When I arrived in Prince Edward Island 15 years ago, I was terrifically shy. I could conduct myself in polite society, but small talk was a foreign language for me and casual social situations were something I would usually avoid, and certainly never actively seek out.
Island life is lubricated by copious amounts of small talk, however. And as such the Island is a sort of crucible for the socially averse and has forged me into the kind of person who can, as I just have, spend a pleasant two hours talking about minimally invasive surgical procedures and the like with a stranger met in the Halifax airport. To say nothing of the discussion of Island real estate I had with the Coop Taxi driver who took me to the airport.
Fifteen years ago these episodes would have been unimaginable. Ten years ago they would have been possible, but would have felt like hard terrible work. Today it’s effortless and a pleasure that feeds my inveterate curiousity.
Indeed you could say that the greatest gift the Island has given me, through rigorous practise and considerable patience, is the revelation that all people are interesting if you give them the chance, and that if you sublimate your social terrors long enough, eventually they will disappear.