notquiteold

Nancy Roman

I Have No Shame

It’s gone.

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.

Until now.

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.

*

parade.jpg

34 Comments

  1. I truly LOVE the way you see the world. Keep it up and keep sharing it. Please.

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    • Thank you. And stick your hand out the window tomorrow.

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  2. Would you say this is the Inner Child resurfacing? I believe so. I think this is what makes aging a lot more fun…

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    • It is very freeing to not give a shit what people think anymore.

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  3. This made me smile.

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    • Thanks… don’t forget to stick your hand out the car window….

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      • I did. In fact I always do. I love that feeling!

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  4. Nice post.Good to see like minded people,I like your attitude. I have also experienced such things particularly at my first day of my freshman year. If you wish,take a look at it.Have a happy weekend 🙂 http://pravinavinu.wordpress.com/2013/04/09/good-out-of-bad/

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  5. having no shame is liberating–and today I am going to cup my hand to the wind as I drive–I already play my music loud with the windows down and I just turned 60 — but I am a young and immature sixty and can pass easily for 59

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    • On a good day, I can pass for 58!

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      • on a really good day, when my husband is trying to get on my good side, he says I look 39–I know a con when I hear it!

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  6. The Royal wave was the perfect answer!

    And there’s nothing better than an ass making an even bigger ass of himself in public 🙂 Getting to be there to witness it? Joyful!

    MJ

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    • No kidding! Am I mean for enjoying seeing my detested boss sweat through her expensive suit?

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  7. I love this post.

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  8. You probably made that man’s day.

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    • I’m hoping he thought I was Miss Connecticut.

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  9. You make me laugh, Nancy. I still think it’s rude to have a private conversation loud enough for the United Nations to hear loud and clear, but there comes a time when you need to let it all hang out and enjoy life, especially the simple things. At a certain age, we know how to do so in STYLE. You will certainly never embarrass anyone because you have style.

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    • People who have loud phone conversations make me crazy. On the other hand, my husband is a little hard of hearing so everybody around hears All our conversations.

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  10. could he have thought he was directing traffic at first and then just started applauding people’s own ability to direct themselves? now that I am older (ahem) I am fascinated by people like him and I love to create little stories about them in my head. we have a guy in our neck of the woods who drives around in different pimpish cars with his window down and a Michael Jackson glove on waving at people enthusiastically and driving about five miles per hour no matter what the speed limit is. it is hysterical and fascinating to me. more fascinating is how irate he gets people. he’s become quite a local hero/annoyance and I would love to be inside his head for just a second to know what the hell he’s thinking.

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    • I don’t know what he was thinking, but he was certainly having a good time.

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  11. Your shameless disregard for others’ embarrassments made the old man in the bow tie very happy. He must have seen the old lady waving in the wind too and thought it was a caravan of celebrities. You are sooooo funny. I love your blog.

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  12. I think not being embarrassed for others is wonderful, but not being ashamed for yourself is even better. I made a new rule on my 50th birthday, I am going backwards. Every birthday I am going backwards, this way when I hit 25 (again) I will blame stupid behavior on youthful indescretion.

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    • Good idea! But although I want to be younger and i want to be shameless, I’m not sure I want to be 25 again.

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  13. This post is PRICELESS! It speaks to my heart. I used to worry so much about what other people thought of me. My Mom put me in my place some years ago when she told me;

    “You wouldn’t worry so much about what people think of you if you realized how seldom they actually think of you at all.”

    I started to understand how most people are self-absorbed in their own world, their own insecurities, that my behavior (or looks) mean little to nothing. Granted, I needed to let this thought ferment, which took some years. But, now I find myself with similar thoughts and beliefs as you express. THANK YOU for sharing your shamelessness! I LOVE IT!

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    • Thanks. I worry incessantly about what people think of me, while at the same time worrying that they don’t think of me at all.

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  14. This post made me happy 🙂

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  15. So, well… if you have a more public job you cannot totally not think what other people may think of you- but! possessing a somewhat non-conformistic mind I enjoy very much behaving after my fashion, the older the more. And enjoy other people do theirs too, it brings so much more fun to everyday-life. So, no shame on you and us all, hey!

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  16. The air conditioning gave up in my car years ago so I drive with all the windows down in the summer. I am always floating my hand on the air just like when I was a kid. It feels good.

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  17. I am very good at not caring what people think on my anonymous blog – not so much in the real world. Adorable picture!

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  18. Hands out the window – kids now don’t get a chance to enjoy traveling without AC.
    (and their mom screaming put that hand in – if a car sidewipes us, it would be cut off!) They never worry about getting sunburned on one arm and shoulder.
    Great post

    Like

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