Last night I got an invitation to join some literary folks for dinner. Not a big deal, right?
For someone as shy and neurotic as I am, just the idea meeting up with a bunch of people I don’t know – at least beyond Facebook profiles and online writings – puts the fear of God in me. Will I make a fool of myself? Will I say something stupid? What about those uncomfortable silences? What if they think I’m a total idiot? After I got the email, I sat there staring at it for a good minute, trying to decide what to do.
All the usual excuses went through my head. I’m too tired. I have to get up early the next day. Ghost Hunters is on.
Then I thought What Would Greg Do? He’d do the scary thing, that’s what. Before I could psych myself out, I sent a reply back saying I’d love to join them.
And after that, I felt great! The uncertainty and indecision were gone. Having dinner with some strangers wasn’t going to kill me. In fact, it could only lead to good things. I’d have some fun and interesting conversation. I’d meet online colleagues in person. I’d make some writerly contacts.
And of course all of those things happened.
I wasn’t even nervous beforehand. It helped that I was totally distracted by being stuck in the WORST TRAFFIC JAM EVER on my bus ride home from the train station. Obama was in town, in case you didn’t know, meeting with Silicon Valley bigwigs and fucking up my commute.
It took us literally 40 minutes to go from 3rd Street to 7th Street. At that point, I said, “Fuck this shit,” got out and started walking. Avoiding the Tenderloin, I walked up to 11th Street then turned onto Van Ness. I was at McAllister when a bus pulled up just in time.
And guess what? It was *my* bus.
At least it could have been a faster bus.