Last night I wanted to get some writing done, but I couldn't do it here at the apartment. You'd think I'd be able to find some peace and quiet here seeing as how I live alone and the apartment downstairs is vacant but I'll be the first to admit I'm a little ADD and have the attention span of a baby giraffe. I may have every intention of doing some writing but here there's always something to distract me.
I wonder if anyone left me any comments on MySpace!
I wonder if anyone has commented on any of my YouTube videos!
I wonder who's on Comedy Central Presents right now!
I wonder if I should make a smoothie!
I wonder if I should watch a movie!
I wonder who's on IM!
You get the picture. Nothing ever gets done. So I decided to head over to a little coffee shop I stumbled upon last week. The owner knows my brother Ray and the first time I was in he could see the family resemblance and asked how I was related to him.
So I made the short drive over, my trusty little notepad tucked away in my pocket. I ordered an iced coffee and made my way to an out-of-the-way table against the wall and with my back to the door so as to keep myself distraction-free. There were about 6 or 7 kids in there having a Bible study a couple of tables away. No big deal. Although they were carrying on a discussion, they were still mindful of their surroundings and spoke in hushed tones and soon they had faded into the background atmosphere.
At the table next to me were a couple of people playing chess and it didn't take long for me to delve into my notebook and totally forget where I was. I was frantically scribbling away in my book, the words pouring out of me. I was on a roll and it felt good.
Which is probably why I didn't notice the owner had come in. Suddenly his voice broke the calm serenity of the room and I heard his voice boom out, "Hey, do you know who that is?!!!"
All that was missing was the sound effect of a needle scratching across a record. The entire room came to a standstill and everyone; me, the Bible study kids, and the chess players stopped what we were doing and stared at this guy who was pointing me out to his (I assume) wife.
"That's Ray Placencia's brother!!" He continued to bellow out and I felt the focus of the room shift from him to me.
Bear in mind, I really don't like being the center of attention. You may find that hard to believe seeing as how I've spent so much time on the stage and trying to make people laugh (both on and offstage). People are always surprised when they hear I'm a shy person. But think about when you first met me. Chances are I didn't come across as "the funny guy." Maybe "the nice guy." But it usually takes me a while to warm up to people when I first meet them.
In the meantime, please don't shine the spotlight on me.
Especially when you're in a place that is relatively quiet and people are trying to hold a Bible study. Or play a game of chess. Or write.
I smiled at the guy's wife and sheepishly said, "Hello." And the room continued to stare at me. I don't know what she - or everyone else - expected me to do. Was I supposed to hop behind the piano and play a song or grab my foot and stretch it behind my head? This guy's wife was still staring at me and I just smiled and nodded. "How are you?" was all I managed to get out.
She smiled and then they walked away. And for those of you keeping score at home, everyone else was still looking at me. I focused my attention on my book and my writing - or at least pretended to - until everyone else went back to what they were doing before they were so rudely interrupted.
I gathered my papers, put them back in my book, slipped it into my back pocket, dropped my cup in the proper waste receptacle, left the building, and swore never to return.