Stuttering Ambush on the front lawn

Here’s the final ambush story of the week. Then tomorrow I’ll talk about what it all means.

After a rough day of work — getting ambushed during a meeting and then at lunch — you’d think the home would be somewhere safe to run to. Having to say your name twice in one day is stressful enough.
Once, several months after moving into our house, I headed out to get the mail. We lived on a cul-de-sac, so instead of individual mailboxes, they put them all in one location. As I was walking over there, I saw someone who I thought was maybe out for a walk (from another part of the neighborhood) or doing something with the lawn service company nearby. I said a quick hi thinking that’s all it would take.

No.

He stopped and introduced himself. He told me he also lived in the cul-de-sac. (When you stutter, you don’t bother introducing yourself to your neighbors unless you absolutely have to. Because, you know, it involves introducing yourself.)

Outside of my own house. Near my own lawn. Ambushed.

Sometimes when I’m taken off guard by a request for my name, I can say my name without stuttering. It’s rare though. And of course often when that does happen, I say it, they don’t quite hear it, and then I have to repeat it. Which never turns out well.

Anyway, so I’m shaking this guy’s hand, and I’m really trying to say my name. And he’s just waiting. And I’m still struggling. And finally yes, it does come out. He points to where he lives, we talk about how long he’s been there, I say how long we’ve been here, then go our separate ways.

What was his name again? This always happens. I’m so focused on my own anxiety and subsequent stutter that any chance of listening and remembering is thrown out.

Right, what was I doing out here? Oh yeah, getting the mail.

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