A few weeks ago, I was talking with a friend of mine who recommended--nay, strongly urged--me to attend a local writers' event. We were talking about my book, and she was of the opinion that I really needed to get myself over there to help boost sales. I told her I'd think about it.
And I did. I even found myself leaning toward following her advice. I'd meet some other writers, fangirl over one I adore, and get some PR for my books. I even joked with Hubs that my gift to him would be that he didn't have to go with me. (He'd be totally bored at something like that.)
Then I remembered an important point.
I panic in crowds.
Oh, I'm not agoraphobic level. And it doesn't happen all the time - which is kinda worse when you think about it. I never know what's going to set me off. So I could go down and wander through a writing event with no problems, or I could find myself down there and totally freak out.
When the Kid was younger, she'd go everywhere with me. And she knew how to help make it stop. Usually, I'd tell her to stand between me and the crowd (like in line at a grocery store), and she wouldn't look at me weird when I'd announce to her we had to leave a particular place for no apparent reason. She just knew. Now, she's on her own - as she should be - and I'm left without a buffer.
I have my own set of tools to keep myself on an even keel. I don't go places where I expect there to be a crowd, for one. I hit Walmart first thing in the morning. I don't venture out in public on holiday weekends. We don't go out anywhere. None of which is a hardship at all, since Hubs isn't inclined, and I like getting my errands done in the mornings. If I do find myself needing to go to town on a weekend, I suck it up, get my shopping done, and get home.
I think the first time it happened was back in 1999. A friend and I took the Kid down to Detroit to see The Rockettes Christmas show at the historic Fox Theater. We got there early, which was awesome. But then everyone else started to arrive, and the theater people wouldn't let anyone into the seats. So there we were at the front of the crowd, pressed up against the velvet ropes, with hundreds of strangers pressing up against the back of us. Oh holy shit. I feel panicky just remembering it. I kept it together and didn't run screaming from the building, but oh how I wanted to.
Last time I did that, let me tell ya.
I also don't go to the movies. That's got a whole additional set of issues - the surround sound freaks me out, too - so you couldn't drag me to a theater if your life depended on it. Concerts. No. Parties. No. Again, not an issue, since Hubs isn't a social animal and is just as happy staying home as I am. More so these days, since he stays home while I do the shopping and junk.
I can't imagine what life would be like if he wasn't the man he is. Wait, I can. Before Hubs, I dated men who didn't understand. That was hell, and a story for a whole other time.
Anyway, I guess what I'm saying is if you were hoping to someday meet me at RWA or RT or BEA or a book-signing or whatever, that ain't gonna happen. I really am the stereotype of the hermit writer. But, if you happen to catch me on the street somewhere, I'll be happy to talk to you. I'm good one on one. Just don't come at me in a crowd, or we might both get hurt. ;o)
How do you feel about crowds?