They are opening up a Guitar Center right next to our Trader Joes and they have a little promotional booth out front of the construction spot with a table and a little tent thing and a sign for all kinds of music classes. A group of boys in their mid to late 20s stands around the table talking to people as they walk by.
“We’re opening up a Guitar Center here and offering classes.”
“Hello! Can we help you with some music lessons?”
They are totally average, generally nice men. And yet! Whenever I approach them (on my way to get a fruitsnack or zucchini for zucchini pizza) I am transported back to junior high. I am suddenly the nervous, self conscious loser who has no business being around the cool musician/skater/athlete boys, especially in groups. I am just asking for ridicule, to be asked, “What do YOU want?” to be ignored even if I do have the gumption to say hi. I am 13 and I am asking, begging to be reminded that I am not cool enough, or pretty enough, or interesting enough.
This is me, at 27, walking past completely benign Guitar Center employees on a normal Sat/Sun/Monday afternoon. With my husband.
And every time we do walk past Kamel elbows me in the ribs, “Go ask them about drum lessons, Lauren! Go ask them.”
“No!” I hiss, like Kamel’s my dad and he’s telling me to go be polite and say hi to my friends at the video rental place. “No!” I say again, “not now.”
“You are so weird. I’m just going to go do it for you.”
“No!” I yank on his arm. “Let’s just get to the Trader Joes.”
There are two things going on. First, apparently I am afraid of boys. Or, more importantly, I’m afraid of the boys I thought were SO COOL when I was 13, because it’s not like the movies where the girl has a secret talent for bass and she woos them by being just as talented (probably more so) as they are and the lead singer falls in love with her despite her shyness. It’s not like that. It’s more like: I have no “cool-able” skill whatsoever and I’m probably never ever going to be all that cool, and those guys probably hate standing outside in the sun all day trying to sign up the neighborhood for lessons on various musical instruments, and when I sign up they will probably roll their eyes at me and think, “Ugh… another one? What does SHE want… like she’ll ever be able to play drums like a badass. What a waste of time.” So there’s that.
And the second thing is that I’m kind of done with doing new/challenging/scary things for a little while. In 6 months there was the new job, traveling for work twice, Barcelona, rock climbing, and hot air ballooning. The idea of drum lessons, even though I still want to tackle it, makes me feel very tired. I’m in my hibernating phase. And it has nothing to do with successfully avoiding the cool kids. I still have to walk past them and old my breath and turn invisible every few days. Obvi.