Saturday, February 10, 2007
The Person On The Table
A few months ago, I went for a massage at the school where my sister interned. The student I was assigned to was a talker (a no-no according to my sister -- you're supposed to perform your work in silence), but I didn't mind. He told me about his training -- the class was all chicks, man, estrogen city, but I learned to listen. I used to tune my girlfriend out with all that trivial crap, but now I really hear her because it's easier than making it up to her by seeing some crappy chick flick. I had to agree -- even being a chick, I only have so many of those in me and pride myself on never having seen Beaches or Titanic. Both theme songs from these films make me feel slightly suicidal, and I think it would be more fun to mutilate myself with a pair of rusty tweezers than sit through these epics.
Mercifully, the conversation took a happy turn to basketball and the sad loss of Big Ben to Chicago and how we both disliked Shaquille O'Neill. But then conversation turned back to class and the different forms of communication. We had to do an exercise, he said, where we sat facing a partner and asked that person, Who are you? The other person answered right away with a simple word or phrase and then asked us back. We were supposed to go for five minutes, but people couldn't stand it past three minutes. How in the hell would I have answered that one, I thought. The masseuse continued to talk, and I listened as he told me that his instructor said you had to learn to love the person on the table. I thought about my students who are always on the table when they write about who they are. One student years ago wrote an identity paper for his final assignment. It was sealed in an envelope with a note asking me to please, please burn the paper after reading it and tell no one. I did as I was told, of course. But he had answered the question for a moment, even if there was no evidence save for the ashes.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Maybe you're rich or something . . . with a secret life that you won't tell anyone about -- no matter how lonely they are, or no matter how pretty they are -- you just won't tell. Doesn't matter -- I guess I'll tell you about yourself." Robert Frank
Drinking short story collection suggestion: The Woman Who Cut Off Her Leg At the Maidstone Club Julia Slavin
Benedictions and Maledictions
58 Days until The Sopranos airs!