If I were ever forced to make a choice between doing something stressful in the company of either friends or strangers, I should have to choose friends. Under either set of circumstances it’s quite obvious that there’s no greater or lesser a chance of success or failure. I’ve simply always felt very much more comfortable in familiar surroundings and in the company of people whom I’ve known for a while. By now I’ve gotten accustomed, more than ever before, to a much wider variety of nasty circumstances so I don’t especially have to let much of anything bother me anymore. I generally tend, these days, to overlook a lot that would have driven me crazy a while ago. I no longer run the risk of excessive dry mouth and shaking over relatively slight things. There’s no explanation for the fact that pressure used to bother me so much more then. At least when I’m in the company of friends I can count on their being accustomed, by now, to all my most predictable flubs and fluffs. When I deal with a stranger all he knows is that he’s up against some guy who doesn’t have any idea what’s going on. People I know are much more able to humor me and to understand my less competent, confident side. Because of his familiarity with all my strengths and weaknesses, a friend can give me advice based upon my personal circumstances instead of only an entirely theoretical textbook understanding of how things should be done. That’s the major benefit of having a common past. Even without that kind of help, though, I still always feel much more comfortable when I can count on as much familiarity as possible. It’s most certainly not as if for one second I especially care one way or the other what anyone thinks of me. That’s why I shouldn’t mind doing something stressful in the company of strangers. No one is ever put together logically consistently though. Familiarity appears to be the answer to everything for me. It’s quite the ultimate security blanket.