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Thursday, October 27, 2005

I went down to
CounterCulture Cafe last night and read during its weekly Speak Up! open mic event.

As I was leaving, too many people I didn't know wanted to tell me how much they loved what I read - which isn't bad in itself - but they would start touching me as they said this. But it wasn't a "bad" touch, which can be so good, just weird random touches on my shoulder or arm.

I think I still remember those oh-so-good "bad" touches – or at least have a vague recollection – so I'm pretty sure those weren't them.

You'd think I'd get use to this kind of behavior.

It's happened at a public park, convenience stores, bars and restaurants. I think restaurants are the worse because, again, there is usually some touching involved. Mostly hand shaking, and it always seems to happen right after I start eating so you know what that means. After the person walks away, I have to subtly leave the table to go wash my hands again before I can finish eating. I don't know where those hand-shaking hands have been and I'm not taking any chances.

I once had a homeless man come up to me and ask if I still read locally. He said he had seen me and really dug what I had to say, then quoted some of my work. He followed that up with another question: "So, can you spare any change?" Then there was the time I was using a crosswalk and, as I crossed, a guy in the car waiting for the light to change started shouting, "Pete! Aren't you Pete? I love what you do, man!" That one hit me head-on and I never saw it coming.

Don't get me wrong, I do appreciate the compliments and if I can get away with a simple "thanks" I will. But sometimes people will want to talk about this piece or that. So that's when I usually tell them I don't actually read my work I simply write it, and with each letter I type I forget the one preceding it, but if they want to fill in the details about what they've read I might be willing to discuss it. In the ensuing moment of the inevitable perplexed look, I quietly slip away.

All this undue attention makes me nervous.


Because I'm very very shy.


posted by Pete 11:35 PM