Dear Mr. Claus,
I know you can see when kids and dogs are naughty and nice. The other day, a boy was really nice and I want you to make sure to give him an extra cool gift.
Mom was walking me to get my nails trimmed. (Yuck!) When kids notice me, they want to play and I have to work extra hard to do my job. When a boy walked up behind me and Mom, I was worried, but he just wanted to tell Mom that I’m cute. (Of course Mom agreed.)
Then he told Mom all about his dog. When we got to a corner, he told Mom she should move over because there was a puddle. I really appreciated this because I don’t like getting my paws wet.
Now, Santa, I have to confess I then did a bad thing. I didn’t stop at a curb and Mom had to make me do it over again. The boy stood in the street and helped me do my job by watching for cars.
Please make sure to put something extra good in this boy’s stocking. And, Santa, don’t get too mad at me for making a mistake at my job. I try really, really hard.
This week’s incident is brought to you by the letters G and H for the Gentlemen who tried to Help me.
Normally, I take a bus that leaves from my block, but when I wish to go to a different part of San Diego, I need to walk about half a mile to another stop. It is pretty much a straight course and I cannot conceive of something easier.
Walking the route, I became confused at a particular intersection. Part of the problem was an annoying dog. Part of the problem was my tired, fuzzy brain. Part of the problem was my inability to sort out the traffic sounds to understand in which direction I wished to proceed.
I was approached by an older gentleman who’d been hanging out with his friend about fifteen feet away. He offered help. I said I thought I was alright, but I didn’t even convince myself because I was still trying to sort everything out.
As I tried to parse my surroundings, he kept offering help, so I finally agreed. My suspicion was that he wouldn’t give me the time and space to figure it out for myself, so I took the path of least resistance. He wanted me to cross in a direction I was not trying to go, which I explained to him.
I thought we were all on the same page and crossed with his friend following behind.
I walked to the next intersection and something seemed off, so I pulled out my phone and used my navigational ap. I was not where I had expected and wasn’t certain how to achieve my destination, so I asked a man walking past. He gave me a clear indication of my location and a simple set of directions to follow. Though I missed my bus, I made it to my stop.
I have no idea how I went in the wrong direction. It could have been me. It could have been the gentlemen. Given that I crossed in the way they wanted me to originally, I suspect it was a case of them thinking they knew what was best for me.
One noteworthy fact is that I was not my polite self to the gentlemen, but to the man with clear directions, I was graciousness personified. Sometimes how I am treated profoundly effects how I behave. Another indication I’m human.
The holiday season is particularly insane this year and I am unable to write long, probing entries. Instead, I will endeavor to take note of something that happens to me, relay the specifics to you, and let you think about it.
Guide dog at my side, I was walking down the street in my neighborhood and came to a curb. The dog stopped. I didn’t. I went over the very high curb and somehow gracefully landed gently on my butt so that I was sitting on the curb.
Someone who knows me slightly from our mutual love of a particular musician came up behind me on his skateboard. “Are you alright?”
“Yeah. the dog stopped. I didn’t. I’m a klutz.” I stood up and got back up on the curb waiting to cross the street.
“Are you sure you’re okay?”
Yeah, thanks. Fine.”
“So the curb is a little bit in front of you and really high.”
“Got it. I’m good. Really.”
While standing in the middle of the street, he continues to describe the curb, advise me to be careful, and so forth. Finally, since his presence in the middle of the street makes it very safe to cross, I do so. Upon reaching the other side, I say, “There. I did it. You weren’t going to leave until you saw me do it, were you?”
He says no and we both start walking. He tells me he’s going to get a taco, I say yum, and he says he’ll see me later at the show.
The twists and turns of the human psyche are sometimes truly weird. Today I was about to put lotion on my right calf when I noticed I had a rash. Later, as I mentally inventoried my closet to select appropriate clothing for a panel presentation, I dismissed a skirt without a second thought because of this rash.
I have scars all over the place including my legs and I never think twice about shorts or skirts. One small, temporary rash and I’m reaching for concealing pants. Objectively, it’s… screwy.
I think it’s fascinating what we integrate into our self concept and thus do not question versus the things that throw us for a loop. Often the little things are the mountains while the truly huge
things have shrunk to molehills.
Known as schadenfreude, humans can take great joy in the fact that they are not enduring the tragedy of another. How come we cannot find the same solace when it comes to our own lives? Sure, I have a rash on my leg, but in comparison to the other things I’ve managed to integrate into a positive body image, a few red bumps are nothing.
Yet even as I write this and see the logic behind my words, I cannot help but think, Yuck. Nobody wants to see such an ugly thing.” I’ve definitely proven I am a mere human with the same perversities as the rest of our species.