The older I get the more introverted I become. At this rate I am destined to be a hermit living in a shack somewhere in The Snowy Range Mountains by sometime next summer.
It's not just strangers that cause my stomach to turn anymore. I'm also become adverse to even engaging in small talk with people that I have met before. I can't handle those conversations for a couple reasons:
1) I always get nervous and say something wildly inappropriate. A poor schlob might ask me how I'm feeling today and I will panic and say something like "You'd have to ask my bowels. They're the captain of my ship".
2) I can't remember people's names so when approached by somebody I use greetings like "Hey there Mister Man" or "Howdy Woman" to begin any of my conversations.
In order to avoid moments like this I have started to pretend I'm on the phone when I'm in a public place and I see somebody I'm acquainted with. When I began this practice I just held my phone to my ear and pretend I was listening to somebody ramble on. I would look at the other person and just make the gesture of "Sorry, I would love to talk -but I'm stuck on the phone".
As time has gone by my fake phone calls have become much more interesting. I'm now responding to my invisible partner on the other end of my imaginary phone call. (that sentence makes me sound like I have fully lost my mind - which is most likely true) I say things like:
"Make sure you buy 20 shares of Microsoft before closing."
"Tomorrow is my deadline - so I need to talk to Barb (who the hell is Barb??) about extending that."
This is probably an example of my ego making sure that the people around me are impressed with whatever it is I'm talking about. I have no doubt that sometime later today when I'm on the phone while in line at Starbucks I will be taking a call from The White House on how to handle the situation in Syria.