Saturday, October 07, 2006
Did I Scare You?
Celebrities often get asked the question by a reporter trying to appear sympathetic, Which question do you get asked that you hate the most? As a teacher, I get asked questions constantly so I don't really mind them. If I did, I'd lose what little sanity I have left. When you're going over when something is due for the upteenth time, you have to keep your cool or start searching the want ads for a data processing job far away from the living. But there is one question I loathe, and I get asked it a fair bit -- Did I scare you? This comes because I get wrapped up in my own world, so much so that the physical world drops away, and I forget that I'm in a public place where others might walk up and startle me. Add this to a history of violence, and you have a little bit of what we used to call shell shock. I've never blamed anyone for my overactive startle response. Like a lot of awful things, I wasn't born that way, but it's not going away anytime soon. It happened yesterday and the woman who asked it looked bemused which, I have to say, irritated me to no end. I usually apologize for my reactions, tell people that I startle easily, ha ha, isn't that the funniest thing? For the first time, I decided to do something different. I looked her straight in the eye and said yes. I didn't add any qualifications or softening, no it's all my fault. Then I smiled. Strange what forms liberation can take.
She started a conversation with me, and we got around to the fact that I wasn't from Detroit, was in fact from Texas. That's weird, she said. I would have pegged you for a Detroiter. I took it as a great compliment, although I'm not sure she meant it that way. A female friend of mine who shall remain nameless told me not to stay in Michigan for too long, that the women there were not very attractive and had a hard quality about them. You don't want to become ugly there, she said. It's true that Southern woman tend to spend a lot of time on being beautiful and that men love them. But if being a Detroiter means being unadorned, in saying things as they are, in not constantly apologizing for the very fact of your existence, I might have become one yesterday, no matter where I go.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"The house is haunted/ the ride gets rough/ You've got to learn to live with/ what you can't rise above." Bruce Springsteen, "Tunnel of Love"
Drinking movie suggestion: Hysterical Blindness
Benedictions and Maledictions