Poem: The Ten Year Old Speaks

The Ten Year Old Speaks

A cup of coffee.
Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young on the stereo.
Across the diner the cook makes hash browns.
The remnants of breakfast sit on the table.

The place has been closed for six weeks.
A winter break. They do it every year
and you flounder a bit, missing not just the place,
the food, the music, but the people,
your neighbors, all holed up for the winter,
finally emerging.

It is a perfect place for an introvert like you.
Sit long enough, people notice you,
say hi. Stop to talk. You make friends
despite yourself. Despite a persistent shyness
that has been part of your makeup
since you were a child.

A lesson applied to way too much of light.
Show up. Hang around. Do good work.
And stuff happens. Good stuff.
Success in anything, not just work and life,
is more in the persistence
than the personality.

It’s what I tell myself anyway
because for me it works, probably because
it keeps my ten year old shy boy
safe.

About this poem

People think, because so much of what I do involves being in front of people, because I am sociable, that I could not possibly be shy. And yet, I am. I have spent a lot of my life building a life that integrates me with people slowly. Safer feeling.

So much of life involves overcoming myself. I suspect it is the same for many of us.

My favorite diner, which closes in the late winter, has just re-opened. I had breakfast with a friend this morning who commented on how I take lessons from everything. I probably do. Not virtue. Just a wiring diagram.

Tom

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