I have not been this ashamed since I jumped out from behind the elementary school girls' bathroom door, shouting "BOO!" only to find myself impaled by the stern gaze of Mrs. Elvins, my third-grade teacher.
I have been lax in commenting on my favorite blogs.
Here I loll on my luxurious litter, having red seedless grapes dropped into my gaping maw, being fanned with a palm frond, regally surveying my blogroll kingdom, while reeling in comments like a Bassmaster at a fishing derby. And not sharing the commenty love. What am I, some kind of freeloader who feels entitled to receive comments while doling out none of my own? That's downright un-neighborly of me.
Have I become that customer who takes pennies from the spare change bowl on the cashier's counter, yet never leaves them? The driver given a nod and waved into congested traffic who refuses to allow even a small gap for others to merge ahead of him? The faculty member who takes all of the insurance rep's free pens out of the cup, yet does not even sit down for a consultation? The browser at Sam's Club who comes for a smorgasbord of samples, but leaves without making a purchase? As Magic 8 Ball might say, "All signs point to yes."
Oh, I have an excuse. But you know what they say. Excuses are like livers. Everybody has one, and they all should be kept deep inside the abdominal cavity, and not proffered to a blogger on a filigreed silver serving tray as a tasty peace offering for leaving her posts hangin' without a comment. Or something like that.
But I am bound and determined to bare my liver today.
I read blogs at night. I post at night. I take care of family obligations at night. And sometimes, I even sleep at night. Occasionally, I run out of night before I run out of blogs to comment on. Even though I arise before the chickens, my morning is monopolized by the task of getting myself and my boys off to school on time. Oh, and a fifteen-minute phone call to my mom.
Sometimes, when I see a bunch of comments already there, I feel like mine would be superfluous. Nothing new to say. It might look like I am commenting just to draw traffic to my own blog.
Sometimes, I feel like I am unqualified to comment. I don't know much about the topic. I don't want to be flip and make a joke when all the other comments are serious.
Sometimes, I can relate a personal experience, but in doing so, I take up more than my fair share of commenty room. Or look like I am hijacking the post for my own devious purposes.
There's no way around it. I am an insecure commenter. I feel like all the other commenters know each other, and I am not in their clique. I think that comes from way back when I first started my original super-secret blog in 2005, and left what I thought was a friendly comment on a blog I had visited a couple of times. It was something innocuous. The post was about redecorating a bathroom. People shared their unique bathroom styles in the comments. I mentioned that my husband insisted on decorating our basement bathroom with an airbrushed NASCAR countertop, put down black-and-white tiles like a finish flag, and hung Hot Wheels race cars on three walls. The blog owner and most of the commenters above me ripped my comment to shreds. I was the uncool kid who dared to sit down at the cheerleaders' lunch table. I got the distinct feeling that they were not fans of NASCAR.
Ever since that time, I have been leery of dipping my tootsies into the vast blog-comment sea. I poke my head out of the changing tent, survey the situation, tiptoe across the hot sand in my ankle-length swimwear, and spread my towel on the periphery, to watch the gals in their itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikinis. Not in a creepy pervy stalker way. To judge the climate. Will I be welcomed, or will I be shunned?
I don't mean to act aloof or stand-offy or entitled. It's my insecurity not-talking.
I vow to exercise my comment muscle until it's fit as a fiddle, and put forth a concerted effort to serenade my blog buddies at regular intervals.