Wednesday, 9 January 2013
Any kind of visible aggression makes me very jittery, and that can include angry expressions, threatening postures, gloating laughter, even lads kicking footballs. A huddle of teenage males usually exudes enough aggressive undertones for me to cross the street to avoid them.
In the workplace though I've often challenged managers who want to mess about with my working hours or salary or work routines. If I feel unfairly treated, I'll square up to them. I spent four years as a trade union rep doing the same for my workmates.
I've often been the lone voice in a gathering of diehards, expressing my own heretical opinions whether they like it or not. I'll voice my atheism to a bunch of dyed-in-the-wool believers. I'll tell a roomfull of meat-chompers that I'm a vegetarian. I'll lob my socialism into a bevy of hardline conservatives.
But I can also get absurdly shy at social events. Faced with a sea of unfamiliar faces, I get tongue-tied, my brain freezes, my self-confidence withers, I don't know what to say.
Public speaking is equally scary. I've never given a formal speech or presentation in my life, and I hope I never have to. I'm sure I'd say all the wrong things and seriously embarrass myself.
And in restaurants, like most people, I'm loathe to complain about the food, even if it's virtually inedible. I just valiantly gulp it down or leave it. I don't like to make a fuss or be the centre of attention.
I guess what all this amounts to is that I have a very unpredictable response to danger. Sometimes I flee, sometimes I walk straight into it. And sometimes I don't even notice it, I just do what I have to do.