Overcoming Your Fears

A Little Life Lesson

About eight months ago I worked in a potato factory about half an hour south of Perth city in Western Australia. The company name was Beta Spuds, then located near Fremantle. My job was to bag potatoes in 20kg and 10kg bags, stitch them up and put them on pallets.

There were six baggers, including me, and Monday to Friday was a 6am start and usually a standard seven to nine hour day job. Every day at 8:35am we had a short break for twenty minutes. Everyone use to buy food from the jiffy van that use to stop past the factory.

About three weeks into the job our regular jiffy van lady was replaced by a young girl about 20 years old, same age as me then. I immediately took a liking to her because she was so nice and always happy. I just had to get her phone number and ask her out even though I didn't know her name.

Anyway I am very nervous when it comes to talking to girls so I petitioned my three friends to talk to her and get her name and number for me; they agreed. I got little sleep that night due to the excitement I felt.

The next day I came in at 6am, as usual, and started getting nervous. Those two and a half hours seemed to take forever as I waited, then it came.

I was too scared to even get any food so I waited inside for five minutes and then came my three friends back into the shed. They walked up and handed me a small piece of paper with a name and number on it. Her name was Vicky, and I loved that name.

I wrote her number in my phone with my hands still shaking from nerves. I waited one day then started messaging her and asked her to the movies the next day. My three friends were watching as I texted.

They had a small snicker as they watched what I was writing, but thankfully she agreed to go out on the weekend to see a movie and go ten pin bowling. She just seemed so enthusiastic about it and asked me to talk to her tomorrow. I agreed and my fear turned to shear excitement.

The next day came and again I was more nervous than ever as I waited for morning break, and then it came. I watched her van arrive slowly from the distance and then pull up. I waited at the back of the line to be served, for a bit of privacy.

Soon enough it was my turn to be served so I got my usual sausage roll and asked her how she was. She smiled at me and said, "Good, thank you, how are you" and with a smile I replied "Very good, thank you muchly", and gave her the money for the roll.

I was stiff with fear at this point and just stood there. She looked at me again and said, "Is that everyone?" I said, "Yes, I think so", and she quickly walked away into the van and sped off. I felt crushed, so I sat down at the bench and remained quiet.

Five minutes later I got a message that read, "Where were you? How come you never talked to me?"

I replied, "I did but you ran off".

I waited for three hours and didn't get a single message. I was devastated. I wrote a very long apology and said I wouldn't bother her anymore.

About halfway through the message, my manager walked past and asked what I was doing? So I explained I was apologizing to the jiffy girl for upsetting her, so he let me finish my apology message.

After about five minutes I finished and pressed send. As coincidence has it, my manager got a message the very second I pressed send. He pulled out his phone and showed me the apology I just wrote.

The whole shed didn't stop laughing for weeks because as it turns out my friends pretended to get the jiffy girls number and instead gave me my manager Jason's phone number.

I felt so relieved that I didn't cause disappointment but at the same time a little humiliated. But what the heck, I still laugh about that today.

The lesson they taught me was that if you really want something, you should get it yourself. And now I know whenever I want to ask someone out, never trust your friends to do it for you because everyone has to overcome their fears, sometimes, to get what they want and that is the way it should be.

Copyright 2008 Allen Steble