With: Leslie P. Garcia
Congratulations to "Dee", the winner in Leslie's giveaway. Please contact JUST CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE to claim your prize.
Back in my fabled childhood days, my parents ranked good manners the most essential skill imaginable. I didn’t mind; being polite seemed better than being confrontational, forward, or rude.
Then my eight-year-old brother fell into a boat slip at Lake Altoona (in Georgia) and discovered he couldn’t really swim. I raced the short way to where my father and mother were entertaining friends and stopped short. Drinks in hand, sitting around the twenty-two-foot cabin cruiser, chatting in the bright sunlight….
You NEVER interrupt an adult. Never. Only spoiled brats do that.
So I waited.
Finally, in desperation, I cleared my throat. “Excuse me,” I announced, dying over my rudeness and its potential consequences. “But I think Greg is drowning.”
My father shook his head. “We’re talking. Besides—I taught him to swim.”
“But he’s under water,” I argued, and moved my arms and legs like a turtle swimming along under the surface. “He’s kinda doing this.”
The adults took off, and saved my brother. Instead of being punished for being rude, I was punished for not interrupting sooner.
Now and then, I retrieve that memory, dust it off, and wonder what, if any, part that episode played in the shyness that haunted me most of my life. Surprisingly, I could function when I had to. I answered questions in class, could give directions, competed and often won in 4-H events. But whenever I could, I’d be in a corner reading, or on a pony reading, or imagining myself far away in a relationship conjured up from a story I had read.
Social? Not me. I had the skills my parents said were important to be successful in social settings, but no desire to interact.
For a long time, I blamed the etiquette drills for my reluctance to shine in public venues.
Notwithstanding, I became a teacher. For many years, I only spoke when spoken to among adults. Didn’t use my mentor’s first name for 15 years. Fortunately, I’ve always been able to relate to kids, and was passionate about education. Any shyness aside, I like to believe I excelled.
Now that I’m no longer teaching, it’s harder than it was to go to the grocery store or on any public excursion. In the solitude of the house, I still find myself apologizing to the dogs if I offend them, or saying “please work” to gadgets that malfunction—using all the outdated courtesies I was told would make me accepted anywhere in life. Sometimes I blame my robotic politeness as the real reason I was never comfortable around others. Realistically, I know that isn’t true.
Being polite is fine. What I still can’t figure out is—how real is introversion, and how do extroverts actually enjoy all that attention?
So what kind of shy are you?
Cyberspace is an introvert’s greatest friend—I’d love to hear about you. Introvert or extrovert? How do you deal with extremes in either case? Please comment. You know, if you want to.
Introverted and insecure, Jody Colton would rather not deal with the world, or the betrayals that come with caring too much. But when she sees Cowboy, the horse stolen from her, in a slaughter pen, she’ll stop at nothing to save him.
Joe Roberts was on top of the rodeo world until a bronc named Cowboy ended his career. Appalled that the former Bucking Horse of the Year is in a kill pen, Joe plans to say goodbye to Cowboy and move on—until Jody ropes him into a wild plan to save Cowboy.
Neither Jody nor Joe want commitment. They just want to save Cowboy. But when attraction and desperation morph into stronger feelings, can they risk the one thing they both blame for destroying them—can they risk love?