it’s not a real phobia, like my phobia of moths, but more of an anxiety over high fiving.
when someone raises their hand into high five position, i feel a little rush of panic. first there’s the panic that i might be misreading the move, maybe they don’t want to high five me, maybe it’s some other hand gesture. maybe it’s just a “hey” wave… or… i don’t know, it’s probably a high five. but then there’s determining the proper high five reaction. how much weight do i put behind it? is it a hard, solid slap with a dead stop on impact? is it a gentler sweeping five with carry through? does it finish with a half hand clasp or fancy handshake type move? of course i also have to watch my aim. there’s nothing more pathetic than an off centre high five. and god forbid this is a moving high five, i can’t walk and high five at the same time! you expect me to perform this highly complex and nuanced move all while maintaining a cool, natural demeanour? I don’t have the skills for that!!
this probably all stems from some childhood trauma, most likely traceable back to junior high. attempted high fives that drew sneers and left me hanging, or the proffered high five that was then snatched away with the inevitable “psych!”. yes, those were indeed dark days of high fivery.
yesterday at kickboxing i was accosted with high fives. to start with, one of the guys i often chat with gave me a single, low impact high five, presumably just for showing up. not terribly executed, but i was a little off the mark. then my partner high fived me after her rounds. i wasn’t expecting it, so i fumbled that one. after the exceptionally exhausting class, the first guy gave me a much more emphatic double high five, now celebrating our completion of the class. it could have been a disaster, but i was on the ball and delivered a good, sound connection. but this was too much, i wanted out of there before any more hands required slapping. but i wasn’t out of the woods yet. there was a final high five with my partner as we headed out. a moving high five that transitioned into a half clasp. i thought i might barf it was such an advanced maneuver, but i pulled it off with only a slight hint of awkwardness.
no more, please. i can’t take the pressure. i’m no alanis, with one hand in my pocket and the other giving a high five. i just don’t have the cool chick high fivey inclination. or the coordination.