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Sometimes when I’m standing on a corner or at the appointed location outside the national symphony at Plaza Italia, waiting, waiting, waiting for my person to show up, I start thinking to myself that if my person doesn’t show up, and that person over there’s person doesn’t show up, maybe she (or he) and I should hang out. Who knows, maybe they had better plans, like a cassis sour somewhere, or some cool little bar with dark beer and decent music that’s not smoky (ha!).

But anyway, sometimes I think to myself, I should talk to this other person. It will help to pass the time. And sometimes I actually do it. You see, I lack what is called in Spanish, pudor. Pudor is essentially modesty, but in Chile at least, it sort of means shame. Like you forgot to have stage fright. People won’t speak a foreign language because it gives them pudor. Or they can’t introduce themselves to someone they want to meet because of, you guessed it, the dreaded pudor.

While I have anxiety about 1,006 things (I’ve not counted, but really, there are alot), and my médico (doctor) tells me that it is this, and no incipient physical ill I may have that will ultimately kill me, social anxiety is one agita-producing item that fails me.

A friend of mine and I were talking recently about my apparent lack of pudor, which all together “falta de pudor” could be translated as frankness, or ballsyness, if you prefer. We thought about the factory of life, where they put the ingredients in to make your personality, and the guy in the pudor section who ran out and skipped off to get some more while my essence was being formed. Instead I got a healthy dose of creativity and perhaps an excess of wordsmithiness. I hesitate to recount that at my old job when information could not be found, people would suggest consulting Eileenoogle. The space that is not occupied in my brain by pudor has been put to good use, I can assure you.

But not having any pudor isn’t good for everyone. Especially in Santiago, a very mum’s-the-word city, people often prefer if you don’t strike up a conversation. So the other day when I was waiting for a friend, I thought about talking to the woman beside me, but thought better of it, as it might make her uncomfortable. Instead, I imagined what the yoda-like creature in my science fiction/fantasy movie would say about me. First I imagined my dream gnome, and then I got as far as this one line:

“The pudor is weak with this one.”

And then I saw something shiny and went to go get it.