While we were trying to get flu shots at Costco, Linda and I sat down and ate some hot dogs.
The place was jammed, as always.
I started people watching. I know, no big deal. Except for me, it is. For years I could only go into a jammed packed 'marketplace' by screwing up my courage. And even then, I wanted to get in and out as fast as possible.
A little thing called Agoraphobia. So I'm sitting there watching all the people, thinking about how Not Hollywood the American public really is -- old and fat and short and badly groomed and badly dressed and so on -- but you know, not so bad. Just people. I'm just people, too -- of the older, gray grizzled kind.
My gaze was sliding over people, occasionally catching someone's eye by mistake and easily detaching myself, going back over to make sure they were ignoring me, and so on. Felt natural, and easy. I seemed to be fitting right in. (I guess a final residue of my phobia is that "checking" thing.)
It made me appreciate the simple ability to sit in public and not feel uncomfortable; something that just about everyone feels naturally and don't realize what a gift it is.
Hard to explain. It probably never even occurs to people.
I'm very sympathetic to post-traumatic stress disorder, because my guess is that it plays similar mind and body trips as most phobias -- probably more so, and maybe not as predictable.
There are a certain number of people who suffer from Agoraphobia. One of my crowd watching goals was to see if I saw anyone uncomfortable like I used to be; of course, I didn't see them because, hey -- they wouldn't be there, would they?
And if they were, they were probably pretty good at hiding it, like I used to be. Putting your head down and plowing through a crowd looks a lot like a busy guy in a hurry, you know?
But I sure appreciate this easy feeling. I don't know when it happened, exactly. It's been a long slow process. Every success building on another success. Never pushing it. Pills helped for the most extreme situations, but I feel like they are less and less necessary. I still don't choose these situations -- or seek them out. Because -- well, you never know. Don't push your luck.
But I also don't twist myself into contortions to avoid them, either. I take them in stride when they happen.
Sitting there and not feeling even a twinge.
I'm not sure I ever thought that would happen again.
Thank god for small favors which are really big favors.
Coming Next Week: 5/22/13
4 days ago