Sweaty palms, quivering voice, desperately holding in wind. All the signs I am incredibly nervous. And when do they appear? Only at the most inappropriate times of course.
In the queue for a rollercoaster – you can’t leave for an emergency toilet visit so you end up just standing there, swallowing hard and sweating profusely contemplating what people will think of the cold meat buffet at your inevitable funeral because THIS IS GOING TO BE THE END.
On your driving test – you are literally confined to a space where if one of you nervous farts, there is no blaming it on someone else. You can’t say “Oh, we must be near farmland” when you’re performing a 3-point turn in a cul-de-sac in an inner city town. (I wonder if a fart could count as a minor? Lack of control?) Or worse, a moist palm makes your gear change go tits up and you and the examiner go flying forward as you accidentally shift from 5th to 2nd in one swift, soggy slip.
Delivering presentations – standing in a room faced with thousands (exaggerating) of judgmental, expectant faces with nowhere to hide. If your voice breaks, they hear. If beads of sweat trickle from the brow to the tip of the nose, they see. If you lose your way and have to refer to the print out which all of a sudden appears to be incomprehensible shapes and colours on a page, they cringe with you. Time seems to stop completely. Each glance at the clock seems to make the little hand saunter back five whole minutes (the little git).
And then there are the big ones.
Interviews and subsequent first days.
This is where it all comes together, like a jigsaw of character flaws. How I’ve ever got a job off the back of an interview I’ll never know. I always ramble, get my words in a wangle (review previous post about the ‘inqueased’ saga) and get such clammy hands that when I greet the interviewer I end up leaning towards them because I have no grip. Like trying to keep a hold of a Carp in a boardroom. Even the notion!!
Then on the first day I can’t eat in the morning, which means my stomach does impeccable whale impressions for 3 hours, much to people’s confusion.
“Hi, I’m Sar-WAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR -ah”
Then I go red and walk away with the sounds rumbling off slowly like a distant storm.
New colleagues say “How are you finding it?” and I just go blank. All words evade me.
Cue robotic auto-response which causes their welcoming smile to transform to a confused grimace.
Why can’t the symptoms of nerves be uncontrollable charisma or quick-fired intelligent responses?
I don’t know about you, but from the outside looking … outwards (stay with me…) everyone else has nerves covered. No one else looks concerned, or moist on the brow. No one else is frantically clutching their buttocks together so as not to release a little stinky ‘quack’ with every step. Everyone looks well fed, well rested and well-rehearsed in this charade. No one shows signs of fear, dread or concern. If anything they exude complacency, seeming completely under-whelmed by the whole experience and wanting something more to get their adrenaline pumping.
Maybe some just hide it well. I’m just hoping that with time (and age!) and the more occasions I have to endure this torture I will become more in control of my body.
Now, if you will excuse me I need to eat something before someone reports that the air vents are making strange, rumbling noises from that corner over there and have only been doing so since that new girl arrived.