Earlier this week, I returned from an eight day visit to Toronto, Ontario. I'm from rural New Jersey and, though there are some 'population centers' near me, there isn't anything like a three million person city.
In some ways, the visit was scary - this was the first time I've ever heard someone get mugged. We ran outside to see what was going on, but there wasn't anyone around. We didn't know what had happened until the police stopped by later to ask questions. Yikes, that's new.
At the same time, the visit was an amazing experience. The amount of things going on in the city is outstanding. I've never seen a spectacle quite like the Pride parade, nor have I slept in a house so close to a city block full of shops, coffeehouses and interesting people.
Alright, so I didn't meet many people outside Upverter and friends. I plan to though! That's where my apprehension comes in - I'm a quiet, introverted guy. I stumble over my words sometimes, and I get pretty nervous when more than two people I don't know are listening to me. Giving knowledge, opinions, and speculations to others - using your voice - is one of the most profound facets of the human experience, but it scares the hell out of me.
I can't say why. Maybe it's because my smoker voice sounds funny. Perhaps it's that I get too distracted trying to pick the right words to keep speaking. I don't really know, but I really don't care. I don't need to understand why I'm bad at socializing to become better at it. Not really.
I'm going to become a better socializer by tour-de-force. I'm usually the type to grab a book and analyze every passage in an effort to absorb every last bit of information. Not this time - sure, I've done some reading about socializing and such, but I know enough to know I need to approach this problem from a different angle - I need to put myself right in the middle of situations I know I won't be comfortable in, because that's what it's going to take. Sure, I could read all about my problems, but no amount of reading is going to teach me to think on my feet. Nothing I read will help me remember the helpful little facts I wish I could contribute to a conversation. Nothing at all, except for braving the weather and surviving the storm.
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