Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Tell Me What You Need
The other day a mentally-challenged dwarf (this is descriptive, not perjorative) started yelling at me to "move my ass," grunting and pointing at where I was and then motioning to the line for food. He wasn't making a bit of sense so I just stood there and looked at him, not the reaction he wanted. Finally I moved forward and he left, huffing and cursing. I smiled and wondered what the hell had happened. I hadn't been blocking any door or impeding his teeny-tiny Billy Barty progress to the outside world. Then it occured to me that I used to apologize. A lot. For my very existence. Sorry I'm breathing near you, where you might want to breathe sort of thing. That in my past life, I would have said, I'm so sorry, please tell me where to go, how high to jump, tell me what you need. Now I'd rather eat a meal without salt (for those who know me, that's saying something -- I salt everything including bread and my sister has suggested that perhaps I should just carry around a salt lick, like a deer and save some time) than say I'm sorry when I'm not.
The dwarf had an enlarged head, a condition known as hydrocephalus or water on the brain. When I was a lifeguard, one of the little girls who was dumped off at the pool all day (a practice many parents employed as a form of virtually free daycare) had this condition. She was in charge of her younger siblings, one of them being a beautiful partially paralyzed five year old. At one point, the beautiful sibling inched her way into the water and almost drowned before I realized what was happening and went in for her. Sitting there, she was in less than three feet of water, a side of the pool that we almost never monitored because nothing ever happened. I carried her to the guardhouse and asked her sister what happened, why when I set her down, she would wobble and not stand. She explained that she'd been beaten so badly at home that she couldn't walk anymore. I looked at both the little girls, one with an enlarged head the shape of an egg and the other who could barely move, both with parents straight out of Hades, I imagined. What would they ever do? I'm so so sorry, I said, but unlike the way I usually said it in those days, I meant it.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
“I don't run away from a challenge because I am afraid. Instead, I run toward it because the only way to escape fear is to trample it beneath your feet." Nadia Comaneci
Drinking memoir suggestion: Solitaire Amie Liuu
Benedictions and Maledictions