Question of the Day

Suggested by Shaker Maurinsky: What piece of information or anecdote about your life would Shakers find most surprising?

I can't imagine what anyone would or would not find surprising about me, since I'm always amazed by what wildly divergent impressions people seem to draw of me from the blog. I guess maybe people would be surprised to find out how naturally shy and still and introverted I am. Which is not to say that I'm timid, but observant and quiet, except for my loud laugh—unless I am among people I trust. And even then I am loathe to be the center of attention, and I don't know how to take compliments without blushing.

I quite enjoy talking to strangers, one-on-one, especially if I can get them talking about some interesting bit of their lives; I love listening. I appreciate endlessly people who will allow me to be nosy in finite times and spaces—waiting for a bus together, sharing a cab, online at the grocery store, getting my hair cut. Those slices of passing intimacy are precious to me.

I am, on the other hand, dreadful at small talk. Awkward, hopeless, ever in real danger of looking horrendously rude—my inelegance misconstrued as aloof disinterest. My girlfriend Miller, who I've now known and loved dearly for a decade, loves to tell people how she thought I was a complete bitch when we met, those first months after she was hired at an office where I already worked. When she threw out her back and ended up bedridden, I appeared with pizza and the promise of good company for an evening, surprising her utterly.

Shy then, she realized. Not an asshole after all. We've been friends ever since. And so my life goes.

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