bunt sign

March 18, 2000

As much as I resent the nasty games spring weather plays with my head, I'm a much happier person when the days turn warmer. It's still winter, technically, but these are spring days here in the North Bay. The sky is blue, and all of the other colors are brighter. And even before we reset our clocks, the days are lasting longer. There's now enough light to read by until past six in the evening.

On my walk this morning the prevailing sound was the drone of leaf blowers, echoing through the near-empty parking lots of the medical complexes and churches on the avenue. With the scent of freshly cut grass in the air, it might be May or June instead of March. It's so satisfying to be able to leave the furnace off, and to tromp around in shorts all day instead of sweats.

And then I start sneezing and hacking and puffing up around the eyes, and I retreat inside to the stale, dusty air of my overcrowded house, and wonder if I really want to live in the country, or have a yard, or adopt a pet with hair that sheds. Yes! I want all of those things. If only it would all happen without my having to go through the drudgery of actually looking for this paradise. So far, I guess, I hate making phone calls more than I dislike living here in this undersized shanty.

I've had a problem making phone calls all my life. I'm not sure how it started, but I do remember embarrassing moments on the phone, when I've been so tongue-tied that I froze in mid-sentence. Absolutely froze, so that the person on the other end had to wonder if they were talking to a person who had just suffered a catastrophic trauma of some kind.

This is ironic, because I love words. When I'm talking to the mirror, I'm downright eloquent. In the heat of passion, I'm a poet. But when I'm asking for something, I can't put two words together and get them in the right order.

The times when I've felt most inadequate have been either on the phone or in front of groups. Something about having to come up with the right thing to say just fries my brain, so I avoid those situations whenever possible. It's just that it often keeps me from getting what I want. I would probably still have an aching wisdom tooth if the Boss hadn't arranged for me to see his dentist the other day. When someone does something like that for me, I'm slavishly grateful. The nicest thing you can do for me is make a phone call that keeps me from having to make one myself.

So I will probably continue to live in this hovel, until either it becomes so unbearable that I force myself to find a place, or someone takes pity and takes over the search for me. I'm not too proud to accept help, just a little too self-conscious to ask for it.

This telephone phobia could be a detriment to my job, if the Boss wasn't aware of it. I have other qualities that make me valuable to the Company, so he overlooks some of my deficiencies. That's another thing I have to be grateful for. Since my strengths are in the areas where he needs the most help, the relationship works well.

We spent the whole week working on a specification he's writing for a government job, with dozens of revisions and tricky formatting problems that I was able to solve for him. He doesn't want to know how I do it, but he appreciates the results. As long as I can keep producing work that he thinks is good, he'll tolerate my reluctance to make a few phone calls.

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