It is, of course, completely illogical. I have spent 54 years on this earth and should have learned by now that this is nothing unusual. Most people, I'm told, have to screw their courage to the sticking place before launching themselves into the social maelstrom that is celebration. But most people seem to enjoy them notwithstanding. I tend to stand tongue-tied, cross-legged, wishing I was almost anywhere but where I am.
I have tried to work out why I feel this way. I have variously blamed my parents, my schooling, my formative experiences, my worsening hearing and my natural humility. None of these excuses really wash. The problem as I see it now, is my utter feebleness and fear of making as ass of myself. It's the same reason that I don't dance in public [or in private for that matter].
I tell myself, virtually daily, to pull myself together and construct a strategy for dealing with these type of things. But I don't, or can't, listen to my own advice. I am not dealing with them. In fact I'm getting worse. I have noticed too that at less formal events I lapse into silence, preferring to let the world, or at least the conversation, go around about me.
Tomorrow is the Theatrical Managers' Association Annual lunch. A shindig which sees the cream of Britain's theatre management get together and network. I am being brave and going to it.
Suggestions for a coping strategy would be more than welcome or I shall end up becoming a hermit.