When I was a kid, I always sang on my way to and from school, unless I was walking with someone. It took a while to realize that sometimes people would turn and stare (as if it weren't a perfectly natural and common thing to do!) In my mind it should not have been worth a second look, because it was such a natural impulse to sing whenever one had the chance.
When I visited Italy, it felt so comfortable to be in a culture where people sang wherever they were. I fit right in. You would hear fine, strong women's voices floating out of windows as they sang while they did their housework. I took part in a procession for a local saint, San Gerardo, and the voices of some of those grey-haired Italian women were quite unbelieveable. No shyness there -- their voices were pure and strong.
Once in Naples, I was staying in a room with a balcony, overlooking a square. A street vendor was playing an Italian version of "Please Release Me, Let Me Go" or some other pop hit of the time. I walked out on the balcony, and sang along at full volume. No one even looked around! Very satisfying.
I have to admit, though, even though I'd sing on a desert island, I've always had the wish that people would actually want to hear me sing. Anybody else have that feeling? I probably underestimated my singing, but a few lessons have made a big difference, as has the effort I've put into learning to sing better. Also, we're lucky enough to be surrounded by fantastic singers here in the Washington area and you can learn so much by listening to someone like LaMarca or Judy Cook. It is definitely satisfying to realize that I like my voice now and so do quite a few other people. A gestalt completed, as what's- his-name said.... - Rita F