It's not quite as bad on the phone. Not quite, but it's still there. When calling some business, or some other unfamiliar person, I brace myself during the first few rings, as though standing at the edge of a great precipice, about to teeter into the black unknown. I know nothing scary is going to happen when someone picks up. My brain could tell you that. The rest of my body thinks a little bit differently. So in those first couple of ringtones I basically have to conjure up all of my social courage, and by the time someone answers I am ready to be an extrovert and speak like a normal person.
Today I had to make a weird phone call, and there was only one ring. I was calling the records office at my university. I needed to withdraw from a class. Somewhere inside me I kept telling myself it was the easy way out and yet the process was very difficult. So there was only one ring and I stuttered over my explanation, "Hi, I have a question about withdrawing from a class. I need to do that. How do I do that?" And I had intended to give my name and say that I was undergraduate, but I didn't, so then I was bombarded with questions, and then I was told I would need to talk to Financial Aid if I wanted to make my decision, and THEN... and then. The person on the phone said, "You know, if you're on campus, you could come down here. The Financial Aid office is right next to the Records office." I laughed awkwardly, and told her I knew that.
I know they're next to each other. But the thought of going down there with my question was seizure-inducing. Why do you think I called first?
The funny thing is, the person on the phone was a friend of mine, and if I'd realized that to begin with, the conversation probably would have gone much differently.
It ended up fine. I have all the correct forms, ready to be signed. The only thing left to deal with is the "giving up" feeling that sends me into a spiral of discouraged guilt. I know this was the right thing to do. I don't have to explain that to the world. I won't. I know it was right, and I'm doing the right thing, but nobody likes letting people down.
And I suppose that's why this was not the easy way out. The easy way out would have been a lot of work too, but it would have been work on my head and not my heart. Maybe I would have come out at the end of the class with more book-smarts. But I feel as if heading in this direction, I'll be wiser. My heart will be stronger. This was the bolder thing to do.
Which, of course, leads me to this song, which has nothing to do with my blog, but is now stuck in my head.