I Have No Shame
I’ve always been a very self-conscious person.
And not only self-conscious. I’m “other-conscious” too.
Because, in addition to worrying incessantly about the impression I am making, I also worry about the impression someone else might be making.
Do you ever feel that way?
Embarrassed for the guy whose fly is down? For the lady with toilet paper stuck to her shoe?
I figure I am doing them a favor. They don’t have to be mortified. I’m mortified for them.
I seem to have lost my sense of shame.
If someone acts like an idiot, hell, it’s okay with me.
There’s two ways this could go:
1. The Embarrassee is an ass. So I have found that it is perfectly fine if he is an ass in public. Poetic justice, really.
Like the teenager who shares her loud conversation with everyone on the street, until she walks into the fire hydrant.
Like the boss who, the day after she told me I had no leadership skills, gave a speech while gushing flop sweat.
Like the jerk with the sign telling the government to keep its hands off his Medicare.
2. The Embarassee is a genius. And by that I mean – lucky enough to enjoy himself without giving a shit about anyone else’s opinion. I am no longer embarrassed for the old lady who is dancing to the piped-in music in Stop & Shop. I’m envious.
And my admiration for blissful disregard for what’s proper seems to be growing all the time. Twice on Sunday, I found myself celebrating unabashed shamelessness.
We were out for a drive. A beautiful day to zip along the highway in the convertible. And as we passed one old, ordinary car, I noticed the driver had her hand out the window. Remember when you were a kid, how you would cup your hand out the window and let it surf the wind? How cool that felt? Well here was this older lady doing the same thing. Maybe she’s been doing it every day for fifty years. Maybe she just had a flash of memory and decided to experience that simple joy again.
On the way home is a busy street with an illogical stop sign that backs up the traffic. There is always a line of cars moving slowly and haltingly as they inch up to their turn at the stop sign. There’s a house on that corner. And on this day there was a very old man, all dressed up in a suit and a bow-tie. standing at the end of the driveway. As each car passed the driveway, this old guy applauded. What in the world is he thinking? I wondered as he clapped away. And it occurred to me that he perhaps thought it was a parade. And here we were in our convertible, the highlight of the parade. So I gave that guy my best royal wave.