Monday, June 26, 2006


The more perceptive of you will have noticed that I didn't post anything over the weekend. As it happens, I switched off my computer at about midnight on Friday and didn't switch it back on again until this morning. A whole weekend of no net surfing, no gazing mindlessly out of the window, and absolutely no writing done whatsoever.

Surprisingly enough, the world didn't come to an end in my absence.

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, I came down with some strange flu bug whilst at school. For about ten days I was laid up in the sick room with nothing to do except sleep and feel miserable. I recall reading almost all of the Biggles books and listening to the radio, which was playing 'Making Plans for Nigel' by XTC and 'Cracklin' Rosie' by Neil Diamond on what seemed to my fluid brain to be a continuous loop.

As is the way of such things, I got better slowly, and eventually was deemed fit enough to rejoin the rest of the school. It happened in a strange way, in that I wasn't discharged first thing but had to wait for the doctor to see me. So I ended up having to walk into a Geography lesson that had already been going on for fifteen minutes or so. No one at the school had been allowed near the sick room in case I had something contagious, so I hadn't seen any of my friends in ten days, but more importantly to me, I hadn't been in the school for that time either. I had no idea what was going on.

I still remember the terrible feeling of dread, deep in the pit of my stomach, as I stood outside that geography class, staring through the little glass window with the wire lattice running through it, trying to build up the courage to knock on the door, knowing that I was going to be the centre of attention, wondering what everyone had been doing whilst I was away. It was ten times worse than the headaches and vomiting that had put me in the sick room in the first place.

I got over it in the end. Actually, I think Mr Collard noticed me at the door before I had a chance to knock. I was mortified to be noticed, cringed at all the attention paid to me, and then settled down to the lesson. By the time the bell rang, I had re-integrated, but the anticipation was dreadful: I couldn't cope with not knowing what had gone on whilst I'd been away.

Now a weekend spent tinkering and pottering is not the same as ten days in the sick room. And I'm a bit older now, less prone to fits of hysterical anxiety. But still there's that sense of coming back to something and wondering what I've missed, of panicking that I might make a complete tit of myself because I didn't know something that everyone else knew. What might I have missed whilst I was gone?

It's daft, I realise. There's no way that I can know everything that's going on everywhere all the time, even if I do claim that sometimes. But this bewilderment and uncertainty is at the root of my shyness, and I suspect at the root of all shyness. I've always envied those brass-necked people who shake off criticism with a laugh or a shrug. I burn up inside every time I'm shown to be wrong, or worse yet, stupid. It becomes easier to do nothing, say nothing. That way you're never embarrassed by your mistakes.

My blogroll is my school now and as long as I keep up my momentum, I can cope with the mass of information it presents me every day. But taking a little time away leaves me feeling slightly sick to come back. There's so much to plough through, so many things I have to know before I can possibly function here without the risk of serious embarrassment.

Of course, that's stupid. The world carries on with or without my participation.

Most of you probably didn't even notice I was gone.


Blogger Stuart MacBride said...

If it helps, you missed nothing at Casa MacBride. I've just babbled on about very little - so same as ususal.

June 27, 2006 11:31 am  
Blogger Mary said...

This really struck a chord with me. Something horrible happened to me at work last Friday, I am now on a week's holiday, and know that I am spending too much time wondering what has happened at work, how things have moved on etc? Was tempted to actually go into the office today to put my mind at rest.

I should be old enough to just let it go, and see how the land lies when I return.

June 27, 2006 1:18 pm  
Blogger Sandra Ruttan said...

Blogging is frightfully consuming, and Mary's summed it well with her thoughts on work too.

It's hard to let stuff go and not worry. But after last week on the blogs, even I needed a bit of a break on the weekend.

June 27, 2006 6:55 pm  

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