange SENATOR! I feel a little better now.

This morning a friend told me about the time she came home after being away for a while and as she was driving she saw her friend 'Tom' driving too. She waved, and honked, and persuaded him to pull over. Then she got out of the car - so did he - and ran at him, jumped up, threw herself on him in a big kiss and started the 'So glad to see you, how have you been?' monologue. He just stood there. So there she is, clinging like a limpet, and suddenly realizes this guy is a TOTAL STRANGER. A stranger who decided it was worth going along with her, apparently.

This story also made me feel better.

BooMama said...

I have befriended more "friends" who turned out to be strangers than I can count. I'm always MORTIFIED, but I figure, at the very least, people can go home and tell a story about the crazy blonde woman who accosted them outside of the mall / library / church / local eating establishment. I'm just propelling their narratives, really.


Frazzled Farm Wife said...

That is a great story. It's always nice to know that I am not the only one who does things like that.

Daisyface said...

I too have had awful embarassing moment like yours, except in my horribly embarassing story the person I mistook for My Mum ended up WAY more embarassed than me.

I was about 12 years old, in the local swimming pool with my Mum and brothers. one of my brothers dared me to swim up behind Mum and pull her cossie down (I think you Americans call them a "swimming costume"....I think. Surely not, that sounds very clumsy). So, never one to blag out on a dare, I did it. Except the woman I swam up behind and exposed (her chesticular region)to the whole pool wasn't my Mum, she was another woman who from behind and underwater through chlorine soaked eyeballs looked remarkably like my Mum. She went totally berko and Mum pretended to be mad at me, but secretly gave me a high five later on. I've never lived it down, but my brothers have never tried to out-dare me again.

holymama! said...

rock on daisyface! OH my gosh!

did i ever tell you lala, about that time i went to pick up daddy from a hotel and it had been awhile since i had seen him? i was so excited i came VERY close to attacking and hugging another guy who sorta looked like our dad. I had to explain, but 'um... i'm sorry! i thought for a second you were my DAD!" doesn't sound really good. and it isn't really good, because why on earth did i think some stranger was daddy anyway!?