My first encounter (that I remember) with absurdity of other people was when I was 7 years old. Our homework was to learn a poem by heart. That was fairly easy for me. In the classroom our teacher said: “Those who want to recite a poem, raise your hand.” Some children raised their hands. I did not. When she asked me to recite a poem, I remained quiet. I was an excellent pupil until then so she tried to talk me into reciting it. I refused and got the lowest mark possible.
Soon my mum went to a parental meeting. At some point she was one-on-one with my teacher. She described her the incident. My mum was shocked because she knew I perfectly recited the poem at home. Teacher concluded I did it out of spite. When my mum got home and confronted me with what happened at school, I told her: “Teacher asked us to raise our hands if we want to recite a poem. I did not raise my hand. Therefore she had no right to expect I will recite it if she asks me to do it.”
Later, on my own insistence, I attended classes that focused poem reciting and was preforming in almost every school show for 8 years.
The problem was not in not knowing the poem nor in being shy. It was in a craft of logic thinking and building my own moral standards.