Little Terrors

Early last week, I was riding the WR to school in the morning (Yeah, I know that I’m old and should have managed to escape school by now.) and on the way up a long hill, into the sun, when the usual defogging-of-the-faceshield battle going on, a pickup rolled through a stop sign into my path. Thanks to the WR’s great brakes and maneuverability, I managed to get around the stopped pickup uneventfully and on my way undamaged. It didn’t seem odd to me that my heart rate stayed pretty much in it’s usual 70-89bpm territory of that I didn’t have the kind of delayed freaked out reaction that I might have experienced 50 years ago from the same kind of near-event.

At least not until I did experience a few moments of extreme tension an hour or so later. In the first hour of class, our instructor got himself tangled up in an electronics explanation and couldn’t escape from the series of questions his confusion inspired from the class. Eventually, he asked me to briefly explain passive high and low pass filters. I can do that fairly easily, but without drawing out a couple of circuits I can’t do it quickly. So, I mindlessly headed for the whiteboard and about half-way into my explanation I realized I was back at the front of a class. I am not a natural or comfortable performer. I taught college classes for 13 years, but led up to that slowly doing industry training mostly for small groups over my 40 year engineering career. The two year break between the end of my teaching career and that moment in front of 25 students had allowed me to return to my normal introverted, stage-shy self and by the time I was back at my seat my hands were shaking, my chest was pounding, and I was practically hyperventilating.

The conclusion is that I’d rather dodge pickups and SUVs and the rest of the brain-dead cager barrage than speak in public.

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