Pay attention to *me*!

Every blog has to have an arb post elaborating on some personal affliction. Here's mine.

It seems human beings have a lot of self-defeating traits. I often wonder how we became a (mostly) civilised and advanced society with all these counter-productive traits. Like laziness, for example. We are naturally lazy, right? So how did we ever build cities? Or get to the moon?

Social phobia - I heard about this one recently. The third most common psychological problem, apparently. But many of us suffer from this to some degree. Me, for example. I'm shy and overly self-conscious. I may not seem like it now, but leave me alone in a crowd of strangers, and it rears it's ugly head. Like when I walk alone in a mall.

I spent much of my life alone, and those years of solo walking has conditioned me to extend my gait. I often get asked to slow down when walking in a group, and I end up almost tripping over myself at the pedestrian pace. When walking alone, I do not want to appear to be lost or walking around without purpose. Walking fast makes me look busy. So busy, infact, that I often walk right past the very place I am walking to. The realisation then sets in and I find myself needing to make an about-turn, which then completely undermines the "walking with purpose" image I'd put on.

Walking fast also keeps my hands busy. I can swing them from side to side in sync with my stride. Slowing down really throws my hands into a confused state. I then have to pull out my cellphone or hold something in my hands so they don't bother my brain with stupid questions like: "people are watching, what should we do now?"

Making myself look busy has a terrible side effect though. I actually do want to be stopped by someone I know. Infact, I'd love it if that happened. Unfortunately anyone I know would barely be able to finish their facial-recognition processing before I flash by. And my avoiding eye contact makes it doubly difficult. Short of violently yanking my hand as I race past, or screaming out my name, there's little chance of a chance meeting. Self-defeating.

Unfortunately, walking fast has become a habit. Habits, however, can be broken. So I now make a conscious effort to walk more casually. I just have to keep reminding myself that no one is actually watching me, and maybe if they are, I need to give them time to figure out it's *me*! Oh, and if you happen to see me, scream out my name :)