“Can I Take Your Order Anxiety Syndrome”

I got a problem.

It’s not serious, though. It’s not disabling. It’s hardly dire.

If it were these things, I might seek help. Instead, it’s merely amusing. It makes me cringe, and others who are unfortunate enough to witness it.

I’m trying to invent a clinical-sounding name for it.

First, the case study in action, courtesy of my new dash cam’s sound recording function:

Now this is the problem, and the symptoms:

I find it difficult to order foodstuffs from a drive-through window in an articulate, lucid manner. Something trips up my brain in such situations. It’s kinda baffling to me. Once, maybe twice, out of ten orders, I am able to place my drive-through order in a clear, non-spastic manner. It’s rare when this happens.

Most of the time, my order is slightly mumbled and jumbled, in a vaguely erratic manner that manages to sound awkward.

On rare occasions, as happened in this video, my verbal order is complete gibberish, an embarrassing exercise in intellectual incontinence.

Thing is, I’m not nervous or intimated to order from a drive-through speaker. Yet, the problem mimics stage fright because apparently, I lose all conscious control of my verbalization skills. What might have been orderly in my brain is now unleashed as a barrage of fractured staccato once expressed through my open car window.

As I said, it’s amusing. Mostly.

In such situations, I sound like a retard. I can only wonder if the person who took my order expects me to pull up in a short bus, or more likely, that they are amazed I was capable of starting the car and steer it to the restaurant.

The problem is intensified when the order is “complex” or of an unfamiliar nature (to me). This frequently involves coffee orders, such as was the case in yesterday’s video. If I am told to order a Venti non-fat caramel Macchiato (yes, yes, I know I can just say “skinny,” but this is now a stubborn matter of pride), by the time I drive up to the speaker, the order will come out disordered, backwards, slurred, disjointed, sounding nothing like what was housed in my head up until this time.

I’ve described it best as “my brain clenches up when I open my mouth” and has happened in other instances where I must speak in various contexts where the attention is focused on my words.

In 2013, I was the unlikely interview for an online radio blog. I had a week to gear up for the event and I thought I was ready. By the time the Skype interview rolled around, I crumbled. I am convinced it was the worst damned interview ever in the history of man. I couldn’t articulate anything that I had stored in my brain for the special occasion. It was brutal. I felt humiliated and shamed by my performance. I had been chosen for my written blog offerings, and at that moment, after the agonizing interview had concluded, I decided that my ideas needed to remain in their written form. When asked to conform my ideas to verbalization, they turn to shit.

I’m not a talker.

I suffer from CITYOAS.