Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pretty Fly for a Shy Girl

I'm starting to wonder if I'll ever be rid of this damn shyness problem. Shyness isn't a disease, there's no cure and as an evolutionary tool, it's the equivalent of an appendix. We don't need it, we don't want it, but for some of us, we're stuck with it. And it's inoperable.

For me, it's the prospect of meeting new people, as completely ridiculous as it sounds given my chosen profession. I used to have a problem meeting new people at all. I can still remember a client lunch when I was too shy to speak (but not too shy to eat). Now I can manage meeting one batch of clients at a time. Have been fine for some time now, and I do actually enjoy it. But networking is the absolute bane of my existence and, as I recently discovered, the prospect of spending 2 days at an internal networking conference will give me an asthma attack. Actually, 2 asthma attacks - one for each day.

I realised I was shy on the first day of my Primary One education. I was heading home with my Grandfather, and I could see from a distance that someone I had just met was about to pass my way. What do I do? What do I say? Do I make eye contact? When do I make eye contact? Do I smile? When do I smile? What kind of smile? Do I stop and chat? What if I don't? Would that be rude?

When she passed by, I was frantically digging in my bag for an imaginary book. I just couldn't go through with it.

About 8 years ago, I came up with what I thought was an amazing solution for the shyness problem, which was speaking at seminars. About 50 or so seminars later, I am dismayed to find that the shyness problem is cured - but only for when I speak at seminars. There is still an unholy dread of networking in any shape, size or form. I can see myself now at the pearly gates of heaven, cringing and wheezing at the thought of having to network with all these dead relatives. Or I could just find myself in hell, with my aunt, and no networking issues at all.

Recently, after a sleepless night, I realised the shyness issue also extends to the blog, which means that it is reaching critical proportions indeed. I go through the same series of reactions when I'm trying to respond to a comment on this blog, which could explain why I'm such a total sloth when it comes to responding to comments. It's not that I do not respond. I just do not publish the response. I am delighted and overwhelmed when I get a comment. Usually it makes my day to think that people might read the stuff I type out. Then I think of a response. Then I type it, then edit, then redact, then retype, then edit and then delete it in frustration because I don't think it will be good enough to publish. Then I spend sleepless nights agonizing and wondering if people think I'm too stuck up to respond to their comment.

Will there ever be a cure for shyness? Desperate people want to know. One hopes there will be a solution other than attending 50 networking events.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Not a Food Blog

So maternity leave has been wonderful and it has really allowed me to focus on The Kids. It also saves a heap of cash to eat at home all the time.

Then one day my Rather Cool Cousin calls me up to say that Damien de Silva has kindly agreed to cook a special dinner for 10 persons for the price of S$x, x being less than 100. It will be 2 appetizers, 2 mains and 1 dessert. This is Damien de Silva aka Soul Kitchen, who knows me as Tagliatelle Ragu girl, and who now owns and runs Big D's Grill out of a coffee shop at Block 46 Holland Drive. And by 'coffee shop', I don't mean a Starbucks. It's an old skool coffee shop without any airconditioning. It is a testament to Damien's amazing food that his cult following of foodies will follow him literally to the ends of the earth, because that's exactly where he has chosen to set up his stall this time.

I don't say no to this. I mean, if God descended from Heaven in a chariot bearing his own barbeque sauce and offered to cook dinner for you, would you refuse? Instead I show up hungry, child-free and only 10 minutes late, which is a personal record for me. And I feast.

As this is not a food blog, there will be no pictures of the food, and also not much description of the food but suffice to say that I just ate the remainders of the duck confit 5 days after it was originally served and it still tasted toe-curlingly good. And I don't even like duck confit. It's always stringy and chewy and reminds me that birds raised for food should not be permitted to attend aerobics classes twice a week. Damien made it so tender that the meat fell off the bone, and I have been pulling off bits and pieces of it for the last 2 days to mash into The Son's porridge.

I hope he does this again, and soon.

In other news, The Daughter is serving out her 3rd month of babyhood and is getting a little bit fat. Before I had her, I used to long for a great fat baby with deep fat creases on her neck, arms and legs. And now I have one! And boy is it difficult to keep the fat creases clean on the inside. They require cleaning about 3 times a day otherwise she's one big fat smelly rash. According to Grandma, she looks just like me when I was a baby, but much, much fatter. Apparently I was past full term (slightly late in arriving, as always) but skinny.

Finally, and I have to note this down at the expense of sounding like a woman obsessed with her own children, The Son had another epiphany this morning. He buckled his sister into the swing and in so doing pinched his index finger. I gave him the usual spiel about how he needs to be careful otherwise he will hurt himself doing all these things and everyone will be sad.

Small boys are tough, mama, he said. Much tougher than big people and babies. You always say that this will hurt me a lot but it only hurt a little. I'm tough. Tougher than big people and babies. RIGHT?