Creature of Habit

I am a creature of habit and routine. I’m slow to try new things, and quick to suggest an old favorite when it’s up to me. Lunch breaks will typically see me at El Monterrey, ordering the number five lunch special. (So often, in fact, that they started calling me “Mister Five” before I introduced myself to them.) No matter where I go for dinner, I already know what I’m ordering before I see a menu. (Assuming it’s a place I’ve eaten before.) Change is not an easy thing for me. Surprises are usually met with a scowl.
I keep my friends close to me, and typically avoid meeting new people. When I do meet new people, I tend to be reserved and quiet. It takes months for someone to edge into my Circle of Friends. When someone betrays my trust or hurts me, they are out in an instant. They become dead to me.
With that in mind, take a moment to consider the social overhaul I’m attempting. It’s almost like creating a new person. Up to this point, it’s felt mostly like an act. It’s felt like I’m role-playing someone else, someone with confidence, someone who doesn’t give a damn about anything. I’m not giving up, but I’m starting to feel like this new person will never feel natural.
The reason I mentioned removing someone from my Circle of Friends was because, two nights ago, I received an ICQ message from someone. I’m going to call her the Temptress. She’s a two-time ex-girlfriend, and I’m mentioned her once before. (She’s the one who is amazing in bed.) She was wondering what my birthday plans were. This is how it started the last time around, and I would be lying if I said I did not consider it. In the end, though, my heart won out over my body, and I’m keeping her at an arm’s length.
The fact that I considered the offer, though, made me re-evaluate my Project. This new person I’m creating would never give her a second thought. (Or a third thought, in her case.) It reinforced the perception that this new person isn’t me, and raise a concern.
This new person has no problem making women smile, be it in the mall, Lowe’s, or the bars. But if I’m just acting, won’t the truth come out if I get beyond the first meeting? How will these women feel when they discover that this charming guy is actually a recluse who was “trying out” this new personality?
It doesn’t feel natural, and I’m having second thoughts about whether it ever will. Maybe this will all end badly and I’ll just retreat to my cave in the swamp. (A friend of mine, CSI-Guy, once gave me a little Shrek figurine. For some reason, he associated me with the hermit-Shrek at the beginning of the movie.)
My biggest fear, however, isn’t that I will fail. It’s that I will succeed. How different will my life be as this new guy? What will happen to my routines and my habits? Jesus Christ, that scares me more than I’m comfortable admitting.
Also, I cheated today. I bummed a cigarette from a co-worker. Twice.

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